Several years ago I was looking for something fun and exciting to do for Advent with my kids. We started the Elf on the Shelf tradition – although our Elf is not mischievous at all, she just hides about the house, and my kids love to look for her.
They will write her little notes; they will draw her pictures, talk to her, and explain what has been going on in their lives. It is actually quite precious to watch.
Our elf was named Tasha, during a Backyardigans phase my oldest was going through. She named her Tasha, and it stuck. Now the kids get so excited on November 30th every year, knowing that she will arrive on December 1st.
I love this tradition because the kids wake up in such a good mood every morning. Every morning they run downstairs to see the new location that she is hiding. Emma and Jack wake up at different times, and typically Emma will find Tasha first, and then Jack will have an opportunity to look for her. It was a little harder to keep Emma from spoiling it a couple years ago, but now she is old enough to know that Jack wants the chance to find her on his own.
Our second tradition that also starts on December 1st is our Advent Bag tradition.
I’m sure you remember growing up and having those little Advent calendars with the doors and the little chocolate? Well, my brother and I loved those growing up. I knew that I wanted to do something for my own kids. But, I wanted something a little different.
Then the idea of Advent Bags came to me.
What it is – there are 24 bags for each child. In each bag there is a little treat, an activity or toy or craft, and the scripture reading for the day.
|our first year of the Advent Bag tradition!|
The first year my kids did this, they were incredibly excited. And so was I! I loved to watch their faces every morning when they ran down the stairs to see their bag.
Now, I tend to hit up the craft store and the Target Dollar Spot to get these little crafts and gifts to give to the kids. It is something that I have so much fun putting together. I obviously don’t have a ton of money to spend on this, but having a fun activity or craft or Matchbox car or jar of Play-Doh is something that works very well in my family.
It gives the kids something to do first thing in the morning, it also pretty much guarantees that they come down in a good mood – I know it’s crazy to think that children would wake up in a bad mood, but it happens here! It also helps my mood, especially when the kids are up earlier than I hope.
Why did I start these traditions? Well, it is because I think back so fondly on my own childhood Christmas traditions, and I want that for my kids as well.
I love how wonderful Christmas is. Yes, there can be stress, there can be sadness; there can be craziness. But, overall, I believe that Christmas is a season to be thankful, to look at our families and be thankful. To give to others, and to be as positive a season as you can make it.