I tell my children a great deal. I tell them to eat their breakfast. To hurry up. To get their shoes on. To stop licking the floor. To stop fighting. I also tell them repeatedly how much I love them. I tell them how proud they make me feel. We end every day with hugs and kisses and I love you’s. And yet – how much of these niceties do they see as routine and not heartfelt? How many of these daily comments really penetrate and impact how they see themselves?
My non-creative self usually buys those prepackaged chocolate advent calendars. The kids like the countdown and it is something that builds up the Christmas spirit throughout the month. Several years ago I waited way too long to buy my prepackaged advent calendar. I scanned the aisles – to no avail. I literally went to dozen of stores. Finally I reluctantly settled on an advent calendar I found at an arts and crafts store. It was cute – it had little wooden boxes that pulled out for each date. I thought – this is great, I will never have to scour the stores for a stupid chocolate calendar again!
I got my creative on – and painted the naked wood with glittery green paint. Once it was done, I went out and bought some little chocolates to put in the box. They didn’t fit. That’s the trouble with having three kids and one small square box per day. I panicked – I was running out of time. I grabbed some colored paper and wrote 25 things I love and appreciate about each one of my children. I even went crazy and did 25 notes for my husband too. The small paper notes easily fit into the small wooden boxes.
The kids loved it. The little ones wanted me to read their notes over and over again. They would often question me, “you think I am funny?” or “I made you proud when I did that?” I eventually found some Junior Mints that were small enough to squish into these tiny boxes, but the kids still seemed more interested in the notes.
I realized that even though I tell my children all the time what I love about them – getting these messages daily in a concentrated form did something for them. It did something for who they believed they were and who they believed they could be. I found even my husband went to the box, curious to see what his wife finds special about him.
Years later – I continue on with the tradition. I love pouring my love out on these little pieces of paper. It also slows me down and makes me really assess what I apreciate about the most important people in my life. It is now one of my favorite parts of our Christmas traditions.
Want to make your own advent calendar full of love? It is easier than most recipes you’ll try to tackle this season. Just get different colored paper for each person in your family – so no one has to guess which note is for them.
I usually start off my notes with two types of sentences. The first, “I love how you…” for the things I love about them (e.g. I love how you do your homework without me asking). And “I love when you…” for the areas they are working on (e.g I love when you share with your sister). These messages can be both inspiring and motivating. You can save the notes each year. It would be an interesting read years later – when going down memory lane.
I wish you and your family the best this holiday season. Presents make Christmas exciting, but the love we have for one another is really what the season should be about.
For those that are like me and struggle with creativity or time. Here are some advent calendars I found on Amazon (affiliate links) click the images below to go to Amazon: