Wednesday, December 5, 2012

25 days of christmas kindness

it's been a few days since i've blogged....i guess i was too heartbroken over our big loss last weekend :(
but life goes on! and christmas is still coming - unless i want to channel michael scott and cancel it - ha!  ;-)

i know a lot of people are into the "elf on the shelf" tradition and every time i log onto facebook or instagram or any other social media site, i see TONS of pictures of all the little mischievous elves and their shenanigans. it's fun to see all the different ways that families incorporate the elf into their own lives and make the tradition personal for them.

we have an elf, but don't really get into the whole "stirring up trouble while you sleep" trend. it's a really creative and fun thing to do, but for our family it's just not something we get in to. we do "santa" and all the "magic" that comes along with him, but really we just want to keep things simple. don't get me wrong - i love cute and cheesy things just as much as the next girl, BUT...i'm not really a fan of the whole, "you better behave because santa's watching... and he won't bring you any presents if you're not good." Or "the elf is watching you and will report back to santa if you misbehave... and then you won't get any presents." i really want my girls to behave because it's the right thing to do, not because they expect to get stuff if they do.

of course, i believe in rewarding good behavior, but i don't want my girls to make good choices because of what they'll get in return. i want them to make good choices because they know that it's the right thing to do....even if no one is watching! i think that's teaching integrity and strong character - doing the right things, making good choices, even when no one is watching!
i know that each family has their own beliefs and values that work for them and if that includes the elf on the shelf traditions and experience - that's great! i don't think that those that partake in those things are teaching their children anything wrong or anything besides the true meaning of christmas - i'm just sharing what works for our family and what we believe. :)

our church always encourages acts of kindness during the month of december and i started thinking that it would be a great thing to get the girls involved in, too. just because they're young doesn't mean they can't learn the importance of kindness. their acts of kindness may look a little different than mine or yours, but everyone has to start somewhere, right? i tried to come up with as many things as i could that i thought libbi and laney would be able to participate in. some are really basic acts of kindness - like making eye contact and telling a waitress "Thank you" when they bring you an item you've ordered. it may seem trivial to some, but i really believe that these are the kinds of things that must be taught and practiced.

to help encourage our acts of kindness, i came up with "25 days of christmas kindness" and involved our little elf (named "sophia the first" by libbi...and yes, you must call her "sophia the first" - not just "sophia" or you will be corrected). sophia the first arrived in our home on december 1st. she brought with her a note explaining her role in the 25 days of christmas kindness and a calendar for the girls to countdown to christmas. libbi likes to play with sophia the first and i completely forgot that some families encourage the magic of the elf and not to touch him/her....until we went to kroger and libbi brought sophia the first out with her. people are intense about that elf y'all. i learned my lesson and sophia now waits in the car for us while we run errands. :)
on day two, sophia the first arrived with her first act of kindness for the girls to perform. who better to show kindness to than our family members? she also brought a felt christmas tree to play with. funny enough, the SAME tree made an appearance at the tippins house last year. i know two little girls that enjoyed playing with it last year, too. and those same little girls were just as surprised over it this year - ha! what can i say? sophia the first is a frugal little gal. ;-)
on day three of the 25 days of christmas kindness, sophia the first brought libbi and laney cute little books to read. (i actually got these in the dollar section at target last year, but forgot to give them to the girls. sophia the first was lucky i held onto them for a year.)
again today, they were encouraged to show kindness to another family member.

dictated to me and i wrote it down. :) 

on day four - sophia the first showed up with a christmas craft! the girls painted a sheet of paper green and once it dried, i cut it out into a tree shape. they used stars and garage sale dot stickers to decorate their own trees. they liked this one! :)
sophia the first encouraged them again to show kindness to another family member.


today, day 5 of the 25 days of christmas kindness, sophia the first brought the girls new christmas shirts and prompted them to draw a picture for daddy to hang in his office. 

like i said, many of our acts of kindness are very basic. the first full week includes showing kindness to family members. the second week includes some acts of service for others, but i tried really hard to come up with projects and crafts that BOTH girls can participate in. i bought a few (inexpensive) things to use along the way, but most of the items/supplies are things we have around the house or can make/find easily. my hope for the girls (especially libbi this year) is that they will begin to realize that just as they get excited and enjoy when someone gifts them when something or does something thoughtful for them, they have the opportunity to make someone else feel that way, too!

i'm excited to continue our 25 days of christmas kindness and share them with y'all, too. and i'm really excited to see the girls begin to learn that they can be a blessing to someone else -no matter if you're 18months, 3 and a half, or even 30 years old. :) 

**all poems/printables were made by me and designed using the MyMemories software. check out the discount code on my sidebar if you're interested in ordering it!
 **don't forget to place your placemat orders before christmas! :) click HERE or check out the link on the sidebar for more info.

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