10 Days of Advent: Day Five

The days are going by quickly now (obviously too quickly since I’m posting so late!) I don’t know about your house, but the anticipation seems to be growing by the hour. You can go back to day one to read about why I’m sharing ten days of Advent ideas, as well as catch up on any days you missed. It’s all about focusing on the reason for the season and spending time together with our loved ones during the holidays.

Bring the message of Advent home this holiday season. Celebrate the true meaning of Christmas as a family.

While most of us are enjoying the holidays with our family members, there are countless others giving up their day. Fire fighters, police officers, nurses & doctors, and EMTs are all working on the holidays to make sure the rest of us are safe. This season, let’s take time to say thank you.

Thank a civil servant

It takes hardly any time to drop off some cookies or brownies at your local fire or police station, but what a nice way to show our appreciation to those who help to keep us safe each day. If your budget is extra tight this Christmas, a handmade card is an equally nice way to say thanks. You could bring some holiday treats to your local ER, or even just send a note of gratitude to someone you know will be giving up their holiday.

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10 Days of Advent: Day Four

Welcome back to day four of our ten days of Advent series! Each day I’m sharing a way that you can celebrate Advent as a family to help reinforce the true meaning of Christmas. If you missed a day, check out day one, day two and day three. I love sharing holiday traditions with my little ones, but I don’t want them to forget that the real reason for all the festivity is to celebrate the birth of Jesus.

Reach out to someone feeling lonely this season

So much of the holidays is about togetherness. We spend extra time with our families, travel long distances to visit, and cook special meals together. There are holiday parties to attend with friends, coworkers, or classmates. We exchange gifts and Christmas cards. One of the best parts of this season is being with those we care about, but for some people, the holidays can be a very lonely time. Someone who doesn’t have a family, who isn’t able to be with their family, or who has recently lost a loved one would see the Christmas season very differently.

Bring the message of Advent home this holiday season. Celebrate the true meaning of Christmas as a family.

Today, make an effort to reach out to someone who might be feeling lonely this holiday season. It could be an extended family member, a friend or a neighbor. Write a letter or a card reminding that person that someone cares about them. You could even write it anonymously. Showing someone that they are not alone can be such a gift, especially during the holidays when there’s so much emphasis on being with others. We all feel lonely sometimes, and the simple act of a friend reaching out can make all the difference.

You don’t have to write a long letter or write anything in particular. A card saying “Merry Christmas from your neighbor,” could make a huge impact on someone’s day. Often it’s not the grand gestures, but the little things that can mean the most. A reminder that someone notices and cares about them could be just what that person needs to hear today!

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10 Days of Advent: Day Three

I’m having a hard time believing that we only have 8 more days until Christmas!! My kids’ last day of school was today, which means we have 17 days of vacation ahead of us. When both kids are home all day, the mess can accumulate very quickly. There are more meals eaten at home and there are toys being pulled out all day long, not to mention friends coming over to play and extra family members visiting. It’s a good time for kids to pick up some extra chores!

Bring the message of Advent home this holiday season. Celebrate the true meaning of Christmas as a family.

It can get really frustrating to feel like I’m picking up after my kiddos all day every day. During this break, I’ll be implementing a mini schedule to help everyone stay on top of the mess. It’s wonderful when the kids pitch in and do their chores, but it’s heavenly when they do a job without being asked. Does it still count if they get reminded to make the effort to do this first thing in the morning? Heck, yes!

Do a chore without being asked

I’m a mom of two young children so I’m used to delegating. I am totally comfortable telling them what to do and giving them tasks to complete. I do it all day, every day. So it’s such a nice treat for one of them to do something like pick up their room or clean up their dishes without being told. They’re young so it doesn’t happen very often, but part of my job as their mother is making sure they grow up into people who do things for other people just because. It’s one thing to offer (which is nice) but it’s even better to just get the job done so that someone else doesn’t have to do it. It’s an act of kindness and generosity that rarely goes unnoticed.

You can find the first day of advent ideas here and day two here. I hope you’re enjoying my suggestions for celebrating Advent as a family!

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10 Days of Advent: Day Two

Welcome to day two of our ten days of celebrating Advent! If you missed the first post, you can find it here. Our family enjoys a lot of holiday traditions this time of year. We read our favorite Christmas books. We watch some of our favorite Christmas movies. We choose a tree and have fun pulling out all our ornaments to decorate it. Another tradition for our family is filling a box with all the toys and books our kids no longer need or want to donate to charity.

Bring the message of Advent home this holiday season. Celebrate the true meaning of Christmas as a family.

Donate toys and books to charity

Each year on December 1st, our elf arrives with a letter from Santa. The letter instructs the kids to fill a box with toys and books that they no longer use to share with children who don’t have as much as they do. It helps our kids to understand how fortunate they are and allows them to extend generosity to others. We explain that one of the ways that we show God’s love to others is by sharing with those who have less. We also use the experience as a springboard to talk about being thankful.

Donating old toys and books made not seem like it has much to do with Advent, but it’s a simple way to show how important it is to care for others like Jesus did. When we do these small acts of generosity, we take the emphasis off ourselves and put it on other people. It teaches our kids to focus on something more than what might be under the tree on Christmas morning.

How do you help your family to focus on caring for others during the holidays?

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10 Days of Advent: Day One

If you’re stopping by Sweeter Still for the first time, I’m so happy you’re here for this series of posts about Advent. Recently I shared the way our family is using the Elf on the Shelf tradition a little differently this year. Typically the elf serves as a sort of watchdog, reporting back to Santa about whether children are naughty or nice. While this can help to encourage good behavior, we also want our little ones focusing on the true meaning of Christmas.

Bring home the true meaning of Christmas this holiday season. 10 days of ideas to celebrate Advent as a family.

For our family, the Christmas season isn’t just about Santa and exchanging presents, but about celebrating the birth of Jesus. We call this season “Advent” because it’s a time of anticipating his arrival. We don’t want the gift of Jesus to get lost in all the festivity, but rather to be the motivation for our holiday activities. So I decided that for the ten days leading up to Christmas, each day I’ll share a fun and meaningful way to celebrate Advent as a family.

Bring a treat to your neighbors

The Christmas season is so full of hustle and bustle, so packed with fun activities, that we can easily forget about our immediate community in the midst of all the busyness. Make time to deliver a small treat to your neighbors as a way to spread a little joy. A homemade card or a pretty poinsettia plant is a great way to show your neighbors that you care.

Bring home the true meaning of Christmas this holiday season. 10 days of ideas to celebrate Advent as a family.

Check out all ten days of Advent ideas:

Day Two

Day Three

Day Four

Day Five

Day Six

Day Seven

Day Eight

Day Nine

Day Ten

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