Try an Advent of Kindness this Year


advent calendar

Earlier this week, I ran a couple errands and picked up a few holiday decorations for the house.  I almost picked up a cute Advent calendar for my kids; although our family is not religious, I was raised in a Catholic house and remember the excitement of opening a designated compartment each day of the month leading up to Christmas. The variety in Advent calendars these days is mind-boggling!  In addition to the traditional chocolate calendars, there are things like HatchanimalsLEGOs, and Lip Smacker countdowns – just to name a few.

I know my kids would love any of those options.  But – call me a Grinch – I also know that my little ones are two lucky ducks, and certainly don’t need additional toys or sugar this holiday season.  (Read: they are spoiled.)

So instead of adding to what’s already a manic, saturated month of excess, I decided that our family “Advent” calendar would be centered around giving.  Instead of getting a brief and meaningless surge of excitement from a colorful doodad or tasty morsel, we would try something intended to give us a much more meaningful and long-lasting high: an Advent of Kindness!

Here’s what I mean. Each day, we open a compartment to reveal a card describing an act of kindness.  It’s our goal that day to carry out the action listed on the card. At dinner or before bed, we talk about whether we met our goal.  

12/1: Play with someone that you don’t usually play with

12/2: Smile or wave at people who walk by

12/3: Hold the door open for someone

12/4: Put out some seed for the birds

12/5: Give someone a hug or fist bump

12/6: Tell someone you love them

12/7: Give someone a compliment

12/8: Tell a joke to make someone smile

12/9: Offer to help someone

12/10: Donate clothes to charity

12/11: Do something nice for a member of your family

12/12: Write a nice note to someone

12/13: Bring food to a collection

12/14: Invite a friend for a playdate

12/15: Clean up without being asked

12/16: Share a toy with a friend or sibling

12/17: Give your pet a special treat

12/18: Pick up some trash off the sidewalk or grass and throw it out or recycle

12/19: Donate books to the library or a charity

12/20: Call a relative or far-away friend to say hi

12/21: Give a special treat or present to your teacher

12/22: Help prepare a meal or snack

12/23: Leave a special treat or present for the mailman

12/24: Do something kind for yourself

12/25: Celebrate how much joy this season has brought us!

So far, we’ve had mixed success… but the calendar keeps acts of kindness on our brains during the month, and we’re all trying to meet our goals every day.  The beauty of this Advent of Kindness is that you can tailor it to whatever you want to work on with your kids, and it’s good for people of all ages. Hopefully, being kind in the month of December will bring your family so much joy that acts of kindness will continue all year long!

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Lorrie lives in Cupertino with her husband, two small children, crazy dog, and obese cat. Originally from the Chicago area, Lorrie headed west in 2010, and hasn’t looked back. She loves exploring the Bay Area, and finds that even after six years, there is always something new to discover. Lorrie is a licensed and practicing attorney in both Illinois and California. She is proud to represent employees in all manner of work-related disputes, and partners closely as Of Counsel with Caffarelli & Assoc. Ltd., a Chicago-based firm. When she is not working or chasing her kids around, Lorrie likes to tinker with home improvement projects, walk around on sidewalks and trails, zone out on the internet, and “Netflix and chill.” She also likes to run, and aspires to one day make it to a yoga class.


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