The holiday season, and Advent in particular, is a time of preparation, a time for waiting, and a time for giving. Whether your family celebrates the birth of Jesus during this season, or you simply cherish the extra time for loved ones to gather and love one another (or both!), the four weeks before Christmas are a time of excitement and anticipation. Like many families, we are working hard to teach our 3.5 year old (and one year old) that this season is more than just receiving gifts.
Here are four goals we have for this special time when thinking about our family:
1 – Advent as an opportunity to serve others
Regardless of how old you child is, there are always ways to model and teach how to serve and support others. In fact, we have spent the last weeks going through toys and books (that are still in good shape) to share with other children that might enjoy them. We have been talking about sharing with others because we have been given a lot.
During this season there are plenty of opportunities to volunteer in the community with your kids. Also, keep an eye out for events like Stuff the Truck that supports one of the largest holiday assistance programs in our region.
2 – Advent as a way to be thankful for what we already have
This goes hand-in-hand with the first point. While discussing with our little ones the importance of sharing, we are trying to model ways to be thankful for what we already have instead of focusing on wanting new toys and talking about presents etc. Gratitude is hard to teach (and often, model – they are always watching 😊).
While we have gone through a wishlist of toys, and written a letter for Santa, we have spent more time focusing on what we already have and saying words of appreciation out loud.
3 – Advent as time to be with loved ones
After the past two years that we have had, and all the stuff that we bought to survive being stuck at home with two little ones, we are making a conscious effort to focus more on the people in our lives this year – and spending quality moments with them.
Asking for experiences as opposed to toys/gifts is also a great way to focus on being with loved ones. This year for the holidays, we are spending time in London with family: choosing to create memories over getting more and more stuff.
We are so excited for our upcoming trip in London, where our Christmas presents will solely be about spending time with family.
4 – Advent as a preparation for the birth of Jesus
Another desire that we have is to teach our sons that Christmas is first and foremost about the birth of Jesus. We have been spending more time reading the Bible with them, praying, answering questions, and trying to make it more accessible for little ones. We have been watching The Star (2017) over and over again, and playing with our new Nativity set.
What are some ways you do Advent with your little ones?