The materialistic consumerism that has become such a central part of modern life seems to be on steroids during the lead up to Christmas. It makes my teeth ache and my knees sweat. All the gift-sets on the shelves in Boots (10 very plastic wrapped chutneys from around the world – WHY? Also isn’t this a CHEMIST?). All the plastic plastic plastic toys everywhere. The madness that is Black Friday (just been a bit sick in my mouth) and Cyber (what?) Monday. Too much! We can counteract all the greed in society, with lots of the opposite. And the best place to starts is in our own homes, with our own families.
The first thing you read in my kids’ school reports are how they are doing in terms of behaviour, effort, and consideration for others. The school recognises the truth that these things are more important than anything academic. Their teachers are helping me unfold my children into the kind, giving and loving people that they were born to be. And at Christmas time there is loads we can do to promote giving instead of grabbing. I copied an idea from a Facebook friend last year and it worked really well. This year I am doing it again and thought I would share in case you’d like to take on the tradition for your family. So here is what you do:
Print out the below (or your own version) onto paper and cut out into strips. (This year I think I’ll print onto card and cut into heart shapes because why not.) These are just the things the kids and I are going to be doing this December. (You’ll notice that I like baking but that five minutes into any craft activity I lose the will to live.) Feel free to take these ideas or make up your own depending on what you like to do with your kids – it is supposed to be fun for you too!
Then place each strip of paper or cardboard heart into twenty-four separate envelopes labelled with dates on the front, from 1st – 24th December. Along with the piece of paper/card, put a tiny treat in the envelope – I put a chocolate button for each kid inside.
Next hang them all up in a tantalising and decorative way. I use teeny tiny little clothes pegs from the craft shop and hang each envelope onto a piece of string like a washing line. Then from 1st December onwards, open one envelope each day. Have fun!!
Shall we make cup-cakes for all our lovely neighbours today?
Let’s write letters to Father Christmas today! We can post them in the morning.
Today we can make our sweetie wreath for the front door. Then everyone who comes to see us can help themselves to a sweet and enjoy a sugar rush while they wait for us to open the door! (We can keep adding sweets throughout December.)
Shall we take a Christmas gift to the old people’s home today?
Let’s bake a cake for Anna White today, and then take it to her house.
Today we can pack a hamper for the food bank.
Let’s draw Christmas pictures to send to Nanna today.
Shall we make bird food to put in the garden to feed the birds through the winter today?
Let’s write down all the things we are grateful for and put the lists up on our bedroom walls.
Shall we buy and decorate the Christmas tree today?
Let’s go and buy presents for the teachers today!
Shall we take the toys we don’t play with anymore to the children’s charity shop after school?
Let’s make a big cake to take into the staff room for all the teachers.
Shall we pack up the clothes we are too big for and take them to Little Village today?
Here are some new toothbrushes!! Let’s clean our teeth until they are extra shiny and SMILE at everyone we see today.
Shall we write down all the things we love about Pops and Nona and Granny? (We can put them in a jar for them to open whenever they need cheering up.)
Shall we take carrots to the horses in the New Forest today?
Let’s make flapjacks for the bin men today!
PS: HAPPY BIRTHDAY DARLING WILL!
Shall we make biscuits for the milkman today?
Let’s make cupcakes for the postman today!
Shall we take the books we don’t read anymore to the Doctors surgery today?
Today we could make and decorate bookmarks. (We can secretly tuck them into other people’s reading books!)
Shall we fill a stocking for daddy today?
Today we need to make reindeer food (oats, raisins, seeds – anything the birds might like). We can sprinkle it onto the lawn tonight so that the reindeer can eat it while Father Christmas delivers your toys!