As I explained, I decided to put my Advent tradition away this year. The original idea for it was to give us a way to focus on making this season meaningful and not so centered on buying more stuff. It didn’t work. I’m letting it go… darn you, Frozen, for getting that song stuck in my head every time I use a perfectly legitimate phrase…
This year, we are trying something new: Kindness Elves. I learned about it from Anna over at Imagination Tree last year. I followed along as her little elves left notes for her children with ideas for different ways they could be kind and generous to others. Are you kidding me? This is right up my alley! All I want is for my children to be kind, generous, and compassionate. The world is full of Me Monsters, and I want our family to be different. There was something about the Elf on the Shelf that I couldn’t get on board with, but this, these darling little friends, this is just what I wanted!
They appeared with a knock on the door the morning after we got back from our Gottman Workshop weekend away. Our girls opened the box to find three sweet little elves and a note written just to them. Their first act of kindness would be to give the elves special names. I’m pleased to introduce you to Steve, Nora, and Alice. This is what happens when you let the kids be in charge of something…
The next day, the Kindness Elves introduced the girls to a little boy named Trucker. Trucker is the youngest son of a friend of mine from high school. As the elves explained, little Trucker is suffering from cancer (neuroblastoma), and would love some prayers and a drawing to cheer him up. It was both hard and special to share pictures and videos of sweet Trucker with my girls. I could see the compassion in their young eyes. They were sad to see him hurting and then happy to cheer him up.
After that, the elves appeared with ingredients and suggested cookie making and delivery to one of our new neighbors. Then an encouraging note from Steve, Nora, and Alice the elves about what special things they had noticed and suggesting they use nice words to be kind to others.
On Saturday, the elves noticed we still didn’t have a Christmas tree up, so they asked the girls to go out with their Daddy to pick one out.
Then they suggested the girls look through their toys and see if there were any they could donate.
Aren’t they the cutest?
Advent didn’t work for us because there was something in it that was forcing my kids to be tiny adults. Like I said before, we may pick it up again in the future. But, for now, I think we’ve found something that lets them be little and still stretches their capacity to be kind and generous. It also stretches mine to think of simple ways to engage with them and be purposeful every day.
I’m so thankful I’m not tackling this one on my own. Each day when Tony is on his way home, he does his usual check in to see if I need anything from the store. Now he’s added what has become my favorite question of the day, “And, what are the Kindness Elves up to tomorrow?”
Have you found a tradition that is working for you and your family? Something that is bringing you together and not just adding more obligations to your list? I’d love to know about it. If you want to follow along with our Kindness Elves, I’ll be posting their little notes on Instagram and you should also check out Anna at Imagination Tree. She has the best ideas, so for the most part, I just copy her 🙂
Traditions and rituals are important for building a marriage and family that will last. So, don’t throw them all out this season. Instead, find what works and practice being mindful of the meaning behind them so that you can enjoy each other and #staymarried.
P.S. I’m dedicating this post to #TeamTrucker. Even if you don’t have Kindness Elves, there are still so many ways to practice kindness and generosity with your family. Maybe you and your partner, along with your kids, would like to start by taking a look at Baby Trucker Dukes’ story, watch the video below of Trucker with his mommy, and consider sending them some love on their Facebook page or donating to their cancer fund. I think it would be amazing for our #staymarried Community to get behind this incredible family and support them through this fight! Share and share some more so we can spread the word about being kind and loving on people who need it most!
The #staymarried blog was created to offer hope, stories, and resources for couples who want to stay married.
If you enjoyed this post and want to read more about how we are doing things a little bit differently as a family, you might also like these:
♥ Gratitude is the Antidote
♥ House Rules
♥ How to be a Great Dad
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