Christmas is around the corner and preparations are already underway in a lot of households. School plays, parties and other end of term events are coming thick and fast. The time leading up to Christmas can be very busy but Advent is a lovely excuse to slow things down, connect with your family and consider what is important to you.
Advent means ‘coming’ in Latin, referring to the coming of Jesus Christ which is celebrated at Christmas. Christians use the weeks of Advent to prepare and remember the real meaning of Christmas.
Advent is marked in different ways around the world, from calendars, candles and wreaths, to fasting and feasts. In recent years, Advent traditions have become more elaborate and less about Christianity. Whilst there’s different ways of looking at this, I think the more people who are eager to embrace positive traditions and make them work for their own families, the better. We could all do with a little more joy, excitement and connection in our lives.
Tried and Tested Ideas
Social media is full of ideas for the run up to Christmas. Some are definitely more time consuming, costly and complicated than others! I’ve picked a few of my favourites that are the most likely to benefit you and your family this festive season.
- The Kindness Elves: as an antidote to the ‘Elf on the Shelf’ Craze, the Kindness Elves were created to encourage families to engage in random acts of kindness and instil the value of kindness in your children. Whilst this website has lots of related merchandise on sale, the Kindness Elves is an idea that is simply replicated using existing toys and generating ideas and acts of kindness that will suit your lifestyle. https://thekindnesselves.com/
- Book Countdown: wrap up a stack of books for your children to unwrap and read with you each day. Take the time to explore the story with them, connect and communicate. Not only is this a valuable activity for their development, it good for their emotional health and wellbeing. Even if you do read to your children each day, the excitement of unwrapping a book brings a new sparkle to story time. This also doesn’t need to be expensive, you can wrap books you already own. We do this each year and have a collection of Christmas books that we put back in the cupboard in January, we just add one or two new stories each year.
- Reverse Advent Calendar: start with an empty box and place one non perishable food item in it each day. On 24th December, donate the full box to a food bank. If you don’t already know about it, we do have a foodbank in Botswana! Based in Main Mall, Gaborone, you can contact them on 310 5821.
- Activity Calendar: suggest an activity for the children or family to do each day. It could be making a card, baking cookies, having a picnic outside, a day out or playing a family game. It can help you plan the month, dedicate time to your family and explore new things.
Try Something New!
With so many wonderful and creative ways to connect and give back this festive season, I’ve decided to try a bit of everything, activities, books, acts of kindness and donations. I’m already excited to get started!
Ideas don’t have to be elaborate, and nobody should feel the pressure to do something every day but why not take the opportunity to be creative this festive season and try out some new ways to come together as a family and spread a little joy?
Wishing you and your family Happy Holidays.
Caroline holds a Master’s degree in Mental Health and Psychological Therapy and works to help others achieve their full potential. As one of the Directors of SensoBaby, she focuses her attention on families and young children.
You can find her at www.littlenaledi.com