Not that they needed reminding. After 25 days of habitually telling/learning/sharing what they were grateful for, we all practiced gratitude that much easier. All year I was pleased, sometimes even stunned, by the gratitude my girls showed. Whether by extra hugs in sensitive moments or thanking me for buying them healthy foods so that they could grow strong and learn lots, they not only understood gratitude, but practiced it. Gratitude helped Kaya many times in overcoming her first instinct to imagine the worst and for Brennyn, well she just seemed to emanate thankfulness, thanking me for socks and adventures and letting her stay up past dark.
Since living grateful (admittedly some days better than others by us all!) is very much a part of our lives, I decided against doing another gratitude advent this year. While it got us started on a way of life, bringing it up again as a ‘special’ thing to do solely for December seemed strange.
What I had been noticing of late, was my girls hesitation to give. Kaya makes beautiful art but is very hesitant to share that with anyone outside of our house where she can see it everyday. Both girls have been coming home with little stuffies or bracelets or homemade crafts that their friends have gifted them spontaneously, while they seem to hold on tight to their possessions, not wanting to let them go.
So it is, this year I have created a Giving Tree. Again, empty stars fill our advent that we then write what we will give today. It’s a way to practice giving, but also a way to learn about all the types of ways we can give.
Giving food, art, money, our time, our talents, smiles, joy, gifts, cards, and yes gratitude too. Sometimes as adults we become trapped in the ‘not enough money/time/skills to make a difference’ so this month of giving is as much for me as for the kids. Reminding me and teaching them in the countless ways and means we can give of ourselves to better our community and world, hopefully creating a lifelong desire to help and share and give in the process.
Here’s our advent table. Daily Lego’s are a big hit with both girls this year. Thanks Gammy! And the little wooden one I scored at Winners for 9.99, painted and glittered it while the girls got to paint all the mini decorations. Each day they open up the box to hang one of their beautiful decorations and pull out their star of giving. Nope, no chocolates here but that reminds me to go check out any yummy chocolate advents on sale for mommy!
Of course, the other daily advent is checking out our Elf on the Shelf shenanigans. I waivered back and forth but in the end, knew the girls would love an elf and that they do. For another post!