twenty-five in december


it’s december.  {i know you know.}  and i want my kids to focus on things other than the 25th. i want to focus on things other than the 25th. because december is full of days, 31 to be exact. and so i’m making my kids a little countdown of sorts…not with gifts or candy {although they have a candy ribbon countdown that their grandmother made} {how can i resist?}.  but this year, i wanted to do something…more.  and so each day they will open a little envelope that’s clipped on some twine and pull out a slip of paper with a note written on it.  a gentle challenge, a prompt of sorts.  here’s what we’re going to do…

give extra hugs today.  say thank you {and really mean it}.  do a secret favor for someone. write a love note and leave it on someone’s pillow. tell someone something you really like about them.

tell a silly joke to make someone laugh.  donate a book to the library.  make something for someone {a card, a piece of toast…anything.  it doesn’t have to be fancy}.  help around the house without being asked.  feed the birds.

listen really closely to others and try not to interrupt.  make a card for your grandparents.  be patient.  donate food to the local food bank. make daddy’s lunch for tomorrow.

share extra cuddles with kona {our pup}.  give out candy canes at co-op.  play a game that you know someone else really loves.  tidy your bedroom {help your sibling if help is needed}. hold doors open for other people.

donate a toy.  cook dinner for the family.  write a letter and tell your sibling why you love him/her.  if you love someone, tell them.  take a few minutes to think about the goodness of your life.

maybe you want to play too.  {you might want to tweak some to fit your life better.}  just promise me that you do this only if it feels good.  this is not about creating things that need doing.  for me {and, i hope, for my kids} it’s about sinking into our days…days that happen to fall in december.  and there happen to be 25 envelopes, but it’s about much more than a number.  it’s about the spirit of our days.  together.  in december.

sending  a little love your way, m



26 thoughts on “twenty-five in december

  1. that’s a lovely idea. I’m getting really uncomfortable seeing all the consumerism all around me. I’ve opted out of christmas a couple of years back. works for me. now with monsieur’s kids tho… it’s so hard not to get sucked into the frenzy yet again…

    sending a little love your way too xo

  2. I adore this take on the advent calendar. We’ve got the one with little treats too. I’m going to give this a try. Yesterday was not a banner day for parenting. This is a good start to a do-over. Thanks you.

  3. what a wonderful idea! I wasn’t quite brave enough for that (yet), but also wanted to do things a little differently this year. So it’s a basket full of books. the kida can choose one a day, to read all together.
    also, a little something for you on my website, every day ;-) enjoy the special time!

  4. What a beautiful way to get back to basics. I hate that it’s all about “the good deals” in retail and family can’t be together on Thanksgiving. Retail is tearing tradition to shreds and folks are letting them. Your kids are so lucky to have good values instilled like this. You’re a blessing.

  5. I’ve also prepared a countdown calendar for my godson (with candies and notes in which I explain some symbols/traditions of Christmas around the world).
    But yours…it is such a great countdown; spreading kindness. I wish I had a calendar like this for myself. Congratulations on your project.

  6. This sounds so wonderful. I wonder if it works for a 19 year old who is never home, or a 16 year old who is too cool for school? I know my littlest and only girl has a chance. Maybe I will tweak it to work for the boys. I called the oldest today and woke him up, just so I could hear his voice. Thank you for your wisdom and great ideas. xo

    1. tracie, you could definitely tweak these to make them more age-appropriate!

      and i love that you called your son, just to hear his voice. lucky boy to have such a loving mama. xo

  7. Hi Michelle, I completely agree with you, I don’t want any stress this month, shopping, visiting.., I want to focus on what is important, simplicity, care and love. The card idea is great!

  8. love this, Michelle! what a wonderful idea for an advent calendar. I, too, am trying to scale back, and focus on the spirit of this season. I look forward to hearing more about how this month progresses for you and your family!

  9. I love this idea Michelle! I will do it personally for myself (since all my children are grown and my grandchildren are not too close by). I love the feel of it…thanks for the reminder of how this can change my mood and outlook as the rest of the country is “ramping up” for the holidays. Every year I do the Twelve Days of Christmas (which starts on Christmas day)…Each grandchild gets twelve gifts (one to open each day) until the 6th of Jan…one of the gifts is rather than buy a gift I take the money I would have spent on all seven of them and buy a goat for a family from Heifter International…This is my 4th year of doing this and the kids have come to appreciate what I am doing in their name. We talk about it at great length…the ripple out effect…The rest of the gifts are very little, inexpensive and many times from the thrift store (beautiful gentely used books, puzzles, art supplies, lots of little trinkets) and saved throughout the year…they love the idea of some small remembrance each day and look forward to it. I asked the teens if they wanted to stop and get one nice gift now that they are older…and they said “no way Nana bird”…

    1. So wanted to delete this comment…don’t know how to edit comments…sorry for all the words…guess I need some practice in simplicity! J

      1. actually, julia, i think what you wrote is perfect. it’s awesome that you just wrote what you were feeling. i really loved reading about your tradition…it’s lovely! xo

        p.s. i tried to email you privately about this but the email got bounced back to me :(

  10. I love this idea, Michelle. For years, when the calendar flips from November to December, the exhaustion of knowing that I cannot measure up to the unfair expectations around me creeps in: emotional, material, spiritual. You name it. I would love to hear–and see–more of what you are doing!


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