Real Food Tips: Advent Calendars (without candy!)

I touched on the subject of Advent calendars last year, but today I want to expand on the topic by including a detailed list. I like lists. :) As I mentioned our Advent house (which I bought at Target a few years ago by the way) was once filled with little pieces of highly processed candy, gum, chocolate, etc. I used to even let my girls open the doors and eat the junk before breakfast. This was just three years ago…wow, have times changed!

So anyway, I moved away from the candy for obvious reasons, and started going on these intense retail hunts looking for little toys that were tiny enough to fit behind those doors. This was no easy task, and to top it off that stuff really was just “junk” too since they were mainly little plastic items made in China that our children quickly forgot about or lost. So I no longer feel like racing around town and spending time/money on little knickknacks our kids honestly do not need. And I also don’t feel it’s necessary to fill this little house with organic less-junky candy (that is still candy by the way) during an already sugary time of year.

So inspired by This Lunch Rox, below is the official list for our newly renamed “Giving House.” And the criteria for these ideas were basically random acts of kindness that you could perform without having to go somewhere special (like a shelter or hospital). Of course going to such places on a regular basis would be fabulous in an ideal world, but I know how it is around the holidays so I personally did not want to over-commit during an already busy time! My girls seem to be okay with this change so far, and I am even including a free business card sized “printable” version of this list in case you want to follow suit and simply cut out these ideas for your own Advent calendar as well. I’d love to hear any other Advent ideas and suggestions in the comments below!

Our New Advent “Giving House” List

  1. Mail a card to a relative that you have not spoken to in a while.
  2. Do something especially nice and out of the ordinary for your sister or brother.
  3. Write a letter to your teacher telling them what you most like about his or her class.
  4. Give someone a nice compliment they wouldn’t normally expect.
  5. Pack your own school lunch so mommy can take the night off.
  6. Go out of your way to “help” another child or adult.
  7. Play with a friend at school that is alone at recess.
  8. Choose 2 or 3 non-perishable food items that you can set aside to donate to a local food bank.
  9. Write a thank you note to someone who has helped you recently.
  10. Cut some flowers out of your yard (or make flowers out of tissue paper) and give them to either a teacher at your school or a neighbor.
  11. Sit with someone different at lunch that you don’t know very well (and get to know them!).
  12. Decorate cards that you can mail to children who are sick and in some cases fighting cancer (cards can also be sent to their siblings).
  13. If you see a piece of trash on the ground (at home, school, or outside) pick it up and throw it away…be sure to wash your hands afterward!
  14. Choose at least one article of clothing to donate to Goodwill or a child in need.
  15. Email your congressman or the President asking them to consider an issue that you feel is important for your community.
  16. Make a small craft and mail it to one of your cousins.
  17. When you get to school ask your teacher if there is something you can do to help him or her in order to get the morning started.
  18. Tell each member of your immediate family what you love about them.
  19. Choose at least one toy or book to donate to Goodwill or a child in need.
  20. Offer to take one of your neighbor’s dogs (or your own dog) for a walk.
  21. Do a chore around the house that no one has asked you to do, but that needs to be done!
  22. Call one of your grandparents on the phone (or facetime/skype!).
  23. Write a letter to a soldier thanking him or her for serving our country.
  24. With your parents help research a charity you can either donate money to or support through a future event (like a “fun run” or soup kitchen). Put it on the calendar and commit to it.
  25. Give everyone in your family a big {squeeze} hug and kiss and tell them what you are thankful for.
Download a free printable version of this list that can be cut out for your Advent calendar!

 

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Comments

  1. Susan L |

    I don’t have children, but shared this with my 25 fifth grade students. We are going to do this in school, and paste a red heart on our Grinch poster to show our acts of kindness this season! Thanks for giving me this idea!

  2. TeresaL |

    I agree! I love sugar free advent calendars. Last year was our first year so we did erasers and this year I bought the Lego one. Since I have 3 older kids (and 1 a baby) I have 3 (4 counting one that’s just a calendar) so they can each do something so I also did a service one similar to yours we call “Presents for Jesus” and this year I found a fun activity one (link below) that was very similar to what I had made a list of to do anyway (except changed ice skating to puzzle so everything would be free). So everyday they do a service and a fun activity and whoever finds the elf gets to see what the activity is. It’s things like Christmas movie, craft, and other fun activities then the treat ones we make a healthier version of sugar free ones and hot chocolate from sugarfreemom.com. I’ll have to add some of your great ideas to my service box! Thanks.

    https://www.etsy.com/listing/120957776/kids-christmas-activities-countdown?utm_source=google&utm_medium=product_listing_promoted&utm_campaign=holidays-christmas-low-other&ione_adtype=pla&ione_creative=56602788035&ione_product_id=120957776&ione_product_partition_id=91552160675&ione_store_code=&ione_device=c&ione_product_channel=online&ione_merchant_id=11273691&ione_product_country=US&ione_product_language=en&gclid=COeLxp2bpcICFZSPfgodp7MAdQ

  3. Tracey |

    Thank you for sharing your Giving House. I think this is a great idea to use throughout the year. I won’t be using it as a substitute for an Advent calender, but I will be using as a way to teach my kids about random acts of kindness. =]

  4. Catrina |

    Love, love, LOVE this!!!

  5. Lindsay |

    I LOVE this idea! These are simple enough to actually complete in an afternoon with my kids. Thank you for sharing!

  6. Samantha |

    What a wonderful idea for some many reasons. I hope others will adopt this calendar. It’s just what we needed. Thank you.

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