Can you believe that we are in November already? Where has 2015 gone? Once November hits, we all know that our calendars start filling up quickly, the shops put out all their Christmas decorations and we definitely begin the silly season!!
We live in such an egocentric society that tries to condition us into thinking that we need certain products to achieve happiness. Even children are targeted through advertising in believing that they NEED the latest toy, even if they already have one hundred similar ones at home. At Christmas time, it seems that this mentality is heightened and people are under so much stress to get everything they need to make it a “special time”.
I have decided that for Christmas 2015, I am challenging this notation and I am wondering how many others also feel the need to try something different.
This Christmas season my personal challenge is to teach my children about the importance of thinking about others and the notation of giving to people, not in the superficial sense but by giving their time and effort to bring others happiness. Is this not the true meaning of Christmas?
How do we do this, so children understand the importance of giving that will be appropriate to their age? I have come up with the idea of a challenge calendar for the month of December. It will work the same as the normal Chocolate Countdown Calendars that can be bought. Each day, a door is opened that matches the date. Behind the door will be a challenge that the child must complete before the end of the day. At dinner time, each member of the family can discuss the challenge and how they met it.
You may want to make up all the challenges with your child at the end of November and you can randomly put them behind different doors. For younger children, like my own (4 years and 2 years), the parent can make up all the challenges and complete the challenges with them.
Some inspirational quotes that my family will live by in the month of December
“We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give” Winston Churchill
“No one ever became poor by giving” Anne Frank
“No act of kindness, no matter how small, is ever wasted” Aesop
“If you can not feed one hundred people, then feed just one” Mother Teresa
This idea of the Challenge Calendar would work well in both a home environment or a school classroom. Below are 4 examples of what it could look like but be as creative as you want.
So the tricky part will be coming up with 24 challenges that your child or children would be able to complete. I have written some ideas for different age groups to help you create your own.
Age group : 2 - 8 years Challenges
- Shop for a new toy and donate it to a Christmas appeal (eg KMART Wishing Tree)
- Make Christmas cards and take them to a nursing home
- Donate 3 toys to a Charitable organisation
- Donate 3 pieces of clothing to a charitable organisation
- Give extra love to a pet or animal (eg take for a walk, play with them, wash them)
- Draw a picture of a relative and send it to them
- Help your parent make dinner for the family
- Sing a Christmas Carol to a grandparent
- Make a christmas hamper (full of non perishable items) and give to a charity
- Donate some of your money to a charity
Age group: 9 - 15 years Challenges
- Perform a random act of kindness to a stranger
- Do something around the house to help a family member
- Visit a relative you have not seen for a while
- Give 5 honest compliments to people
- Be a secret santa to someone (give a small gift to someone and not tell them it was from you)
- Write a letter of gratitude to someone and send it
- Donate some of your money to a charity
- Play a game with a younger child
- Volunteer for something to help others
- Have a conversation with someone you have never spoke to
- Make a plate of food for a neighbour (eg could be cookies, a cake etc)
- Thank a volunteer who helps people
I hope this blog will inspire you to create your own Challenge Calendar for your family or class. Christmas is the time of giving so lets try to spread this special message for Christmas 2015.
Until next time …
Kelly PisaniClick here to email this post to yourself or a friend