The night before our first day, after the kids went to sleep, the little elves went to work on creating the oversized Christmas lights, peppermints, holly, and other little touches- including the return of the Christmas shelf!
We had to get creative today because I had to leave pretty quickly in the morning to go for my hour-long OB appointment. Brad stayed back with the kids this time, so that the little ones wouldn’t wreak havoc on the Doctor’s office (or pick up any germs).
The good news with my appointment is that everything continues to look great with our incoming daughter and I passed my gestational diabetes test. Chocolate and I can still be friends! Whoop, whoop!
Back to our house though: when the kids woke up to discover the fun larger than life decorations, they were thrilled. Marshall has been watching “Honey I Shrunk the Kids” on Netflix nonstop lately, so this was right up his alley.
After a lot of jumping and screaming, the kids got down to business on playing with the toys from the Santa shelf.
When we got the mail, we found that Marshall and Violet received some special North Pole mail! We opened it to see that Santa & Mrs. Claus sent out special report cards for each child. Giving examples on things they can improve on and praise for things they are currently getting right.
Marshall and Vi eagerly sat in front of the tree to open their report cards. As I explained what the letters were, I asked if they thought they were “Naughty” or “Nice”? Vi laughed (cackled?) and Marshall meekly admitted to “bein’ a little bit of both.”
What I like about these report cards is that Santa lets them know what they should improve on but also what they’ve been doing correctly. Marshall is a sensitive little guy, so I could see him wilting a bit when I read what he needs and on improve on. His demeanor quickly lightened when Santa praised him for being a good helper to mama and getting the highest marks in school, among other things.
We decided this would be a good time to call the North Pole on our special communicator. There’s only enough magic in the communicator to call the North Pole once a day. Both kids were so excited to hear Elf Clementine’s voice come over the frequency, but that excitement tripled when Clementine handed it over to Santa! Santa asked what they’re favorite thing to do during Christmas was (playing with the special toys from the Christmas Shelf) and what they think they’ve done to deserve to be on the nice list (Marshall said being a good friend and working hard in school and speech).
At the end of the day, I introduced our newest Christmas tradition. Growing up, we use to get advent calendars to count down the 25 days to Christmas Day. That tradition is what originally inspired us to do our 25 day celebration.
A few months ago, when Brad and I started forming our plans for the 25 Days of Christmas, we were eyeing a Lego advent calendar for Marshall. But this new tradition is even better than a Lego calendar- we will be doing a reverse version of the advent calendar. Instead of getting something everyday to countdown to Christmas, we will be giving something everyday to count down to Christmas. Everyday putting a small necessity into a box to eventually bring to our local Women’s Shelter. That Lego advent calendar we were eyeing cost anywhere between $35-$50; we will easily be able to fill this box for the same amount of money but will be giving our kids so much more at the end. The gift of giving, of learning to take care of those in need, to love their neighbor, to help without judgement- all of these lessons are so much more valuable than a trinket advent calendar.
I explained that we are going to add different things to the box to go to the Women’s Shelter. Marshall naturally asked what a shelter was. I gently explained that there are some people who don’t have a home anymore . . . or food, clothes, and toys. They may only have the clothes on their back. I told the kids that we have more than we need, and so it is our duty to help those who need it. We will help them and then someday they will have their own homes, clothes, food, and toys. They will have everything they need and I bet they will help others who need it too then.
Marshall asked where these people live and what they looked like; “they live far, far away?” I shook my head “No, buddy, they are everywhere. There are kids at your school that don’t have food at home or need help with clothing. They look like you, they look like mommy, they look like sissy. We need to do what we can to help everyone no matter what they look like or where they live.”
We are so excited to be able to participate in this reverse advent calendar! I challenge each of our readers, if able, to do their own reverse advent calendar. Slowly build a basket to bring to a food shelf, Women’s Shelter, homeless shelter, animal shelter/rescue, etc. If things are especially tight around the holidays, why not try to slowly build a basket in any other month as well? If we all just pitch in a little bit, this world could be such a better place for all of us.
With that, our first day came to a close. Larger than life in the most simple of ways on a fun pajama day. The kids learned some lessons on how to stay on the Nice list and how important it is to always pay it forward.
We look forward to sharing another round of 25 Days of Christmas with you! It’s so hard to believe that we are starting our fifth year with almost three children. Such a long ways from or first year in 2012 with 14 month old Marshall!
Stay on the nice list everyone!