So you’ve decided to do an advent activity based on positive messages, whether just for the kids, the family or maybe even a group of people you see regularly.

It’s a lovely, positive way to celebrate Christmas, and can be very colourful, too, but sometimes, writing the messages may seem a little daunting.

Writing the messages

getting set to write…

Apart from the obvious need to get materials ready to write the messages, how do you prepare to write positive Christmas messages?

The reality is you may have to push yourself and do it when you’re tired or grumpy, but as much as possible try the following ideas to make writing easier:

  • remember it’s going to be fun seeing them read what you write
  • think of the lasting impact this December could have
  • give yourself some time to do this – rushing just makes it harder (and makes mistakes more likely)
  • sit somewhere comfortable so you can relax
  • make it fun for you – have a nice drink and a snack beside you, play some music you like, burn a candle to encourage your sense of smell, etc
  • have some props around you to help – maybe photos of the kids doing things, your diary so you can remember things you’ve done together, a print out of the tips below, and so on.

When to write…

You could write the messages each day, for example write them out each evening in preparation to be read the next day. I like this as it will be fresh and relevant to the day, and is probably easier to do than writing 24 messages at once. But I would have a few spare ones written in advance in case you don’t get to it on any particular day (like when you’re out at Christmas functions or carols by candlelight!)

Or you can write out all the messages in November so they’re all done for the count down. How you’re going to present them will also impact on when you write them!

What to write…

What to actually write in the messages is the biggest hurdle for some people. So here are a few tips:

  • keep it simple – “I love how kind you are” or “Your smile brightens up my day” are short but meaningful
  • remember the good deeds done throughout the year, not just recently
  • focus on the good, don’t try to change anyone. For instance “well done for setting the table this week” is much better than “remember to set the table every day”
  • don’t give the same message to everyone in the family, at least not everyday
  • use sentences (“generous” isn’t as nice to read as “you are so generous, Jane!”) but one sentence per message will usually be enough
  • stick to things they can control – so make it more about behaviour and attitude than appearance. It’s much more affirming to be told “you are friendly” and “you are good at helping people” than “you have nice hair”
  • add their name to at least some of the messages – it has more power that way

And if you’re really struggling, here are some actual message ideas:

  • I love your smile
  • you make me laugh!
  • you are very kind to animals
  • you’ve worked really hard this year
  • thanks for making me so many dinners
  • you are a great friend
  • I am proud of you
  • you are a great big sister
  • your integrity makes you beautiful
  • you are a great cook!
  • I’m proud of you trying hard at school
  • you give great hugs!
  • I appreciate you saving water when you can
  • you are very artistic
  • you have a great fashion sense
  • I love your laugh
  • you make good choices
  • it’s great watching you play sport
  • you are a great team player
  • you are good at thinking about things
  • I’m pleased you are loyal
  • I’m grateful you’re always there for me
  • You show me the way, even when you’re scared of the path