positive

Positive message count down

If you’re more interested in the spirit of Christmas than the commercialism of bought advent calendars, maybe this is an advent activity you will make time for this year. And it doesn’t just have to be for kids!

This can bring people together, make people feel good and build fantastic Christmas memories. If you’ve ever been involved in a message advent activity, I’d love to hear about it in the comments below.

Presentation of the advent messages

So, how do you present these positive messages throughout December?

Well, you can do it anyway you want but here are some suggestions…

  • roll each message like a scroll and tie it onto the Christmas tree with red ribbon (You might need a special tree just for this if you’re including a lot of people!)
  • fold each message and put it into a pre-made advent calendar
  • fold each message and put it into a jar then pull one out each day as a Christmas lucky dip! To make it nicer, use a red jar or tie a festive ribbon around the jar (and of course, the jar could be any type of container, really!)
  • put each message into an envelope and open one per day
  • stick the message to the bed head so children wake up to see a positive message waiting for them
  • create them as an advent calendar. That is, write the messages on a piece of paper/cardboard then stick another piece of paper over the front having partially cut out some flaps to be lifted (or ripped off) to read each day’s message
  • you could go electronic and schedule the messages to be sent each day via email, social media or even as their screen saver
  • pop a new message into a Christmas stocking (preferably hanging in front of the fireplace or Christmas tree rather than in the dirty laundry basket!) each day – or you could use the stockings for the lucky dip option!
A collage of photos showing advent calendars made at home

Some positive message advent options

And using a different colour (paper, pens, whatever) for each person will make it easier to keep track of things, too!

If you have any other presentation ideas, please share them below 🙂

Creating the messages

This is both the time consuming and challenging part of the process, but also, I believe, the rewarding part.

Little girl dressed for Christmas and writing on blank paper

As you write positive messages, your little Christmas helpers can be writing, too!

Put simply, you need to create 24 positive and encouraging messages for each person using the advent calendar. These messages need to be read each day so should be individual.

I’ll share some ideas about writing the messages themselves in the next couple of days.

 

Quality Santa letters written with love

Yesterday I wrote about Santa asking me to help him write letters to Australian children each Christmas.

As it is an honour to write to children on Santa’s behalf, and a responsibility to give those children a special message, I put a lot of care and love into all the letters we write.

General principles of Love Santa letters

Every Love Santa letter (including our non-personalised self-print options) is written to meet the following aims:

Love Santa letter makes boy smile

Making each child smile is what we aim to do

  1. it is positive and makes the child feel happy
  2. acknowledge the good things children do, ann encourage them doing more good things
  3. be truly personal so the child knows the letter is for him or her
  4. includes references to Australia and a warm Christmas so the child can relate to what they are reading
  5. indirectly teach children basic letter writing skills

Making Love Santa letters personalised

There are a number of ways I strive to make each child feel special, but it mostly comes down to spending the time editing each letter just before it is printed and mailed to be sure it is just right.

Every Love Santa letter

  1. is mailed in its own envelope so the child has the pleasure of opening a letter addressed to him or herself
  2. starts with their first name
  3. is often adjusted to suit the child’s age or good deeds
  4. includes some good deeds done by that child during the last year. Good deeds are always written in a positive tone, too, to build self-esteem. So, for example, I write ‘being independant’ rather than ‘not being so clingy’, ‘learning to play nicely’ rather than ‘not always fighting’, and ‘trying your best at maths’ instead of ‘not failing maths’
  5. is checked to be different from siblings’ letters, and often is adjusted to include a sibling’s name

To share in this fun part of Christmas, request a Love Santa letter so your kids can experience their own personalised letter – and look out for some ordering tips in tomorrow’s blog post.

Providing positive Santa experiences for kids

Running a Christmas event involving a group of kids this year? If so, here’s an alternative way to do things to make it  truly positive and memorable for the kids – and the adults.

Whether it’s a school group, scouting group, sporting club or another type of children’s group, you can make Santa’s presence even more special – and this could solve some budget problems, too.

Sitting on Santa’s lap

Santa and boy giving gifts to girl

Santa & a boy giving gifts to a girl

Traditionally, each child will come and sit on Santa’s lap, tell him what they want for Christmas, possibly be given a gift and hop down so the next child has a turn. For bigger groups, each child may just be given something by Santa.

This year, why to try something a little different? It may take a bit longer but the rewards are much stronger (and maybe that means fewer other activities or games to organise!)

Let’s look at three children at this special Christmas event, Ashlea, Lachlan and Piper.

Santa sits beside the Christmas tree and invites Ashlea to sit on his lap. Lachlan follows her and stands beside Santa.

Lachlan then says something nice about Ashlea (see some examples below) before Santa gives her a small gift.

Lachlan now sits on Santa’s lap and Piper comes up to stand beside Santa and says something nice about Lachlan. Followed by Ashlea standing to say something nice about Piper when it is her turn.

You can call children randomly or try to put friends near each other, but the point is that each child hears positive things about themselves which is a valuable gift.

It is also good for the child speaking to think of and acknowledge positives about their friend/classmate/fellow scout/etc.

Saying nice things

Obviously, each child has different strengths and what each child sees in another will vary, too.

And we want that variety to come though as Santa loves all children with all their differences.

But here are some examples to get you thinking and to demonstrate to the children:

  • I love your big smile
  • You were nice to me when I fell down
  • You are very smart when the teacher asks you questions
  • I like your jokes and funny stories
  • you are a good friend
  • I like how you are kind to animals
  • you’re the best skipper in our school

Depending on the group of kids, you may want to explain what will happen before hand so they know some basic rules and are prepared to stand in front of everyone. Or you may start with some adults having a turn to set the mood and show how it works.

Or maybe you have a better suggestion on how to introduce this to the group?

Any suggestions on ways to make this a more lasting event, too?

Would this work for adults? I think everyone deserves to hear some genuine nice things about themselves. You could even do this for each member of your family – and have everyone say something nice about each person in turn.

For a bigger group, a tree of thanks may be a better option, or split kids into groups to sit on Santa’s lap – or have a few helpers there to hear the good things instead of Santa having all the kids on his lap.

 

* Photo courtesy of Big Stock Photos
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