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Creating positive messages for Christmas

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

Finding Christmas values

Last week we raised the question of what does Christmas mean to you and the idea that we each have values associated with Christmas.

Model mobile phone showing Christmas message of goodwill to all

A Christmas display from Maldon (July 2015) featuring a message of goodwill to all

Those values are what can make us have a miserable Christmas if they are not met – many of us feel that Christmas is a terrible time to be alone because we value family and relationships at Christmas time and others couldn’t imagine Christmas without going to Church on Christmas Eve/Day.

Like any other values, we develop our values around Christmas from our own experiences so our values can be different even from the people we love most – couples often have different traditions and expectations about Christmas.

And like many other values, we often don’t consciously think about what our Christmas values are.

So here are some ideas for finding your own Christmas values and ideals:

  1. sit somewhere quietly, close your eyes and dream of a perfect Christmas. Then note down the important features of that day
  2. spend some time looking at old photos and remembering the great bits of Christmas past
  3. deliberately spend some time with those old photos and memories thinking about the not-so-great Christmases (or parts of Christmas) – what are the common features of those less-happy memories?
  4. think about your usual values and how they fit with different aspects of Christmas. For example, if you are a minimalist or charitable person, maybe the excess of food and gift giving makes you uncomfortable or as a non-religious person you don’t like going to Church for Christmas with your family.
  5. over the last few Christmases, what worried or stressed you the most? What things made you feel better and calm?
  6. answer this question thoughtfully – if you could only do four things to celebrate Christmas this year, what would they be?
Write down your answers, look for common ideas and you will start to see what is truly important to you. Some things will be very specific (e.g. having a glass of fresh orange juice in front of the tree before opening presents) and others more general (e.g. sharing the gift buying with a partner or children).
Writing down a list of values and ideals will help you remember them and be able to share them.

How will you ensure Christmas meets your value and needs this year?

Writing to Santa – help is at hand!

One of the pleasures for many children in the lead up to Christmas is writing a letter to Santa. There is something very special about actually writing your own letter and of course there is the hope of getting what you asked for!

Yet many people struggle with writing letters (how do I start, what can I say, etc) so we’ve added a template to our site to make it easier.

child using a Love Santa letter template

Free to use, our Dear Santa template can be printed off and used to write a well structured letter to Santa, or just use the text and write out your own letter altogether.

By using this template, children can write to Santa and include more than a list of gifts they want – it teaches them to show interest in others and end a letter gracefully. The template (like Love Santa letters) also encourages children to recognise their achievements and be proud of them.

So, please feel free to use this template and send Santa some beautiful letters this Christmas!

The Love Santa letter template helps your child send Santa a beautiful letter for Christmas!Click To Tweet

Writing to Santa

Santa loves getting letters from children around the world, and they come in all sorts of shapes, sizes and colours – some even come with pictures. Santa is very generous and clever enough to read all sorts of writing and languages, but I thought some tips might make it easier to write as well as easier for Santa to read.

two children writing letters to Santa while wearing Santa hats

Dressing for Christmas makes letter writing even more fun!

Letter writing tips

When writing to Santa

  • remember to start with Santa’s name – maybe Dear Santa or Hello Santa
  • ask for things nicely – even Santa gives more when people use please and thank you
  • finish with your name – Santa has too many children on his lists to know who wrote it without your name on it!
  • let Santa know you’ll leave him a snack
  • ask Mum or Dad to make a copy of your letter as you might like to read it again when you’re grown up or someone might make a beautiful scrapbooking page with your letter and Santa’s answer
  • use your best writing and maybe get mum or dad to draw some lines for you to write on
  • have fun! You can write in red or green, or use lots of colours – it’s Christmas after all!
  • think about writing something that isn’t about presents you want – maybe ask Santa how he is, tell him about your Christmas plans, thank him for last year’s gifts, ask what his favourite colour or book is, or tell him a joke (Santa does love to laugh!)

If you have a little brother or sister, maybe you could write a letter for them, too.

And on behalf of Santa, thank you for writing to him!

 

PS  We have a free template you can use to help write a Santa letter 🙂

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