A Different Kind of Advent Calendar

In addition to our secular holiday Advent calendar we’re adding something new this year.  I couldn’t pass up this adorable hat and mitten string Advent Calendar at an after-Christmas sale one year, but have never used it.  Then I had an idea.  I decided to fill the hats and mittens with positive character traits, one for each day (think Gratitude, Patience, Courage and more).  I’ve talked about many of these with the kids as we’ve read various books but for some time I have wanted to focus on them more.

We do this in everyday life, too, of course, but ruminating in the back of my mind, I’ve been thinking, “Do we talk about these things enough?”   I’d like to do something more deliberate, more intentional.  I keep thinking about how learning things like self-respect, forgiveness and perseverance will take them far in life, as important as their academic achievements, perhaps more so. We’ve all known people who are highly intelligent, have multiple advanced degrees but who struggle to simply get along with others.  So  “character” has been on my mind of late.

I started by making a list of the values I want my children to have, the things I want us, as a family, to focus on more, even some things my kids in particular may be struggling with.   I think every family’s list will be different.   Here’s ours, in no particular order,  with more than enough to fill the 25 days of the Advent calendar:  Perseverance, Kindness, Determination, Helpfulness, Self-Respect, Respect for Others, Respect for the Environment, Honor, Trustworthiness, Sportsmanship, Gratitude, Courtesy, Creativity and Flexibility, Forgiveness, Cooperation, Acceptance, Honesty, Loyalty to Family, Courage, Patience, Caring, Giving, Peacemaking, Adventurousness, Sense of Humor, Responsibility, Giving, Hospitality/Being a Good Host, Being a Good Friend.

We could easily spend a week or more on each one of these traits and I hope to do just that in the future, but for now, I thought this would be a great way to touch on each trait, define it and look for examples in our own every day life as well as in the characters we read so much about.

I think I will make a list of some of those characters, to make it easier for the kids to connect a trait with someone we’ve read about or seen in a movie or television show:   all of our Five in a Row characters, the Historical figures we’ve learned so much about in our Ancients studies, our read-alouds.

And maybe a list of family and friends, too. I’m really hoping they identify some these traits in  our extended family, and could they, would they, possibly, identify some of these traits in……each other? Well, now, that would make this Momma’s heart full.  Just in time for Christmas.

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10 Responses to A Different Kind of Advent Calendar

  1. What a great idea! I love this. I could easily *borrow* this since our advent calendar has little pockets to hold our advent ornaments:)

  2. Gayle says:

    Love this! Thank you for sharing!

  3. Great idea! BTW, have you looked into We Choose Virtues? It’s what we’re using to teach these things. (I have discount codes if you’re interested). But getting back to YOU…I love the idea of tying each trait into your studies. That’s fabulous! And a great way to reinforce things you’ve covered already this year!

  4. Dawn says:

    I love that idea. How wonderful.

  5. Pingback: December 2011 Family Activities | LivingMontessoriNow.com

  6. What a great idea! 🙂

  7. brit says:

    I love this! I really like the idea of bringing in this past year’ studies (FIAR and SoTW and other readings.

  8. Pingback: 2011 Advent Calendar Activity List | lovenotesmama

  9. Pingback: Preparing for the Season ~ Pinterest and Christmas « simply necessary

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