December 1st brought lots of excitement around here! (Hence no post yesterday??? Maybe. :)
Our advent calendar countdown... (We love this one from Kubla Crafts! It's on sale HERE!)
New Christmas jammies.... and perhaps the most anticipated- our Christmas Angel.
Don't worry... those sweet content children only lasted for a second... lol
(can you not just read Burke's thought process from this picture? haha)
The Christmas Angel is much like the Elf... with maybe not so many rules? (You can touch him all you like!)
I believe, Elf on a Shelf came out right before Burke was born and I observed some of my friends at the time just about go bat crazy thinking up new ideas and making sure everything went so-so with the dreaded elf. From my point of view, it reminded me of watching my friends in college who were in a sorority ... they wanted to be in one, but hated it 98% of the time. hahaha So naturally, I was hesitant to start the tradition. When Burke was two... I was about to break, when I ran across an idea that I LOVED so much more!
While at the BJCC Christmas Village, I came across the author and creator of The Christmas Angel. I not only fell in love with her product and its message, but with her. She reminded me of ... me, and every mom and dad I know... all just searching for the BEST and most intentional way to raise our children in a world that is not so focused on Christ, serving others, and spreading the real gift of Christmas. Here is a link that explains The Christmas Angel in more detail, but basically... it's like the elf, except he leaves messages for my kids to GIVE, LOVE, and SERVE!
Now... don't let me fool you... Burke has asked for an elf. More than once. He has asked why he doesn't have an elf, etc... This led me to thinking I was depriving him of some fun! I had contemplated letting Gabriel bring a helper from the North Pole with him on occasion,but would you know... he was elated to see Gabriel when he arrived? And would you know... he hasn't mentioned the elf at all? This is not saying that he won't ask again... but I have heard him already tell people he has an angel (and of course they look at him oddly, haha!) but it leads into the most wonderful conversation! I mean... he's shared his angel stories with random strangers! You know if someone doesn't know Christ, his conversation with them has to plant a seed! Not to mention the wonderful things I have witnessed... at only Day 2 into our Advent countdown.
On day one, Gabriel left clues that finally led to the basement, where a box of winter clothes was waiting to be donated to our local non-profit organization.
And with what joy they did the task!
(What about sister being SO proud of the fact that she can give a thumbs up?! ha!)
Day 2, Gabriel left a packet of smiley face stickers encouraging Burke and Hylan Marie to spread lots of smiles to others today... and even brighten others day even more with one of the stickers!
Which leads to the sweetest little story... we went to Birmingham today to run errands, and of course stopped at Chick-fil-a. Burke held open the door for an older gentleman and his handicapped wife. As the man walked through the door, he emptied the change from his pocket into Burke's little hand. Burke's face was utter surprise. He quickly looked at me and said "Mom, I'm going to give that man a smiley face sticker!" He whipped them out of his back pocket, ran up to him and gave him a big smile and a sticker (his wife too.)
The kind old man, then popped that sticker right in the middle of his forehead! Which Burke also thought was awesome! ha! That sweet man left that sticker the entire time he was in Chick-fil-a!
All this to say... I'm loving our decision to do the Christmas Angel, and I think lots of people's elves do acts of kindness and such... and if you haven't tried that route, give it a whirl... I think you'll find it to be so meaningful! It's already helping us steer the right direction this Christmas! If we do ever bring the elf into the picture, he will have to be totally into the angel's A-game. :)
And it's super low maintenance... the website gives tons of ideas (and
Pinterest, hello!) that are already planned for you... and even staging ideas! (See some of ours here) But I have found it easiest to plan day by day... to look at my calendar for the upcoming day(s) and think of something that we will be doing where we can give, love, or serve. Some of them are the exact ideas from the Christmas Angel website calendar! Others, are some I come up with on my own, where I know opportunities will present themselves in our day. Truth is... I need to do this year around! It's so easy and helps me just as much as it does them!
If you have any questions about The Christmas Angel, let me know! I would be happy to answer them!