Joanna Anastasia

happy kids

Easy DIY advent calendar

This easy DIY advent calendar is a great way of adding some festive cheer to your everyday! Come grab a free printable to make your own easy advent calendar

I always wanted to make my own advent calendar. I loved the idea of counting down to Christmas with kids, of building up the excitement and adding a bit of magic do dark and cold winter mornings. But I couldn’t imagine myself sewing up 24 little bags or buying a ton of small and useless toys. I needed an easy DIY advent calendar idea. So when I figured out how to make this easy advent calendar, I new I needed to share it with you!

Because I really think that counting down to Christmas, one day at a time, is one of the best joys of childhood, and one of the pleasures of motherhood. And looking at my kids exited faces in the morning is what I love the most during the holiday season!

And now, it’s not surprising that getting the advent calendar out off the living room coffee table, is one of our very favorite family traditions! Every day of December, in the early morning, my two daughters will be getting up all exited and will wake me up, begging to finally go downstairs and see the advent calendar. Some days they’ll find candy (just don’t tell them it’s their Halloween leftover candy!) and some days they’ll find stickers, temporary tattoos, or tiny little figurines.

Honestly I don’t think it really matters what they find , as the magic lays in anticipation and surprise! And so, thanks to the advent calendar, the excitement for Xmas builds up gradually. And their huge smiles brighten my dark December mornings, as we go downstairs to count the days left until Xmas!

So this year I made this printable that you too can use to make your own easy DIY advent calendar!

easy DIY advent calendar , and a free printable

You can find the full detailed tutorial as well as the printable to download at home, in our Hello Holiday Guide, here!

And I think that for kids the magic of Christmas lays in the little things, in time they spend with family and in the excitement and preparation! So don’t worry if you don’t have time to do all the Christmas activities from Pinterest, and bake all the cookies and prepare Elf on the shelf, because sometimes what kids will remember the most are the little family rituals like this one. Happy holidays!

<em>Photos in this post where captured by <a href=”http://www.donnagriffith.com/&#8221; target=”_blank” rel=”nofollow”>Donna Griffith</a>.</em>

How to raise grateful kids

How to rase grateful kids: great simple tips!

With Christmas around he corner I ask myself if my children will appreciate their gifts or will they ask for more and more, and cry because Santa brought the wrong doll? I’m always scared of spoiling my children, because I belive that being spoiled, ungrateful and unappreciative actually makes kids unhappy, unsatisfied and unsensitive.

I know, that probably thy will ask for more sweets, they are kids after all! But I really hope that I managed to install the sense of gratitude in my daughters (or at least in my older one).

Here are my tips for tuning it down a little. I’m not saying everyone needs those, but if you feel that it’s just too much gifts, and if you see that your kids start to be unappreciative, here’s what I do:

1. Clean the playroom, and fill a donation box before Christmas/birthday.
I try to put in the box not only broken, or cheap toys, but really everything that they don’t play with. ( the same goes for my closet, because you know, modelling good behaviour is always best)

2. One-gift-per-kid-from-parents rule.
Because I know my kids will get gifts from family members, I got them one educative gift each, that’s it.

3. Hide some gifts and give them later.
If your child got too many gifts at once (and is young enough not to notice) just hide some and give them within next couple of months for good behaviour, after doctors visit, or while you’re sick and tired and in need of a break!

4. Give your kids activity gifts.
Instead of toys, you could get them zoo passes, movie tickets, or museum passes! A day of fun is just as good as a toy, if not better!

5. Encourage your kids to make or buy gifts for closest family members.
I guess that we all want to show to our kids the joy of giving, so helping them preparing something is really the best we can do! They can help you prepare the cookie in a jar mix, they can make cookies with you or prepare clay ornaments. Or, if you don’t have time to make DIY gift with them, you can simply ask them to draw a Christmas card for each member of the family!

6. Help your children name what they are grateful for!
The best way to help your kids feel happy and appreciative, is to help them name what are their grateful for/ what makes them happy/ what are their blessings . It’s a great way to finish a day, while cuddling in bed, and naming what we are grateful for (for mommy as well: the felling of gratitude decreases stress, so let’s make it a habit, for our kids and ourselves as too!)

And what are your tips for raising grateful kids?