About 6 years ago, I started something in our home called the “Advent Angel.” Each night during December (Dec. 1-24), the Advent Angel comes and leaves a little note in our wooden Advent Calendar. The note will say something like, “Go to the microwave” or “Go to where daddy reads his Bible” or something like that. Then, once they get there, there will be something for them. It will either be something little– a dollar, a piece of chocolate, etc., or it might be a note telling them what they get to do that day: go out for ice cream, skip their chores, go to bed an hour late, watch a movie at home as a family, etc. Sometimes it will be something we are doing for others: take See’s candy and homemade cards to the local fire station or police station, make cookies for the neighbors, etc.
But by far, our favorite activity is this:
Every year we give out the “Landon Award” to a home in our town that the kids vote is decorated the best. We drive around, looking at all the cool decorations in our town. Then the kids vote on who did it best. Once we’ve all agreed on a house, we knock on their door. When they open it, we all yell, “Surprise! You’ve won the Landon Award for Christmas lights!” Then we tell them about how each year the kids pick just ONE house as a winner, and that this year, THEY are the winner! It’s so much fun.
Usually, we just make a little sign like this, and give a box of chocolates with it (we used to do home-baked goods, but then I realized it would be weird eating something homemade from strangers):
Mostly what I love about the Advent Angel is that the kids get so flippin’ excited about it. Our oldest is 10, and he is just as excited as our youngest, who is 5. I try to do about 1/3 little treats, 1/3 fun activities, and 1/3 service things for other people. That way it’s not all about them.
And finally, on the 25th (Christmas), the kids each leave a little something as a token of thanks for the Advent Angel (a thank-you note is usually what they do).
It is still a mystery just who the Advent Angel is. Some say it’s me…some say it’s someone else (who knows? Maybe it’s Daddy on the Shelf!) But it’s a fun tradition that I love doing with our kids, and they look forward to it every year!
What is your favorite holiday tradition?