06 December 2013

Our Christmas Advent: Santa Mail

Every Christmas, I've tried to do something a little fun and different with the kids. And now that they are getting a little bit older, I wanted to inspire some of that real holiday magic in them. 

My first thought was an advent calendar of sorts; advent activity, really. I've always loved the idea of the book advent -- but didn't get around to finding enough Christmas stories {without spending a ton of money} until it was too late. The other thing that's really big right now is Elf on a Shelf. 

Can I be honest with you? I'm not the biggest fan. 

Sure, I love to see the pictures of what other people did, and how cute some of the scenes can be. But the minute something goes mega-viral, I tend to tune out. Regardless of what it is. And that's kind of the way I got with the Elf last Christmas. That ... and the fact that I would have to do something fun and new and different every day? I could just picture myself getting through the first few days, getting burnt out, and then forgetting, and totally ruining the experience for my kids. 

I didn't want that to happen. 

So I got to thinking: I had bought two mini mailboxes on clearance last year, just because I thought they were cute. What better way to instill some magic in a kid than to have Santa write them letters every day and leave them magically in their little mailboxes? 

Santa Mail was born! 

Each day, Santa has been writing a short note to each of the kids -- talking mostly about their behavior the previous day. If they were good, talking about HOW they were good, and how much that good behavior is/was appreciated. If it had been a bad day, talk about one behavior/moment in particular, and instead of rubbing it in and saying "Just do better!" -- an idea from Santa on how to make it better, and what he would like to see. 

And each day, when they open their mailboxes, they've also been finding a little treat to go with the note. Just a little something to get them excited -- since neither of them can read, and we have to read the notes to them, they love it, but it doesn't excite them AS MUCH as seeing that he thought of them and left a little trinket or sweet something. 

We're on our sixth day, and so far, it's going great! S loves checking her mailbox, and has insisted on sending something to Santa in the mailbox almost every time he's left something for her. She colors him pictures, scribbles him little notes. Its sweet! And her enthusiasm has rubbed off on L -- he gets so excited about "SANTTAAAAA!" when he sees S got a treat and maybe, just maybe he's gotten one, too. In fact, he could care less most of the time about what the treat is. He just clutches his Santa letters in his hand and holds on to them for dear life! 

On the first day, they got new ornaments to hang on the tree. 

They got a fun craft project {that wound up being a lot more of a mom-time-suck and less kid friendly} to build and enjoy. 

They've gotten a few Hershey's Kisses, each got a new Christmas/winter themed book, and yesterday, they each got a sheet of new Christmas-y stickers! Its rarely something "big" since the mailboxes are quite small. But they've been loving the little things -- and I love watching their faces, and seeing that something so small -- a new sheet of stickers -- can make them so happy! 

I cant wait to see their eyes light up over the next few weeks as they discover new little treats and treasures from that magical big guy! 

Do you advent? What fun ways have you found to enjoy the whole month? 


  1. This is adorable!! We've been sucking with the elf. She sits in the same place for days at a time, and I haven't really been able to do any of those fun cute things with her..

  2. I LOVE this idea! I'm not into the Elf on the Shelf... so much work and to come up with the outrageous, creative ideas? Not my cup of tea.
    I love the book advent but I don't want to go out and buy 25 Christmas books, too spendy! I plan on getting a couple new books each year.
    But this idea is SO cute and not too complicated for my non-creative mind, ha ha! So cute!

  3. I absolutely love this!!!! :) Such a cute idea.

  4. To be honest, that dang Elf on a Shelf thing is creepy!! I refuse to do it...lol. I love your idea way better!

  5. This is such a wonderful idea! I love it. The best part is that this is something they'll remember and will probably do with their own children. I have to admit that I like the Elf on the Shelf, but I don't like the "naughty" things he does. I'd like to introduce it, but I want it to be about positive things.