service advent

After we shared our favorite Christmas countdown advents here, Emily decided to do a 25 Days of Service with her boys. It has been such an awesome experience for them, and really altered the way their Holiday season has looked and felt. So for our last post for under the Ford Fiesta Movement, with the perfect theme of Social Acitvism we thought we’d have Emily share a little bit more about it!

service advent for kids

This 25 Days of Service printable has single-handedly turned my family’s Christmas upside down. For the better, for the best. I had, and still have, so many hesitations sharing details of this special experience: for one, we’re not doing it for the recognition. Secondly, the blessing of serving others everyday, even when it’s small and seemingly insignificant, has changed my heart and feels so private and personal! Lastly, the amazing things that have come out of my boys’ mouths, the way they seek out people and opportunities to help has been so touching, sharing it feels like parental bragging. Let’s be honest, it is!

But, I think it’s important still. It’s so easy to forget the true meaning of the Holidays and to let commercialized things take over and get in the way. If I didn’t have Hayes asking me “What are we going to give away today?” (which I’ve had to curb, and remind him that serving is more than just getting rid of our stuff) each morning at breakfast, I’m sure I’d have already forgotten. But, we’ve stuck to it thanks to him, and we have a couple tips to help those with toddler-age kids as well.

1. Neither of my kids can read yet, and I use that to my advantage. I know the list pretty well at this point so I pick something that suits that day’s agenda. If we’ll be out and about, I have him pick a slip and then I read “Open the door for others at the store.” or “Leave encouraging notes on people’s cars.” If we have a quiet day at home, then I’ll do the crafts and activities like “Pick a toy to donate to a family in need” or “Make a cranberry and popcorn garland for the birds.”

2. I separated the bigger suggestions into two days. So if it’s “Donate old towels to the animal shelter”, on one day we’ll collect all our old towels, then another day we’ll actually bring them to the shelter. Or, we made encouraging cards one night, and delivered them the next. Otherwise it can feel like a big undertaking for one day!

3. Keep your eyes open. You’ll start to notice more and more opportunities to help others, so many that aren’t on “the list” so often times we do something completely different than planned. When I found myself trying to make whatever was on the slip of paper happen, I’m sure I missed opportunities right in front of my face.

We still have a week or so left, so I’m sure this might change, but my favorite moment so far has to be when we donated toys. Since Hayes was small he’s been a toy hoarder. More often then not I’d catch him trying to ride a scooter, or climb a playground with two handfuls of toys in his clutches. Teaching him to share has been a struggle, and still is. So, I wasn’t sure how giving away a toy would go. So needless to say, I was emotional to see him fill two bags full without blinking an eye. A couple days later we brought the toys to a woman who runs the nursery at our church. We walked up her steps, he knocked on the door, without any prompting, handed the bags to her and said “Merry Christmas!” She was so excited and Hayes might have burst with pride. As we walked down the steps back to the car he lept into my arms, wrapped both arms and legs tight around me (just like he did when we were next in line at Radiator Racers in DisneyLand) and whispered in my ear “That was nice.”

The feeling this little advent has brought our family each day has been so rewarding, it’s not hard to see it’s helped us more than anyone!”

Catch more of Emily’s (and several other Instagrammers who have joined in) adventures with the 25 Days of Service under the #DoGoodDecember tag.

This post is inspired by the Ford Fiesta Movement. 


  • Kendra
    December 17, 2013 at 5:34 am

    This is such a wonderful idea and a great way to teach service to our children! “He must become greater, I must become less.” Thanks for sharing!

  • #12daysofservice | Small Fry
    November 11, 2014 at 6:00 am

    […] holiday season, we shared a Service Advent idea where everyday for one month you’d select a small kindness-oriented task to complete […]


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