The Mama Bears Kindness Advent Calendar DIY Holiday CraftPinThisThe Mama Bears Kindness Advent Calendar DIY Holiday CraftPinThisThe Mama Bears Kindness Advent Calendar DIY Holiday CraftPinThisThe Mama Bears Kindness Advent Calendar DIY Holiday CraftPinThisThe Mama Bears Kindness Advent Calendar DIY Holiday CraftPinThisThe Mama Bears Kindness Advent Calendar DIY Holiday CraftPinThisThe Mama Bears Kindness Advent Calendar DIY Holiday CraftPinThisThe Mama Bears Kindness Advent Calendar DIY Holiday CraftPinThisThe Mama Bears Kindness Advent Calendar DIY Holiday CraftPinThisThe Mama Bears Kindness Advent Calendar DIY Holiday CraftPinThis
I am completely convinced that the urge to gift things to children is rooted in evolutionary biology. Like a knee-jerk reaction or the urge to sneeze, we are powerless when it comes to turning over lovingly bought and wrapped gifts to children. One could feasibly make a strong argument here in favor of conditioning, sure. Like Pavlov’s well-trained dogs, you might say that we’ve taught ourselves to melt at the sound of little squeals of delight or at the sight of miniature ear-to-ear grins, but I beg to differ. I’m with Darwin all the way on this one.

Only… it makes it that much harder to say no.

I know, I know. How could I, right? How could I fly in the face of thousands of years of evolutionary progress and hold back a present that could instantly illicit the biologically correct reaction my heart is so hard-wired to desire? Well, it’s easy. It’s that I truly believe that the lesson the kids in this equation get from all this irrepressible gifting is indeed tantamount to conditioning.

Kids need to learn to, well, need. To want and to hope. They need practice in actually striving for something, working towards or behaving in a way that will earn them said item, experience, or even emotion. That’s right, sometimes the only thing they should be getting is a plain old feeling of pride. Or a nice big helping of satisfaction, possibly with a side of inspiration to boot! If we succumb to our inherent need to easily see smiling faces all around us each and every time we are effectively robbing kiddos of this opportunity.

Sometimes a little humility is all they need, and never is this need more apparent than in the midst of the current season- the epitome of flagrant gifting- the holidays. So this year I’m implementing a new element to our December traditions. Following the lovely lead of Colleen over at Inspired to Share, this year I’m adding a Kindness Advent Calendar to our lineup of December fun!

Nothing over the top here. Just some simple over-the-door swag (as our local nursery so aptly calls it), some twine, and little kindness cards each brimming with something other than material booty. Return a shopping cart here, writing a heartfelt letter there, helping someone with an errand. I’ve basically added¬†ten easy, age-appropriate acts of generosity to my littles’ happy season. Ten opportunities to be kind. To show empathy.

To grow.

There are plenty of ways to recreate Colleen’s beautiful tradition. You can go for a little door swag yourself at your local nursery. The bough needs nothing more than a little spritz of water from time to time, or you could do something more straightforward with neat miniature envelopes like Colleen herself did. However you choose to do it, the point is to provide a fun new way to drive an important lesson home during a time of the year when so much else is turning their attention elsewhere. Have fun with this, friends and share with us your own take on this little DIY. We can’t wait to see what wonderful ideas you come up with!

  • I loooove the idea of a Kindness Advent Calendar! So awesome! I will definitely do this when my LO is old enough to comprehend.ReplyCancel

    • The Mama Bears

      Thanks babe!! So easy to make too! SOOOOO many fun things to look forward to with your little one, how exciting!!!!!ReplyCancel

  • This is a wonderful idea for an advent calendar. It helps remind/teach us that Christmas is about giving, not what we can get.ReplyCancel

    • The Mama Bears

      Absolutely true! Especially at such a young age, it’s so easy for them to think the real meaning is all about them them them. Glad you like the calendar <3ReplyCancel

  • I absolutely love everything about this! It’s such a nice idea, plus it’s so pretty. Love it!ReplyCancel

    • The Mama Bears

      Aww thanks sweet pea!! We totally agree, plus it takes a bit of the pressure off of having to think of the next coolest thing for that darn elf to do around the house! HAHA!ReplyCancel

  • I absolutely love this!! What a great idea. Your photos are gorgeous too. ūüôāReplyCancel

    • The Mama Bears

      We are so happy that you love it!! It was so simple to make, we had a great time doing it! Thanks so much for your kind words!! ‚̧ԳŹReplyCancel

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The Mama Bears NYC MacyPinThisThe Mama Bears NYC MacyPinThisThe Mama Bears NYC MacyPinThisThe Mama Bears NYC MacyPinThisThe Mama Bears NYC MacyPinThisThe Mama Bears NYC MacyPinThisThe Mama Bears NYC MacyPinThis

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Bucket lists. One of those paradoxical things in life that, as well-meaning as they might initially seem, actually just end up making you feel worse. You follow me? I mean think about it. Here you have this compendium of awesome places to go, things to do, and ideas to pursue that you’ve lovingly and painstakingly filed away for that day in the future when all of this awesomeness will be realized only to watch them remain right on that very same list year after year after year. It’s kind of…deflating, no? Seeing them there tempting you? Teasing you? Tormenting you with the very same appeal that long ago once garnered them a spot on said list in the first place. Case in point for my family? The Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.

Since we first moved back to New York, babies in tow, ready to give our newly minted offspring the full New York immersion experience complete with visits to mommy and daddy’s old stomping grounds, cheering on the correct baseball team (the Mets, duh!), summers on the beach, and days roaming the city, this one tradition in particular just always managed¬†to evade us. One year it was exceptionally frigid weather that kept us huddled together at home. Another time it was a sick baby or two that did us in. Then yet another¬†it was our turn to host and thereby also our turn to while the morning¬†away cooking and prepping in the kitchen, the parade carrying on¬†quietly on the television. Whatever it was, there was just always something.

Until there wasn’t.

Until the day earlier this fall when we decided that come flu, or snow, or frostbite, the last Thursday in November would find us somewhere along Sixth¬†Avenue finally staring up at those damn balloons. And you know what? That was all it took. What’s more, we¬†decided to go all in. As in, going in the night before to take in the balloon inflation festivities and spend the night, all in. We started at Bryant Park’s annual Winter Village on Wednesday afternoon where we grabbed some delicious snacks to tide us over (empanadas filled right in front of us? Yes, please!), some hot chocolates¬†and then mosied around checking out the shops and watching the skaters out braving the ice. Afterwards we headed uptown to the Museum of Natural History around which Macy’s inflates its balloons. Every year, the enormous city block between 77th and 81st streets becomes the site of all the preparation that goes into the grand showcase of the following day’s¬†festivities. Keep in mind that although the line looks foreboding at first glance, it actually moves rather quickly. Before you know it you’ll be one of the many families in town walking alongside the immense balloons, the floodlights lighting the way and the festive holiday music filling the air. Don’t forget to bring a cup of cocoa or coffee to sip as you enjoy your stroll!

Afterwards we ended the night at one of our local foodie favorites in the city, Pio Pio. We’ve written about this stellar Peruvian standby before and continue to stand by it as a place where the food is exceptional and the pitchers of sangria are second to none! This time we were at the restaurant’s Hell’s Kitchen location, just blocks from our hotel for the night. The Tryp Hotel by Wyndham was one of the best surprises we’ve ever experienced in New York City as far as hotels are concerned. The hotel was immaculately¬†clean and bright, updated and comfortable. The room was dividable with pull down bunk beds and a pull out sofa bed giving the kiddos a place to sleep soundly away from the sound of adults laughing and talking well into the night! It also featured two full bathrooms which made the next morning’s showering and preparation process a breeze. The absolute¬†BEST part, however, was the large walk-out terrace with a beautiful city view that we had the pleasure of enjoying! Trust us when we say that we will definitely be back!

The next morning we left early to find ourselves a spot on the parade route, grabbing breakfast along the way and situated ourselves right on 47th Street and 6th Avenue, where the open plaza of the HSBC Bank building provided open views down the full block in front of us. The kiddos found spots right up against the barricade when they weren’t in our arms and together we finally got to realize an experience¬†that had sat for far too long on that bucket list. Gleefully they pointed out each balloon they had just seen the night before, they stared in awe at the performers and marching bands that walked past us, and remained shocked speechless when Santa waved to the crowds from his float at the very end. It was truly a wonderful experience through and through. Are there a million different ways to take in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade? Yes, of course! This is simply the way we chose to do it…this time. Perhaps next time around we’ll try something different, change things up a bit. But for now, we’re simply stoked that we’ve finally done it. We’ve added this absolutely¬†incredible and unforgettable experience to our store of wonderful memories in life.

Happy holidays, friends!

 

  • Mammanator

    Thank you for allowing me to live your experience through my eyes from sunny Florida. I love reading your posts. The pictures were amazing and loved seeing the family. Continue living your Bucket List and I will continue to enjoy every moment of it. Love you all!ReplyCancel

    • The Mama Bears

      Titiiiiii!!! We love you!!!!! Thank you so much for being our biggest fan! We love you from the bottom of our hearts XOXOReplyCancel