Teaching JOY this holiday season

I loved doing our thanksgiving tree so much.  I loved seeing my kids hearts and having that as an avenue that opened the door to some amazing conversations.  I had the hardest time taking down our tree because I didn’t want to miss having an intentional “deep” talk with my kids everyday. To keep the conversation going I decided on “teaching joy” this holiday season!

Some of my favorite things Reagan said she was thankful for.
Some of my favorite things J said he was thankful for.
Some of my favorite things Caleb said he was thankful for.

We hear “joy” in so many Christmas songs, yet it is a word that might not be totally understood for kids.  I want to impress on my kids the deeper reasons for Christmas and not just go through this season talking about what they hope they get under the tree.  I want them to see joy, feel joy, and give joy.  This is what I came up with as a daily activity to make sure we are talking about joy.

I started with a simple felt envelope “mail station.”  There are three envelopes/slots.  One for each of my kids.  I created this by simply folding felt and sewing some straight lines up the side.  I cut out and embroidered the letters on to the felt with other festive fabric. You can modify my design to create something that works you.

I introduced the activity by talking about joy.  I asked my kids if they knew what it meant.  I tried to relate “happiness” as a term they already knew and understood.  We started our advent calendar and talked about joy related to Jesus’ birth.

I then gave them each a card with joy written on it and asked them if they could find that word written anywhere else in the house.  It was a simple scavenger hunt that resulted in finding our “mail station”.  They loved it.

Every day we are going to talk about joy, answer a question, and put it in our mail station.  I have lots of ideas for what the question can be and how to learn about joy.  I will give some more of those details at the end of this post.

On our first day they had to answer the question “What is a way I feel joy?”  They glued their joy card to their answer and stuck it in the mail station.

I love how Caleb said the Christmas tree makes him feel joy and J said his family.  My boys are so sweet.

On the second day, I had them use stickers to write the word joy and then they had to answer the question “What is one way you can give joy?”

I love how Caleb said helping his siblings and J said telling his daddy that he loves them.  I don’t think I would have these conversations documented and dated, if I was not doing this activity.

Today, we answered the question “How have you seen joy?”

I had my kindergartener practice his penmanship by writing his answer today.  He also practiced his spelling by having to write joy on his own.

I also modified the task for my preschooler by having him color in the word joy.

Their answers continue to melt me and move my heart!  J had a huge smile on his face when he told me his answer…

Caleb surprised me, and his answer was encouraging yet humbling…

He is talking about just minutes before as we were making breakfast.  The things they pick up and see without having to be told!?

I plan to have them come up with ideas to go serve (literally take joy to someone), have them draw a name and have to surprise that person with some joy, pick out toys to take joy to kids who might not have a joyful christmas otherwise, etc.  As we talk about joy I plan on them writing it, finding it in magazines, find a book that shows it, etc.

Will you join me in doing this activity this holiday season? I believe it is something that is engaging for the whole family as we prepare our minds and hearts for this special time of the year. I’d love to hear if you do something like this as part of your family traditions!

A quick reminder:  Click over to my DIY Leather Bracelet post from yesterday to leave me a comment and be entered to win this sweet bracelet.  Winner announced Friday 12/7/12.

Thank you so much for stopping by!!  I am so thankful for each and every one of you!





Linked up at:  Cottage Magpie, Setting for Four, Red Head Can Decorate, Hi Sugarplum, Craft Alcoholics Anonymous, Centsational Girl, Miss Information, Teaching Joy, MOB Society


    • ericadeuel says

      Thank you Kendra! It warmed my heart but also pierced it…so convicting on how they pick up on EVERYTHING!!!

  1. says

    I love this – great idea and something I will look to do with my boys this season. Thank you! I’m glad I found your blog through the MOB society link up!

    • ericadeuel says

      No way!!! Thank you soo much!! I am honored and so thankful I could help you experience some joy! Thank you so much for letting me know!! Merry Christmas!


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