Growing up our family always did something special for Advent and I started this particular “Christmas Wishes” tradition a few years ago when I heard about it from a friend. She would collect things throughout the year and give them to her children (now adults with families of their own) starting December 1st and ending Christmas Eve. Her “rules” were that the item had to fit inside a business size envelope and cost less than $1. She collected free pencils, pens, emery boards, samples, shiny coins, balloons, etc.
My rule is that the item has to fit inside a standard brown lunch bag. Sometimes the item is a freebie and sometimes I buy them. This year I printed the date (1-24) and person’s name on a round sticker to secure the top of the bag with the treat inside.
I didn’t get the Wishes bags ready when my son and his family were here last week for an early Thanksgiving dinner so I mailed the box of goodies to them and my daughter’s family.
Some of the Wishes are edible: packs of cookies, tea bags, puddings, applesauce, popcorn, a piece of candy, a bottle of Frank’s Hot Sauce. Some are usable: postage stamps, lint rollers, shoe polish, note pads, candles, hand lotion, Christmas ornaments, picture frames. I don’t think it matters what it is as long as it’s a surprise.
It takes a lot of time to get it all together and I have to think about what each person likes or dislikes throughout the year. When I see something, I pick it up. It’s hard coming up with 24 different things times five people so I have to resort to crisp $1 bills to fill in some days.
The year my daughter and her husband bought their house, I gave one of them a bottle of wine and the other a $20 bill on the day they closed their loan to help them celebrate.
Of course I forgot to include some things I forgot about until the box was sent. Oh well, those things will be stocking stuffers.
Do you do anything special for Advent?