When I was growing up, my family had many great traditions.  
There was one in particular that was my favorite.  

Each year, the first Sunday of Advent, my mom would set out a little crib and a bucket of straw.
Everyone's name would go into a bowl and each Sunday at breakfast, 
we would take turns drawing a name.
You were a "secret angel" that week for the person whose name you drew.
The object of the game was to do secret good deeds for that person all week long.
Each time you do did a good deed, you placed a piece of straw into the crib.
The goal was to have the crib full of straw by Christmas morning.
The next Sunday at breakfast, we would go around the table 
and try to guess who we thought had our name that week. 
As a child, I remember this being the highlight of the holiday for me.
I always knew I would continue this tradition with my kids, 
but I wanted to wait until they were old enough to understand and fully participate.  
The time has finally come.

We have been talking about it for several weeks now and since we had company this past Sunday, 
I thought December 1st would be a nice starting date. 

The kids were greeted with this when they came home from school today. 
We will draw names tomorrow night at dinner.

A basket of straw (actually it's a paper bag cut into strips) 
and a card with each family member's name on it. 
The cards were free printables from here. 

My five year old was a bit confused by the whole idea and he has been asking me 
for examples of good deeds.  So I thought I would put a list together of some suggestions. 
The idea is to be sneaky and creative, but I wanted to give them a starting point.

Hopefully by Christmas morning, our crib (a wooden box) will look like this. 
We will lay baby Jesus (AKA my daughter's baby doll) in the crib when we wake up that morning.

I hope my kids enjoy this tradition as much as I did growing up. 

How about you, what are you favorite family holiday traditions? 


  1. Oh this is such a great tradition! How special to continue on with your own kids!

  2. I have never heard of this tradition! LOVE it. How sweet! It's a great way to teach kids the spirit of Christmas.

  3. Oh I love this! We need to start some traditions like this - lovely :)

  4. It sounds like you have an amazing mother...... what a blessing! I love this idea and plan to promptly steal it! :) Thanks for sharing!

  5. That is the coolest tradition ever! I dont have kits but definitely want to do this when I do.

  6. This is such a sweet idea. I just love family traditions being passed from one generation to the next.

  7. Hey Sis, it was always my favorite tradition too (closely followed by making Christmas cookies with you and Mom)! We drew names last night, though only Lola, Trevor and I are participating this year since Mia and Hudson are still too young. We made our manger from construction paper, which now seems pretty pitiful after seeing your set-up. I shall go shopping tonight for a wooden one and some real straw!

  8. I love this! We are doing an Advent Jar again this year, and each morning, one of the kids pulls a card with a special thing for the day. Today was the "Chrismtas Challenge" of doing a random act of kindness for someone, and reporting back tonight. I'm hoping they come up with some good things!

  9. That is so sweet!!!!!!
    I just started a new tradition this year after losing one of my best friends to Cancer a few months ago - it is called Christmas CAREoling where you surprise friends, family, or strangers with acts of kindness and leave them a CAREoling card (free download). I think you might like to do it with your family too :) You can get more info on our Christmas CAREoling page on FB or www.ChristmasCAREoling.Blogspot.com


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