Ask Erika: Create a Holiday Kindness Calendar!


Dear Erika,

It’s easy to get caught up in the consumerism of the holidays. I want to use the holidays as a time to teach my children that it’s not all about toys and presents. Any ideas?
Charlotte, Gainesville, FL

Dear Charlotte,

The holidays are a time for our family to be mindful of our inner compassion. Food and treats are an integral party of holiday traditions. For our family, keeping animals off our plates is the ultimate way we show compassion to farm animals. Of course, there are other ways to show compassion during the holidays. Teaching children to be compassionate to other people will help them connect more to their world and to animals. 

We have a cherished Advent Calendar in our house. For our young children who still believe in Santa, our Advent Calendar, otherwise known as our “Kindness Calendar,” is a way to praise our kids for showing compassion throughout the month of December and leading up to Christmas. Each day, our kids do something nice and Santa leaves a note in the Kindness Calendar praising them for their kindness. For example, if my four-year-old sees another child get hurt, they might go and check in on the other child and give them a hug. Or, they could ask a child who is alone to come join them in their game. Little, simple acts of kindness lead to greater acts of kindness. Sometimes I will plan an activity for my kids, too. I might schedule a time to tour our local sanctuary and feed the pigs. We will make a warm shelter for stray cats. My son had his own idea of taping paper toilet rolls together to make a mouse maze for the local rodent shelter. Anything that promotes kindness (heck, even if it means they don’t hit their sister for one single day), I’m all for it!

While keeping animals off our plates is surely a win for the animals, your health, and the environment this season, there are many ways of showing kindness during the holidays. Check out this sample Kindness Calendar that you can adapt for your own family!  

Happy Holidays,


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Disclaimer: Erika Krebs is not a nutritionist, registered dietitian, nor medical doctor. The information on is based on each columnist’s own training, research through reading and talking with other like-minded individuals, and personal experiences eating plant-based, vegan, and raw foods. The material appearing on is provided for informational purposes only. It should not be used as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Any or all changes to your diet and lifestyle should always first be discussed with your professional healthcare providers. assumes no responsibility or liability for any consequences resulting directly or indirectly from any action or inaction you take based on the information found on or material linked to on this website.

Posted in Advice Columns, Ask Erika, Christmas

Erika is a best-selling cookbook author, food writer, lifestyle columnist, and a mom of three. She is the author of “Fresh Start: Farm to Table Plant Based Baby Recipes.” Erika is working on a new cookbook that focuses on fun, healthy, plant-based, toddler meals. Find out more about her work at Send Erika your questions at