Before I forget, I want to recap how we spent part of our December. I wanted to stress to the kids (especially the big ones) the spirit of giving this year. At the beginning of December, we brainstormed some ways that we could do Random Acts of Christmas Kindness around town. We made a list of 25 things, and although we didn’t keep to our initial plan of doing one a day, we did make it through quite a few. Some were more labor-intensive than others, but all were relatively inexpensive or even free. Here’s a list of what we did, along with some photos, although I didn’t take photos of most things and some are from my iPhone, so not my typical photo quality.
- Made Christmas Cards for people at a retirement home.
- Cleaned off our bookshelves and donated the extra books to the Children’s Home Society.
- Gave one of the books to our mailman (a joke book, since he likes to tell the kids jokes when he sees them).
- Made cookies for our neighbors.
- Hid dollars at the Dollar Tree for others to find and use.
- Read Christmas books at the kids’ old preschool.
- Put quarters in the gumball machines at the mall.
- Volunteered at Children’s Home Society to help sort donations to go to families. (Sam and Eleanor did this one on their own.)
- Gave hot chocolate packets to the library workers (delivered through the book drop).
- Put candy canes on the windshields of the cars at Target one afternoon.
- Paid for someone in line behind us at the drive thru.
- Asked a cashier what her favorite candy was and then bought it for her.
Because I got sick for about a week while Andrew was out of town, we kind of took a break mid-month. I didn’t want this to become something that was a chore. But the kids really enjoyed it. They had a great time coming up with ideas, and once we got started they added other things to the list. They even did a few nice things for each other. (Honest. I was shocked.)
Overall, I’d say that it was a success. If nothing else, we had a little fun and spent some time doing something together as a family. It was interesting to me to see how differently the kids approached things. Sam wanted to be super-stealth and make sure no one knew it was us. For example, he wanted to put the joke book in a different family’s mailbox, because if we used our own, he would know it was from us. Eleanor just wanted to do projects that were oriented around money (the Dollar Tree and the gum ball machines were her favorites). It made me realize how much that child would like to find money somewhere. Although it didn’t go exactly as planned, they got the point of enjoying generosity and started to think about doing nice things for others. Now that the holidays are over, I’m looking forward to finding some other ways to keep them thinking about helping others, but we will definitely do this again next year.