Friday, November 18, 2011

That was a long break...

Things are moving along nicely here for us. Lots going on, lots of photos I'd love to post, lovely time in life, really.  We are approaching the holidays with a speed I wasn't sure was possible, but here comes Thanksgiving, my favorite holiday, in a few short days.  I love it so much because of it's focus.  Giving thanks.  I love that it's about family, blessings, and delicious food.  At least in our house we focus on those things.  Christmas has turned into one of my least favorite holidays.  The time leading up to it is fine, but that day has gotten so far away from what Christmas originally was and has turned into a giant shopping bonanza, that I just really would rather have another Thanksgiving.  Don't get me wrong, I love how excited the kids get, seeing them on Christmas morning, the joy.  All that is great, but all the stress leading up to it?  No thanks.  This year, I decided to get back to the giving and doing for others.  Now, we try to do this on a fairly regular basis in the form of small kindnesses.  My kids get no bigger thrill than when we pay a toll for the person behind us, or when we take care of someone's breakfast tab and slip out the door before they know it's been taken care of. We always talk about what that person must be thinking when they realize what has happened.  Now I know these aren't grand gestures, nothing life altering for the receiver, but I like to think these small acts are life altering for my children.  They had an event at school where they were asked to bring in food for the less fortunate and to stuff an entire bus full.  My girls all left the house with their bags so full that they staggered under the weight, but all insisted on doing so.  There was no talking them down to a lighter load to carry.  They've asked to do the same thing every day this week.  I love that they have this spirit.  So for the month of December, every day leading up to and including Christmas, we will do an intentional act of kindness.  (I am toying with the idea of doing a 365 project and blogging it, but we'll see) This is not giant stuff, but these are things that will make a difference to someone.  I just think about how it would make my day to have someone in the drive thru line pay for my coffee just so I would have a nice day and I want to give that to others. (My secret fantasy is that I would start by paying for one person and then the next person in line, having gotten their coffee paid for then pays for the next person and so on. I know, I'm such a sap) So here is our list of 25 kindnesses in no particular order except for 25. Some are small, some are bigger, all will make a difference to us and hopefully to someone else. With any of the donation of food or supply donations, kids come to the store and choose what they think will help with some guidelines.

1. Make and deliver cards to a local nursing home (as many as each child wants to make)

2. Cook a meal for a neighbor with a busy schedule

3.Bake Christmas cookies for our neighbors (each child picks a neighbor)

4. put together a few bags with handwarmers, socks, granola bars to hand to people on the street asking for money

5.make a food donation to the soup kitchen

6. Make a food donation to the food bank

7. Make a food/supply donation to the animal shelter

8. Donate socks hats and mittens to the teen shelter

9.adopt a family for Christmas gifts

10. Provide a meal to a family in need

11. Donate clothes and toys to kids in foster care

12. Bake treats and deliver to the fire station

13. Bake treats and deliver to the police station

14.Donate snowpants to the girl's school for kids who dont have them

15. Bring treats to the nurses on the children's unit of our local hospital

16. Pay for the meal of someone eating alone

17. Babysit for friends overnight so they get a break

18.Bring coffee to construction workers who are freezing out there (the kids love to bring popsicles when it's crazy hot)

19. Donate to Heifer International

20. Sponsor a child through Compassion

21. Bring Hot chocolate to the teachers who wait outside for the busses and children arriving to school in the morning

22. Make cards for kids in the hospital

23. Secretly shovel a neighbor's walk

24. Pay for the coffee of someone behind us in line at the drive thru and hope they pass in on

25. Deliver PW's hot cinnamon rolls Christmas morning to our favorite neighbors.

So, that's what we'll be up to in December, but I may start a little early with a few spontaneous additions along the way.