Saturday, December 17, 2011

Intentional Acts of Christmas Kindness

I wanted to share with you another fun Christmas idea that imparts to our kids an awareness of others and helps them look for opportunities to help, give, serve, and love.

Shannon shared with me how this year she wanted a more service-minded approach to her family's Advent calendar. Usually Shannon's family's "countdown to Christmas day" consists of an activity of the day. . .something simple like making hot chocolate or something more elaborate like decorating cookies. But this year she wanted activities that were more about others than themselves.

So this year, Shannon's Advent calendar activities were all about sharing small acts of kindness. Shannon numbered envelopes 1 thru 24 and inside each envelope she wrote an "act of kindness activity" that the family does together. . .such as take dinner to a family in need or leave a treat for the mailman.

Shannon shared that she found many of her activities at:

Katherine Maries' blog
Robyn's blog Mix Mingle Glow.
Kristina's blog A Faithful Walk

Shannon also found cute cards you can hand out at the blog tsj photography.

Shannon kept it simple. . .the activities are written on small pieces of paper, tucked in numbered envelopes, and thrown in a " recycled cookie tin that is too rusted to put cookies in" (those are her words, not mine). It is very loosely done, nothing fancy.

And I LOVE that!! Because honestly, I would have gotten too hemmed up scrapbooking and crafting the envelopes and pieces of paper and finding the perfect bowl that I would never have gotten around to actually doing the countdown with my kids. I would have spent all my time making something like this:

from the blog Just a Girl
click here to read last year's post
where I talk about this Advent jar

or this:

from Katherine Marie's blog

Intentional women know what to focus on and know what not to focus on. Intentional women know what to major in. . and know what to minor in. And sometimes I mix those up.

This year, Shannon did not have time to make her countdown list of activities all fancy. Perhaps next year she will upgrade, perhaps not. But either way, Shannon is right on. Her countdown to Christmas does exactly what she wanted. . . helps get her kids' eyes off themselves and onto others (oh that is so hard especially this time of year!!).

Shannon is making Christmas meaningful. And putting the activities in pretty scrapbooked bags, or in a lovely apothecary jar, or in a rusted old cookie tin all accomplish the same goal.

Now Shannon did email and told me that she recommends keeping a secret master list so you know what activity the kids are going to pull out that morning. Nothing like "Take Dinner to a Friend in Need" when you have not done any menu planning. Or "Leave a Treat for Mailman" (thinking you will have your baking done by #15 and you don't) and then having no treats.

All over blogland they are calling this Random Acts of Christmas Kindness (RACK or RAK), but I see nothing random about this at all. It is very intentional. It is a very intentional way to make Christmas mean something more than just presents and sweets and parties.

Tell me how do you help your kids get their eyes off themselves this time of year? Got any ideas to share with us?

1 comment:

  1. Love this idea to get the kids focused on others this season instead of themselves. I went and pinned the idea for next year! I also heard a great way to help the kids remember the true meaning of Christmas the other day. Some parents got their kids everything on their Christmas list one year, they opened all the gifts and were thrilled and then were asked to pick one to keep. The rest they re-wrapped and gave away to a needy family. The kids watched the other kids open their gifts with such great joy and said it was the most memorable Christmas ever. Talk about a Christmas you will never forget. We are so blessed here in this country and I want to make sure our kids know how blessed they are and that it's more of a blessing to give to others. Thanks Su and Shannon for great ideas!


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