When I gave birth to my first baby, I quickly realized that parenting a real child was going to be much harder than parenting the hypothetical children I had already raised perfectly in my head. (You know you said it pre-children, too… “When I have children they’ll never [fill in your own blank here]…”) I realized I was completely clueless as parent. How do you take a sweet little baby and raise it to be a loving, kind-hearted adult? I began looking around and asking every parent I came across who had successfully raised children to adulthood, “How did you do that? How did you raise your children to be compassionate adults and contributing members of society?”
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Everyone had their own version of it, but ultimately, the best advice boiled down to this: Teach your children to think about others. Teach them that he world is not all about themselves.
Good advice. But how do you do this during the holiday season? How do you do this when your children are being asked to make lists of things they want and are immersed in a culture that encourages the “Gimme-gimme’s”?
You plan and you create opportunities to teach your children that life is about giving and not about getting.
Random Acts of Kindness – Holiday Challenge!
One of my favorite holiday traditions is the Random Acts of Kindness Holiday challenge. There are two ways to do participate. You can either:
- go through the list below and pick 24 items, and then do one Random Act of Kindness each day between Dec 1-24 OR
- do as many Random Acts of Kindness as you can between now and New Year’s Eve. Maybe you can manage one a week… or maybe one a day for several days and then you skip a few days. There are no rules! This is a great choice for families who don’t find it sustainable to do one each day and it’s a great way to lead up to a lifestyle that incorporates more giving.
Once you’ve decided which approach you’ll take, please head over to the Happy Unconventional Mom’s Club where I’ve set up a thread to share stories and pictures with each other!
FREE Random Acts of Holiday Kindness.
-Rake leaves or pull weeds for a neighbor and sweep their sidewalks
-Help someone put groceries in their car
-Leave a nice note for people who serve you: The mail carrier, a cashier, a waitress
-Go Christmas caroling and take treats or homemade cards with a sweet note on them to hand out. It’s fun to dress the kids up as nativity characters or Christmas Gifts.
-Be generous in “liking” your friends and family’s social media posts.
-Read a book to an elderly person
-Clean someone’s home (perhaps a new mama or an elderly person).
-Text someone “Good Morning!” who could use some extra encouragement.
-Write a note to a neighbor with a nice light display and tell them how much you enjoy their Christmas Lights.
-Send a friend or family a member an old photo or a handwritten note sharing a fun memory.
-Compliment a parent on their child’s good behavior.
-Sing Christmas Carols at a Nursing Home.
-Leave an encouraging note in a library book (Hope Deck Cards are perfect for this!)
-Leave unused coupons next to their corresponding product in the grocery store.
-Bring your spouse breakfast in bed.
-Talk to the shy person at a holiday party.
-Offer free babysitting for a family who needs it! Maybe you know a young couple with no relatives in the state or a family with a special needs child
-Resolve to not utter a single complaint for an entire day.
-Surprise a friend or family member by washing their car.
-Take care of someone’s pet while they’re away.
-Do a chore for a neighbor.
-Generously hand out “high 5’s” to encourage people.
-Write a recommendation for a coworker or connection on LinkedIn.
-Everyone is important. Learn the names of people you see every day (crossing guards, store clerks, mail carrier etc) and greet them by name.
-Say “hello” to everyone you see.
-Tell someone how they’ve been a blessing to you.
-Compliment every person you encounter today.
CHEAP Random Acts of Holiday Kindness
-Pray for people before sending them a Christmas card. Let them know you prayed for them. Add people to your prayer list and let them know you’ll be praying for them on a certain day each week throughout the year.
-leave $1 near an item at the dollar store
-Give your favorite book to someone you think would enjoy it.
-Feed Someone’s Parking Meter
-Leave quarters and an encouraging note at the laundry mat.
-Tip larger than normal at a restaurant
-Leave 50 cents and a note on a toy ride-on machine in the entry way of Wal-Mart.
-Leave a note and some change on a vending machine.
-Mail a friend an encouraging note or postcard.
-Think of someone you admire and send them a note telling them why.
-Send coloring books to sick children in the hospital.
-Make special crafts for the elderly and take it to them.
-Knit scarves and hats for the homeless, or baby hats for preemies. (Contact me for more information about this).
-Leave change in a vending machine.
-Leave a large bottle of bubble solution on the doorstep of a house with kids.
-Leave a popcorn surprise on a DVD rental machine
Random Acts of Holiday Kindness That Involve $$$
-Leave gifts for people who serve you: The mail carrier, a cashier, a waitress
-Send a care package to a soldier
-Give a grocery gift card to someone.
-Take a new acquaintance out for lunch.
-Send a gift to a widow/widower.
-Send flowers to someone just to say “I was thinking of you.”
-Send a gift for a child in the hospital
-Give a gift or treat to someone who has lost a loved one and still grieving.
-Leave a gas card in the credit card slot at a gas station pump
-Pay for the car behind you at a Drive Through.
-Anonymously mail a grocery store gift card to someone
-donate a nice back pack (or a lunch bag, new pajamas, etc) to children in foster care
-Send a gift to someone who might be lonely this Christmas. Consider inviting them over for dinner.
-Buy Bibles for people in countries where Christians are persecuted.
A $500 Random Act of Kindness
In the spirit of holiday giving, I have teamed up (as I do each year) with some pretty generous bloggers for the 8th annual Christmas Blessings Giveaway. This year we are working together to bless TWO families with $500 each (delivered via Pay Pal). We pray this will make a big difference in their lives this Christmas season – whether it’s to fulfill their kids’ Christmas wishes, pay off some bills, or to help build some savings, our prayer is that it helps to lessen any financial burden and/or fills a specific need.
There are lots of entry options in the Rafflecopter form below – the more you enter, the better your chance of winning! I know it can seem tedious and time consuming to go through all the entries, but isn’t a chance at $500 worth it? I think it is! Plus, all of these amazing bloggers donated their own money toward the cash prizes, so this giveaway wouldn’t be possible without them. I hope you’ll take the time to check out each one. Who knows, maybe you will find some new blogs to follow.
The giveaway will run from Monday, November 15th through Wednesday, November 24th (ends at 11:59pm EST). Winner will be notified by email shortly after the giveaway ends and will have 48 hours to respond to claim the prize or another winner will be drawn. You must have a Paypal account to win. By entering this giveaway, you agree to be added to the email lists of the participating bloggers. Please be sure to read the Rafflecopter terms and conditions upon entering.