No matter what you celebrate, the end of the calendar year brings lots of traditions, joy, family and giving. Our family celebrates Christmas and has, in years past, let it completely rule our lives for two solid months. The rush and the fuss and the gifts and the greed. Last year, I had enough. I made it my goal to do some research and find ways to make this time of year more about being a good person and blessing other people. I was so fortunate (and very thankful to Pinterest!) to find a plethora of different, unique and FUN ways to bring meaning to this holiday season. No matter what you celebrate, there are ways that you can bless a neighbor, a friend or a stranger! It's not about making yourself feel good for being charitable, but rather about truly giving without the expectation of receiving. I hope to teach my son kindness and selflessness that drives a person to automatically think of ways to be a blessing. I'm not there completely yet, it's still something I have to consciously choose to do, but I hope to be there one day. I found a few things that I would like to share with the group.
In the month of December we, as a family, plan to do one of these every other day (or so):
Some of these ideas can easily be adapted based on your life and the people you have that you would like to bless. I will make a few modifications, but the idea is still the same. Can you imagine getting a cart at Target and finding a gift card (for any amount!) with a note about the reason for the season? How inspiring! I believe that if we posture this kind of attitude, it is bound to catch on...and who doesn't want more kindness in this world?!?! We already have a grocery clerk in mind and I cannot wait to see her face! She gave a dollar to my son on his first birthday. How sweet is that? It wasn't about the money. It was that she saw me waddling through the store when I was pregnant all the way up to the many outings we had throughout the year. It means something to be a part of another persons life, even if it is just on the fringe.
The other important thing I am doing this year is cutting back on the gift giving. Every year it feels like Toys R Us exploded in our living room. Since my step-daughter has a birthday just weeks after Christmas she STILL has things that she received last year that she hasn't played with. We are so lucky to have generous friends and family members and I am so very grateful, but the excess is killing me. I would rather my kids grow up being appreciative for the things that they receive, rather than have the expectation of a mountain of gifts. Am I alone in this? So, this year we are enacting the following:
Of course they will get other things from relatives and such but these are gifts from us, their parents. It has been actually kind of fun thinking of what to put in each category and it has forced me to really consider that meaningful gift! My 5 year old may need more help understanding because she may have different traditions at her other home, but that's ok! Thankfully, at one year old, my son has no clue. As long as we keep this up, this can be our new normal!
I'm so thankful that I found ways to help bring out the better meanings of the holiday season. What are some of the things that your family does to help others or to bless someone?