The song “12 Days of Christmas” hit the radio airwaves the next day after Thanksgiving. My little ones and I have been singing that song around the house and in the car since that day. We make up our own silly lyrics but the one thing that does not change are the words “my true love sent to me” and that inspired me to write this post. Everyone and anyone can be someone’s true love this Christmas. Perhaps your entire family or mine can be someone’s true love. I have been reading more and more stories of strangers paying for someone’s groceries or someone’s coffee. I, for one, have been a recipient of kindness countless of times.
One such kindness I received and won’t ever forget was when I was pregnant with my first child. A lady I barely knew then, cooked 5 different kinds of meals so I didn’t have to cook for the duration of my pregnancy. Before she drove away, she said, “I know that if your mother is here, she would do the same for you.” My mother lived overseas. My husband and I were fairly new in town at that time. Her kindness brought tears to my eyes and has touched my heart tremendously that I still think of that day so fondly. Another special act of kindness is by wonderful friends, donors, and sponsors of Children Next Door who, not just once but countless of times, show their support.
Since Christmas is almost here, I made a list of RACK (random acts of kindness) for families to do together in 12 days. Since I like to do DIY projects and dig budget ideas (who doesn’t?); this list only requires your natural talent, a learned skill, a few gently used items, or things you may already have in your home. No need to spend a fortune to bless someone this Christmas. However, if you are feeling a bit more financially generous or just quite busy with holiday preps, feel free to use your wallet and spread some cheer! I believe your kindness will be welcomed with so much appreciation. But if you’re like me who takes pleasure in making stuff, this list might just be for you.
Do you sew? Knit? Draw? Cook? Whatever your talents and skills are, utilize it by offering free services. I like to offer photography services to families who need to have their photos taken, most especially during the holidays, like this one. The main purpose of this RACK list is to make kindness intentional and giving of yourself wholeheartedly in this season of giving. Spend a few nights dedicated to wrapping or decorating presents. Make great memories with your family while at the same time cultivating in each heart a desire to reach out to others.
Here is my list of the 12 Days of Random Acts of Christmas Kindness for the whole family:
- Day One. Decorate a box and fill with books you no longer need. Wrap it in a nice bow. Present your gift to a family that may need the books or drop it off at your local library.
- Day Two. Sing carols to patients or residents in the hospital or a nursing home. This always brings a smile to everyone, including the workers. And/Or incorporate handing out cards or handmade bookmarks with an inspiring message in it. Kids love this activity, too!
- Day Three. Too many toys? Arrange stuff toys neatly in a basket or a decorated shoe box. For small toys, like a Shopkins collection, place them in cute little boxes. Offer the toys to a family with children who may enjoy them.
- Day Four. Perhaps you have a stash of shampoos, soaps, toiletries from hotels or as free gifts. Create a gift basket and drop them off at a homeless shelter.
- Day Five. Write thank you cards/Christmas cards to your mailman, garbage collector or utility person and insert a few packets of chocolate drink mix or some goodies that will make them feel warm as they go about their day.
- Day Six. Organize your food pantry and dig for some items that you think will help someone in need. Drop them off to Food4Kids Backpack Program or something similar in your local town.
- Day Seven. Invite a few young people and throw a Christmas make-your-own pizza and popcorn party night. Do a few games or put in a wholesome Christmas movie in the player for them. Make them feel at home.
- Day Eight. Do you have a few gift cards you do not really need? (I usually have a couple of gift cards in my purse that I don’t use.) Consider ‘gifting’ it to someone you think will need it. There will always be someone who will appreciate such a thoughtful gift.
- Day Nine. Gently used, outgrown clothes or clothes your children refuse to wear? Wash them and pack neatly in a gift bag and give it to someone you know or set up a rack on your driveway, at a food drive, or at a homeless shelter and neatly arrange the clothes. Don’t forget to mark it free. (Please avoid giving worn out or stained clothes. Only give what you yourself would be happy to receive.)
- Day Ten. Volunteer to give someone a ride to buy groceries, go to the hospital or visit your local church. You’d be surprised at how many people really appreciate a free ride.
- Day Eleven. Gather some crayons, notebooks or some other school supplies you may have in excess in your home and give it to a student/students in your local area.
- Day Twelve. Make a blanket, a scarf, a hat for someone who may be blessed with it this cold winter. Like this no-sew fleece blanket. If you don’t have a fleece fabric lying around, consider using that yarn hiding in your closet. If not, how about a warm jacket you have no desire to wear anymore? There is always someone who needs these items. Donate to a cancer hospital or a homeless shelter.
- Bonus: Pick up the garbage along the sidewalk or your block. You will need a garbage bag, gloves and your family’s few pair of hands. ***Inspired by my 5 -year old who asked me one day during a walk. “Mommy, why do people throw trash in the ditch?” This has become a weekly tradition for me and my two little ones. We’d walk and pick up trash along the way. On days we don’t pick up trash, we’d walk to the neighborhood pizza shop and bring our box of pizza to YMCA and share a couple of slices with our favorite cleaning lady there, Mrs. T.
Let us make Christmas more meaningful this year for our families and the communities we belong to. It does not matter who you want to give to or how many days you want to do RACK because kindness knows no bounds. There is no limit to the good that we can do. Most of all, let us be intentional in being kind. After all, the world needs it. We all need it.