“You will be enriched in every way so that you can be generous on every occasion, and through us your generosity will result in thanksgiving to God” – 2 Corinthians 9:11 (NIV).
Am I the only one who’s tired of seeing Christmas promotions before Halloween decorations have come down? Walk down the aisles at a local store and you’ll be hard pressed to find many reminders of a holiday that celebrates thankfulness in November.
How can we, as parents and grandparents, counter the commercialization of Christmas in an age of spend, spend, spend? Recently, I came across a young mother’s website. Because she wanted her children to experience the true meaning of Christmas, she created a “Random Acts of Kindness Christmas Calendar for Kids.”
“The pursuit of selflessness is truly a noble one.”
She discovered the idea on her Facebook feed last year and really liked the idea of doing something kind each day leading up to Christmas. She writes, “I also thought this was a wonderful way to help instill the spirit of the season in my family. I didn’t want them to think Christmas is all about getting toys.”
Because her children are young, she wanted to create activities that kids could do on their own to emphasize that each of us—no matter how small—can make a difference. Her calendar also includes family activities that include adult participation.
So grab a blank calendar and make a list of ideas with your children. Here are some ideas to get you started:
- Write a thank you note to someone who has helped you.
- Compliment someone.
- Pick up litter in your neighborhood.
- Make cards for nursing home residents.
- Fill a bag with books to donate to the library.
- Make a card for a school staff member.
- Write a letter to a military member.
- Let someone go ahead of you in line at the grocery store, post office, etc.
- Fill a box with toys to donate to charity.
- Clean up a mess you didn’t make.
In his book, “100 Days of Kindness: Spreading Happiness, Joy, and Love with 100 Acts of Random Kindness!” author Jacob Reimer writes in the introduction, “The pursuit of selflessness is truly a noble one. Truly something that should be, and needs to be, actively pursued! The only way to combat the evils and hardships that we all are exposed to is through selfless acts of kindness. Offering free, no strings attached love to our fellow man. Truly, there is no greater good in this world, than doing good for the sake of others and not oneself.”
I’ve discovered, however, that in the giving of ourselves, we are the ones who are blessed. St. Francis of Assisi said, “For it is in giving that we receive.”
Jesus said it best in Luke 6:38: “For if you give, you will get! Your gift will return to you in full and overflowing measure, pressed down, shaken together to make room for more, and running over. Whatever measure you use to give—large or small—will be used to measure what is given back to you.”