Woo Christmas is a less than 5 weeks away, eek! We love love love us some Christmas Spirit in the Kleinschmidt house, but we know not everyone has such a great time around the holidays. Christmas can be a time of loneliness, stress and sadness for many. Obviously, we want to do something to change that!
Some of you may have already read our post about Reverse-Birthday Kindness, and this post has a similar theme:
Raising our kids in kindness,
to embrace that times of receiving and plenty,
are opportunities for giving and sharing.
So, just like our pre-birthday cleanout, our Christmas Season begins with a cleanout and donation of toys, clothes, kitchenware and homewares. All the things in good condition are forwarded on to second-hand stores or shelters where they can be re-gifted or re-used as needed.
It’s no secret, we like to give and give to many at Christmas. A couple of reasons we do this: we like everyone to feel our love and know we’ve thought of them, we like to spend our time making gifts together (we have the time that we know many people don’t), and I hope people love receiving a little bit of ‘us’. Now this doesn’t mean we expect gifts in return, but it often leaves people feeling guilty if they haven’t brought something for us! Don’t! The one thing we would love to receive, really, is just you enjoying whatever small thing we have given! If you feel guilty, then I feel guilty, and you don’t want to do that now do you?? Do you????
Our gifts are usually homemade, and everyone has a talent somewhere that could be used for Christmas Kindness! Last year we received the most delicious bag of sweet & spicy nuts that I would happily eat every day of my life. They were THAT good! Maybe you could get a group of friends together like a working bee. Or, make this gift-making day one of the calendar activities (see below). If you aren’t the creative, artsy or cooking type, you could always do the same idea with coffee gift cards or small gifts that you really love, or even just a card. Maybe a donation on their behalf at Oxfam or World Vision? I really should do a post on hand-made gifts…. Mmmm I’ll keep you posted!
The Acts of Random Kleinschmidt Advent Calendar of Christmas Kindness! Okay, the title needs some work, but I promise the intention is solid!
Another big thing our family does at Christmas time, is our Advent Calendar. When Mast AoRK was 2 I think, I decorated a lovely set of drawers (from a local scrapbooking lady, or craft store) to use as our Advent Calendar. Now here’s the kindness: each drawer contains a note card that had an Act of Kindness or activity to complete each day. They aren’t always obvious acts of kindness, but they are always something that is to be shared with friends or family or others, or to divert the attention away from receiving, to giving.
Here’s a list of Acts of Christmas Kleinschmidts that we have completed in previous years:
- Arrange a cookie/treat swap with other mums or neighbours: you each make a double batch of a favourite Christmas treat, and all get together and divide evenly so everyone gets a mixed bag of Christmas treats to enjoy over the holiday.
- Stock up RSPCA/shelter needs (buckets, cleaning, leashes etc – check with your local shelter to see if there is something they specifically need).
- Talking of fur-family, don’t forget to be kind to your pets! Christmas dress-ups for dogs are cute, but they are unnecessarily hot for most of our Summer climate. Other ways to show Fido some kindness include: Ice blocks in their water, home-baked doggy treats (lots available at markets), and use of cooling mats. Also a reminder to be safe with that roast or ham bone from your own Christmas feast, keep them close during New Year Fireworks, and of course, never leave them in the car!
- Leave a positive review or thank you on Facebook.
- Buy something from a WAHM/small retailer.
- Carols by candlelight (these often provide the opportunity to support a charity or P&C).
- Give a handmade decoration for a friend/ family, or buy one that supports a charity.
- Have a Christmas disco, and invite some friends from school, neighbours or cousins to join in.
- Send an unexpected card.
- Invite Christmas ‘orphans’ for a celebration, those who have family far away can feel lonely around this time.
- Wrap a gift with art.
- Reuse or recycle a gift.
- This is a new one for us: start a communal plate! When you are asked to bring a plate to a gathering, leave the plate with a poem printed on it, asking people to regift it the next time they take a plate of goodies to a gathering.
- Build a snowman in the sand – one for us Aussies! Get everyone to join in!
- Sing a holiday song in the check-out queue whilst shopping, or even as you wander around the shops. I do this already, it just feels more magical when it’s Christmassy songs!
- Buy an extra treat for next few people in line at the coffee shop: Some shops have a special Christmas treat for an extra dollar with coffee purchase, you could pre-purchase 2, 5, 20 or them!
- Leave candy canes for shop assistants, carparking metres, at work.
- Bake or wrap some treats for the bus driver.
- Hold a driveway stall of Christmas treats.
- Fill a basket with tea, coffee and treats and deliver to your local emergency services depot or hospital for those working over the Christmas period.
- Host a Christmas themed photo shoot and invite some other parents to have their children photographed as well.
- Leave treats for Santa, the reindeer and elves on Christmas Eve.
- While hanging your Christmas decorations, or putting up your Christmas tree, have a dig through your excess decorations and craft stuff. Got anything you don’t use anymore? Or are you going away for the season and won’t be using them at all? Consider donating or loaning it to a school or day care, youth centre, hospital, shelter or hospice accommodation to help brighten them. Or is it just me with way more deco’s than I need??? Nana AoRK donated her 30+year old Christmas tree to the Youth Centre I used to work at, and we have already raided our craft box and donated to the school and day-care for their end-of-year activities and projects.
If you are looking to donate to any organisation, it’s best to contact them in advance and find out if there is anything specific they need. While donating your unwanted belongings is great, many organisations can’t accept many items as they are short on storage, so please call ahead and make sure your things go to where it’s really needed!
Of course there are many hamper appeals and collection drives at Christmas time, and I leave that to you to support the organisations that align with your own personal values. However, do spare a thought for shelters for those leaving Domestic Violence situations, those who host Christmas lunches for people on the streets, and foster and emergency care organisations who often collect donations for children and youth in emergency housing.
What acts of kindness does your family deliver around the holidays? What kind traditions could we start? Share in the comments!