We start to stress, plan, prep, eat more food than we need and buy more than anyone ever needs. I used to spend more time shopping, writing out lists about every meal we would eat and cooking so many treats that we would end up throwing away. There were LONG Christmas lists filled with "I want", "I need" and "I have to have this". My son got to a point where he circled almost every single toy in the toy catalogue and would show everyone that would ask. It was stressful, exhausting and I never really got to enjoy the season or even having people over.
This year, we're changing it up. This is the year it will be different.
This year, we won't be spending $300 per kid on Christmas presents. Not sure I actually spent that much before, but I know it was close. It had to be. There were sooooo many presents under our tree just for the kids. Then they ripped open present after present without even seeing what was under the paper. Now, most of those toys are in the basement, waiting to be donated, or already thrown in the garbage.
So this year is going to be better. Not only with purchasing less, but doing more.
We have an Advent calendar thing that we fill with candy, pop open a door everyday and munch on whatever is inside. I'll still be doing that. Mostly because I just really love candy.
But I'm adding to it.
We are going to do RACK- Random Acts of Christmas Kindness.
I've seen the idea on many blogs/websites, but the main idea came from these 3:
I dare you to read these and not want to participate, even if it's on a smaller level.
I actually dare you to read all 3 and not have tears in your eyes...or maybe I'm just a very emotional person.
We are going to do 25 days of RACK. I did some research (called Google and these blogs) and found 25 ideas that really work within our budget.
*This is not in the order which we are doing them in* I have a few things, Calendar wise, I'll need to figure out first, but we will do be doing all of these. One blogger actually wrote tips on her blog, like calling ahead first, so you can meet more specific needs, and some people are not available on weekends.
1. Take treats to the Humane Society
2. Tape popcorn to the redbox to give others a "movie night"
3. Buy a book for the donation at Barnes and Noble.
4. Tape candy canes to the ATM machines
5. Tape quarters to vending/toy machines around town
6. Ring the Salvation Army Bell
7. Grocery shopping just to put food in the "Food for Families" box.
8. Pay past due library fees for (maybe) 5 people
9. Purchase and donate toys to the Toys 4 Tots.
10. Purge the kids bookshelves and donate to the library
11. Return carts to the store.
12. Donate toys/clothing to the women's shelter.
13. Bring in a tray of cookies to Evan's school office.
14. Take drawings/cards/flowers to 3 nursing home residents that need it most.
15. Take cards/treats to Police Officers
16. Take cards/treats to Firefighters
17. Gift/card to our mailman.
18. Card/treat to Evan's teacher
19. Card/treat for our Therapy ladies that come to help Morgan and Declan.
20. Pay for the person behind me at Starbucks.
21. Leave an extra big tip at the restaurant
22. Make treats for co-workers (since I don't have any, it will be for Jay's work)
23. Hand out balloons to kids at the grocery store.
24. Send cards to military members overseas.
25. Bring flowers to a hospital for someone that has no visitors and donate some crayons and coloring books for the waiting area.
Well, those are the 25 out of probably 45 I found. It was hard to narrow it down, but some I had to cut out just because of the cost.
If you need more ideas, I suggest just going to Pinterest and typing in Random Acts of Kindness. TONS of ideas/blogs will come up and guide you easily on your way!
Or you can buy a kit that will help you out. I've never seen anything like this before, but it seems like a great idea-maybe for an older kid?
It makes me realize that I should be doing this more often. I have some social anxiety, so I'm a little nervous about talking to people I don't know, but I'm going for it anyway.
I'm very excited. Can't you tell?! I cannot wait for December to get here! But, even before it gets here, this has made me more aware and I will be keeping my eyes open for opportunities to help people if I see one, between now and December.
We will also be doing Random Acts of Kindness cards to put along with each one of our gifts. The kids and I will read the card the night before (which will also have scripture on it so we can discuss what it means) and pray that we can help someone that needs it most. There are lots of cards on other blogs that they are sharing with everyone. There are so many creative bloggers out there!
I will do my best to photograph all our moments, but I don't want to get caught up trying to capture it on film. I would rather just be in the moment and enjoy it.
This time of year is going to change for us and hopefully mean much more than it has before.