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Twenty-Five Acts of Random Kindness.

A few years ago, I bought one of those small houses with 25 tiny doors in it for Advent. I think I picked it up from Target. I put a slip of paper behind all 25 little doors that surprised the kids with various things they loved…slurpies, a family movie night, a cupcake run, driving through neighborhoods to look at Christmas lights, etc.   It was my way of counting down to Christmas with them, in hopes that they would have a certain level of contemplation about why we celebrate Christmas in the first place.

Yeah. That didn’t happen. It felt more like we were feeding some greedy monster in each of them. Instead, they just looked forward to their daily treat. And why wouldn’t they? We made it almost impossible for them to contemplate the coming of Christ and what that meant for us for all eternity. They’re great kids, but they’re human. I didn’t blame them. I blamed us.

It was one of those times in parenting when we stepped back after it all sort of blew up in our faces and wondered why in the world we ever thought giving our kids treats everyday would somehow ready their hearts for advent.

Needless to say, I packed up the little house with 25 doors that year, explained to the kids why it wouldn’t become a Christmas tradition for our family, and humbly apologized to them for ever thinking it was a great idea.  Parenting is one teachable moment after another for me.

I was determined that we’d just count down to Christmas on our calendars, until I saw an idea on Pinterest that I knew I had to try! I had all the supplies I needed, accept for the tiny brown bags, which I picked up from Michael’s.  At first, I was just going to let it be a countdown calendar, but then I was talking to my friend Julie about one of their family traditions, and I decided to adopt it for us this year.

I sat down with the kids and made a list of 25 acts of random kindness that we could use to serve others with this month.
It was so much fun coming up with really easy, doable ways to daily serve.

I thought I

I thought I’d share our ideas with you, in case you’d like to do something similar.
1. Deliver sweets to neighbors.
2. Put quarters in gum ball machines at Publix.
3. Visit nursing home with flowers.
4. Babysit for Blake and Laura.
5. Give blankets to the homeless.
6. Deposit coins in some parking meters downtown.
7. Let someone a head in line.
8. Deposit money in vending machines at school.
9. Bake goodies for Athens Church staff.
10. Hold door open for someone.
11. Give change to Salvation Army.
12. Deliver sweets to fire station.
13. Pay for someone’s library fines.
14. Pay for someone’s coffee.
15. Host friends for dinner.
16. Take meal to a family.
17. Serve at local soup kitchen.
18. Deliver sweets to police station.
19. Give Jittery Joes gift card to mailman.
20. Give thank you note to our garbage collectors.
21. Return shopping carts.
22. Donate used clothing.
23. Donate used books to library.
24. Give your siblings a gift.
25. Over Tip our waitress at Waffle House.

So, what are some of the Christmas traditions in your family? I’m wondering if we’ll do this one again, or if we’ll just come up with a few of our favorites from this list to make into a tradition. I’ll keep you posted!

oh! Don’t forget to link up YOUR house in Jenn Rizzo’s 3rd annual linky party!

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Linda Jo - Great presentation. Love the prompts. I just shared it on FB and on my Pinterest!

Maureen - What a wonderful idea! Our girls (who are now 23 and 25 and still at home), have always had the traditional chocolate “advent” calender, but I just love this idea! I know they will too! Thank you for sharing :)

Lori H - I always bought the religious advent calendars instead of the Lego ones, or the chocolate ones and felt like I was doing it right. Now that my kids are in college, my husband and I are reading a series of Scriptures that I found on Pinterest, one set each day. But this is my favorite idea, Tara! Parenting also seems to be moments of wishing you could do certain things over once your kids are bigger. Sigh. Anyway, I am going to figure a way to work this into our advent season next year.Maybe we can make the list as a family, then my husband and I can do the acts of kindness until the kids get home for college break and join us…Looking forward to hearing how this goes for you.

Becky @Farmgirl Paints - This is wonderful Tara. You are raising them right. Love It!! We do a Jesse tree. We have a box of handmade ornaments that go along with special events of the Bible. Every night we read a story to correlate with the ornament. Of course we’re behind. Always behind right now;)

Erin @Rare and Beautiful Treasures - Absolutely love this. And the design could NOT be any cuter!! Target doesn’t have anything on those adorable little poms!

Susan Miller - What a beautiful idea! I know that it’s well into the month, but I am going to start incorporating this today. Our children are grown and away, but I intend to plan events with them and our grand-children based upon your “Random Acts of Kindness” calendar for next year. As always, Thank You for all your wonderful ideas.

tiffini - what i love about this is how simple the acts of kindness are.
it is like we think it has to be all of these BIG things and the truth is .. it is all of the little things that matter. awhile back i had someone pay for my starbucks.
truthfully i was shocked for a moment. it was so unexpected.
and you know what happens right? i was so over the mood excited that i paid for someone behind me
there is something magical about random acts of kindness.
your kids will LOVE this:) love you…
xo

Lemonade Makin' Mama - Oh I love these!! What great ideas. Going to pin them right now! :)

Mindy - I just love this and wonder if some of these could become year ’round random acts once we tune our hearts toward giving. Little things can mean SO much! And your board is just the sweetest : )

Glenda Childers - Thanks so much, Tara, for your note. Somehow I missed your switch over and now I have some fun posts to catch up on.

Merry Christmas and …

Fondly,
Glenda

Kathy - I love your honesty and openness. Your new idea is great. We never really did much Advent countdown when our boys were young. Programs and services at church and school, not a daily task or treat. More recently, we use an Advent wreath and TRY to use Ann Voskamp’s Jesse tree devotional. It is basketball season and meals are not as we prefer them, together. So, we do our best. Merry Christmas to you! Our new Love sign is wonderful. So glad to have it.

Christy - I feel ya on teachable parenting moments! A few years ago I made a muffin tin (http://www.especiallyfondofyou.com/2010/11/advent-calendar.html) to use for Advent. I filled it with candy or something small the first year, but after that, I decided to do something along the lines of what you did and make moments instead of gifts. This year, I downloaded Heather’s (Life Made Lovely) free printable, and I put the scriptures for each day (from the Jesus Storybook Bible) in the tins. Some days I write something on the back, like, “Let’s sing Silent Night by candlelight” or “Let’s drink hot chocolate and decorate the tree.” We also have a HeartFELT Advent calendar (http://www.etsy.com/shop/heartFELTtruths) that’s more suited for our preschooler, but the big kids still like adding the felt pieces too. I just finished the bulk of our inside decorating today. I hope to get some lights strung outside in the next couple of days. I want more than anything to keep my focus on celebrating His birth…our Messiah, God with us! :)

megan - I LOVE this idea and I love your heart. I have been there so many times where I think I am doing a fun thing, only to realize that it is only feeding the “me” syndrome in all of us. This is such a great idea.

amber - this is so fabulous! an advent activity calander that doesn’t indulge on us but others….mmm! what Christmas is all about.

thanks for the inspiration!

Shannon @Lady's Little Loves - I love the ideas in your advent calendar. I was so on top of the advent last year. This year? I just feel tired!

It's the Little Things - December - LifeOhm - […] 25 Random Acts of Kindness: Random Acts of Kindness are a great way to bring joy to others. Here are some great suggestions. […]

25 Advent Calendar Ideas and Printables - Growing Up Gabel - […] Truly celebrate the season with this Twenty- Five Acts of Random Kindness Advent Calendar. […]

Jessica @ TSOP - I’m so excited about this! I was searching tonight for advent ideas and this one is my absolute favorite! My girls fight over it each year and it’s never what I intended it to be. Thank you for this and for the ideas. It’s just perfect.

Kristel - Hi! I’m a contributor for Disney Baby. Would you mind if I included this in our round up of advent calendars? I can link back and give full credit. Thanks!

Tara - Absolutely!
Thanks!

Tara - Thanks! We always have so much fun with our Advent calendar!

Advent Calendar for the True Meaning of Christmas - Domestic CharmDomestic Charm - […] Between You and Me blog had a very stylish and wonderful idea.  It is the 25 Random Acts of Kindness advent calendar.  And it is adorable to boot!  She and her children came up with 25 random acts of kindness that they wanted to provide to others throughout the season.  On each day, they chose one to do, thus teaching her children all about spreading love and joy.  And counting their own blessings. […]

Monique Barton (corn) - Love you…. Your family…. Always have and always will. Love you❤️ And miss you emensly! What you are doing is amazing!!!

Advent Calendar Make-Over | Gather Around The Table - […] other ideas and inspiration for your own advent makeovers, you can look here and here and here. There was also lots of talk this year about transforming the infamous Elf on the Shelf into a […]

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