Remember when Christmas was really about bringing family together, the birth of Christ, and encompassing the spirit of giving?
I do... But just barely.
These days, the Christmas season seems to be all about Black Friday deals, Cyber Monday Madness, and making sure we have more Christmas presents under the tree than last year.
Society makes it way too easy to forget the true meaning of Christmas. We so easily become consumed with pop culture telling us that if we don't camp out in front of Best Buy and get that flat screen TV, well then, we might as well sleep through December 25th.
But my question is this: Since when did we need to 'buy' love from the very people that already love us unconditionally? And why can't showing someone how much they mean to us consist of quality conversation and random acts of kindness...rather than topping last year’s Christmas gift with an even more extravagant one this year?
I am disappointed in myself for getting caught up in this materialistic version of Christmas, when I know deep down it should be about spending time with those I love most and giving to others less fortunate than me. I don't want to get swept up in the shallow shopping frenzy anymore. That is why I came up with a project designed to shift our focus from what society tells us Christmas should be all about....to what the true meaning of Christmas really is about....
and that is the spirit of giving.
**THE 12 GIFTS OF CHRISTMAS**
Exactly two years ago today, I had this random idea...
And that was to do one random act of kindness for a stranger every day for the twelve days leading up to Christmas. The last thing in the world I expected was that, in a span of two weeks, several thousand people from across the globe would commit to doing the very same thing.
The 12 Gifts of Christmas was designed to help us focus on what truly matters and get in the spirit of giving that Christmas was meant to inspire. Each day, for the twelve days leading up to Christmas (*December 13-24*), I ask that each of us do one random act of kindness. Simple as that. I am honestly SO excited to do this again and I hope you are as well!
So here it is..... The Third Annual....
12 GIFTS OF CHRISTMAS
DAY 12: (DECEMBER 13)-- Buy food for a homeless person (or someone in need). This does not have to be expensive. $5 should cover lunch.
DAY 11: (DECEMBER 14)-- Write a kind, hand-written letter to someone that changed your life for the better. And no, I'm not talking about an email or a text...I'm talking about snail mail people. (This can be to a childhood friend, a teacher from the past, or even an old baby-sitter that impacted your life for the better.)
DAY 10: (DECEMBER 15)-- Pay for the person's order in line behind you in either the coffee drive-thru, fast food, a tollbooth, train ticket, etc. (There are a LOT of options here...)
DAY 9: (DECEMBER 16)-- Buy or bake something for a neighbor. You may know them well, you may have never even introduced yourself. So here's your chance;)
DAY 8: (DECEMBER 17)-- Leave a generous tip for a server, barista, or bartender--along with a nice note. This will most likely make their night. Having been in all three of these positions, I know how easy it is to get discouraged when guests are difficult and do not tip. This could turn their entire day around!
DAY 7: (DECEMBER 18)-- Purchase a gift card at a local grocery store (of any amount). Turn around in line, and hand it to the first person you see. Then walk away. No explanation is needed. I'm sure their expression will say it all.
DAY 6 (DECEMBER 19)-- Make a holiday card(s) for children in the hospital and deliver them to one in your community.
Donovan Nichols, Athens, GA.
DAY 5 (DECEMBER 20)-- Go to a nearby gas station with whatever cash you’d like to donate. Pick someone that pulls up and offer to either fill their tank (or contribute $5, $10, etc. towards their gas). This literally makes peoples’ day!
Lindsay Zavitz, Chicago, IL
DAY 4 (DECEMBER 21)-- Give a $5 gift card to an EMT, firefighter, police officer, or someone in the military.
The Behle Family, Saratoga Springs, UT.
DAY 3 (DECEMBER 22)-- Bake homemade treats and deliver them to a local family shelter in your area. (All kids love holiday sugar cookies shaped like Santa’s and Snowmen!)
Alexandra Track, Toronto, Canada.
DAY 2 (DECEMBER 23)-- Since some people live in urban areas, and others live in the country, this last day everyone can choose from the following:
Leave change by your library’s printer or copy machine, feed parking meters, tape $1 to a vending machine, or leave a few bucks at a Subway station to pay for someone’s public transportation.
Jason Radford, Kansas City, MO.
Day 1: (DECEMBER 24)-- YOUR turn to choose a random act of kindness. I thought it would be fun to see the different ideas everybody comes up with for this last day before Christmas. Be creative. The sky is the limit. =)
***So there you have it. I am hoping this encourages everyone to live out the true meaning of Christmas. I believe with all my heart that it will transform countless lives for the better. In fact, I'm even going to go as far as to say that it will most likely be those of us that are participating that end up being impacted more than the individuals we are actually doing the favors for. It's amazing how giving to others changes our focus from "me" to the overwhelming needs of our world.
Anyway, thank you in advance for participating!!! Merry Christmas to each of you!
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