Tag Archives: christmas

Random Acts of Christmas Kindness 2014

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Four years ago we started a tradition with our kids were we do a daily act of kindness during the month of December to count down the days to Christmas.  It quickly became a hit!  The kids love doing the acts of kindness each day and always look forward to what the next days act will be.  When November rolls around they usually start asking me when they can start doing the “gifts for other people” countdown.

We decided to call them RACKS (random acts of Christmas kindness).

It’s hard to believe it is already our fourth year of doing this and even though we redo a lot of our favorite RACKS each year I also try to add in a few new ideas each year as well.

As I was looking through our pictures trying to decide which ones to share with you, I quickly realized it was hard to just pick a few!  We have so much fun doing these each year and hope that it’s helping teach our kids selflessness, the importance of giving to others, and showing the love of Christ.

So here’s how our tradition goes:

On the last day in November we always decorate the envelopes that we put up for our “Kindness Wall”.  Each envelope has a card inside with a RACK listed on it.  So, each day one of the kids gets to pull the card out for that day and tell us what our kindness act will be.

 

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I also created a RACK tag that gives a little description on it along with some scripture that we

like to add with all of our little gifts.

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Day 1

Color pictures for our Granny in the Nursing Home

I have a grandmother in the nursing home that we don’t get to see that often so we always like to send her pretty colored pictures and a note each Christmas.

Day 2

Bake cookies for our Neighbors

We have great neighbors that live on both sides of us so we always like to take them treats at Christmas time.

bake

Day 3

Hand out Christmas Cards at the nursing Home

The kids always enjoy telling the residents Merry Christmas as they hand them their card

Day 4

Clean the nursery toys after church

Usually the nursery workers stay after church to clean all the toys so we like to give

them the night off and clean the toys for them.

cleaning

Day 5

Send Christmas cards to Soldiers

I found this great organization called Military Missions Inc. that will send your cards to Soldiers for you.

This is one that we do every year!

Cards

Day 6

Leave popcorn on a Redbox machine

For someone to have”Popcorn and a Movie”

This was a new one we added this year.  It was especially neat because as we were leaving the kids were able to watch as a couple came up to the redbox machine to get a movie, read our note, and took the popcorn!

day 5

Day 7

Donate canned goods to the Church food pantry

Our church keeps a food pantry and will donate food boxes to families in need

Day 8

Leave change on a Coke machine

Coke

Day 9

Leave a gift for our Mail Carrier

This is another one we do each year.  Our mail carrier has always been very appreciative and leaves us a thank you card each year!

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Day 10

Buy a hot chocolate for the Salvation Army Bell Ringer

This was a new one for us this year and it worked out great that we knew the young lady ringing the bell that night!

hot chocolate

Day 11

Put candy canes on random cars

This was another new one for this year that we hope made a few people smile!

The little note on each candy cane reads:

You’ve been RACKED

Hoping this little treat brings you cheer! Wishing you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

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Day 12

Bake cookies for our other neighbors

Day 11

Day 13

Leave quarters in the candy machines at the Mall

The kids especially love this one because we always give them a quarter to use to get candy for themselves too!

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Day 14

Take soup to the homeless shelter

We do this one every year as well.

Day 13

Day 15

Leave a gift for our Server at a restaurant

We have a favorite Mexican Restaurant that we have become “regulars” at so we have a couple of servers that know us well enough to order for us!  They love our kids and are always so nice to us so we love being able to leave a little extra special treat behind for them after we’ve eaten!

server

Day 16

Donate toys to the Goodwill

Day 17

Bake cookies for the Fire Department

goodwill

Day 18

Donate books to the library

Day 19

Leave a surprise in a book at the bookstore

This was another new one for us this year.  The kids picked out which book they wanted to put the “surprise” in and we left a little note with it too.

book

Day 20

Make Christmas gifts for our Teachers

We always like to make yummy treats to give to our teachers for Christmas.

Day 21

Color a Smile

I found this fun website where you can print off some of their coloring pages, color them, mail them back in to them and they will hand them out to people who need a “Smile”;  like soldiers, veterans, hospital patients, and nursing home residents.

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Day 22

Take coloring books and crayons to the pediatric floor of the hospital

hospital

Day 23

Donate to the Salvation Army

salvationarmy

 Day 24

Take a meal to a family in need

2014 was another great year for us and we always enjoy doing these very small things in hopes of being a blessing to someone else.  It’s been a great tradition for our family and I pray our kids will remember it for years to come.

 And the King will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers,  you did it to me.’ Matthew 25:40

Blessings

Her First Moments With Him: Behind The Stable Doors

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As a mother, when I read the Christmas story, I am always drawn to Mary.  I often wonder what those first few moments were like for her as a very young, new mother.  I try to imagine how it must have felt to hold the Son of God wrapped in tiny flesh, the thoughts that must have ran through her mind, the questions, the fears…the joy!

I try to imagine…here are my thoughts…will you imagine it with me…

A baby calf, searching for it’s mother, stumbles around in one of the stables nearby and Mary awakes.  The smell of dirt and hay are thick in her nostrils and she fights back her nauseous feeling.  She struggles to sit up, her body aches from the long journey to Bethlehem and her energy is drained from the hours of labor she just endured.  She sees that Joseph is asleep beside her, “he is a good man”  she thinks to herself and she is thankful.  She is tired but unable to sleep; the night air is cool and crisp and she notices how brightly the stars are shining as their light creeps through the stable doors.  She looks around at all the animals as they sleep and then her eyes are drawn to Him.  Her heart skips a beat and she gathers the strength to lift Him out of the manger.  She pulls Him close to her and breathes him in, she gently runs her hand over his head to smooth his hair and softly traces the tiny features of his face with her fingers.  She can’t stop staring at him.  “You are beautiful”, she whispers, as tears roll down her cheeks. His little fingers clasp around hers and she is overcome with an unexplainable love.  Her mind begins to fill with so many questions as she cradles her precious baby boy.

“Is it really you?” she asks, “Are you really the One that has been promised to us all….the Messiah, the Savior of the world?  Why has God chosen me to be your mother, I am no one special?  What if I make a mistake, I am sure to fail.  How can I possibly be all that you need?”

Her body trembles as she holds her baby close and begins to pray.  She is reminded of the day the angel was sent to her from God and she remembers the words he spoke to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God.”  A calmness comes over her spirit and her heart is filled with peace.  It is quiet, all around her the town is silent, and she wonders how anyone can sleep when such a child has been born.  Does anyone know He is here?

She whispers to her son, “Our LORD will do great things through you, Jesus, but for now, sleep sweet little one…sleep.” She found herself humming a familiar tune, the song she sang during her visit with Elizabeth, “My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, for he has looked on the humble estate of his servant.” She wrapped her baby in swaddling clothes and placed him in the manger.  Joseph is awake now and is close by her side as she sings to Jesus.  Just outside the stable doors, down the beaten path, a group of shepherds are making their way into Bethlehem, they are coming to see a baby…the one the angels had told them about…

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Preparing Our Hearts For Christmas

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I love the Christmas season, it’s my favorite time of year.  I love the music, the decorations, the festivities, the food, the continuing on of family traditions, and the starting of new ones.  But, it’s so easy for the true meaning of Christmas to get lost in all the hustle and bustle of this busy season.  This is the time to anticipate and celebrate the arrival of our Rescuer; the coming of our King!  What a glorious day that first Christmas was some 2,000 years ago,  when Heaven came down to earth in the form of a tiny baby, our Savior had come to live…and to die for us all!  There is no greater reason to celebrate Christmas than this!

Through the years we have started some of our own family traditions to help our kids better understand the true meaning of Christmas.  We do a daily random act of kindness during the month of December to count down the days until Christmas.  We hope to teach our kids the importance of giving and learning selflessness, that Christmas is not about what they get, but about showing the love of Christ and finding ways to be a blessing to others.  We read the Christmas story every Christmas morning before we open gifts.  We bake a cake together on Christmas day for Jesus’ birthday; complete with candles and singing.  This year, we are adding a new tradition, we will be celebrating Advent (The coming of Christ). The scripture reading plan for Advent tells the story of God’s plan for salvation, starting with creation and continuing through the Old Testament to the birth of Jesus Christ.

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I have several friends that do this already with their families and I have always been intrigued by it.  As I have read and learned more about it myself, I think it is a wonderful way to prepare our hearts for Christmas.  In the midst of all the business of this season, it is a great way to have a quiet, reflective time each evening with our kids.  Along with our reading, each night we will be making an ornament for our Jesse Tree.  The name Jesse Tree represents the genealogy of Jesus.  Jesse is the father of David, an ancestor of Jesus.  It comes from the prophecy of the coming Messiah.

A shoot will come up from the stump of Jesse; from his roots a Branch will bear fruit. 

Isaiah 11:1

We will be doing our reading using the Jesus Storybook Bible (which we love and highly recommend!)  If you have the Jesus Storybook Bible already, here is the link  to a great blog where a sweet momma has made up a free printable of the reading plan that goes along with it.  I also pinned the idea for the Jesse Tree ornaments from another sweet mommas blog, you can click here to check out the free printables she has to offer.

Our first night went well, we enjoyed our reading time and we gave the 3 older kids each a different responsibility in making the Jesse Tree ornament.  One got to color it, one got to put it together, and one got to hang it on the tree.  Each night they will rotate these responsibilities.

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If you are looking for a quiet, reflective way to prepare your hearts and the hearts of your children for Christmas, I hope these ideas are helpful.

Blessings!

 

 

 

 

Operation Christmas Child

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The world’s largest Christmas project of its kind, Operation Christmas Child, uses gift-filled shoeboxes

to share God’s love in a tangible way with needy children around the world.

It’s one of our favorite things to do at Christmas time and we make it a family affair.  We take our kiddos to the store and let them each pick out 5 fun things for their shoebox while mommy and daddy pick out the basic necessity items like: soap, deodorant, toothbrushes, toothpaste, hand sanitizer, and hand towels.  We also always try to add pencils, paper, and a bible story book.  We have fun, we play, we fill our cart, and we all take part!

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When we get home we pour out all the bags on the table and let the kids pack there boxes full of all the goodies.  My kids also like to color pictures and write notes to add to their box for a personal touch.  Then, we sit around the table and pray over each box and for the child that will be receiving it.  This is my favorite part…I love hearing the sweet prayers of my little ones for a child they do not know.  My four year olds prayer was, “Thank you God, for this day and thank you for the boy that will get my box because he is the best!” Operation Christmas Child is just a small way we can teach our kids the importance of giving, showing the love of Christ and how it can impact another child’s life in a big way!

boxes

In case you didn’t know:

Since 1993, Samaritan’s Purse has collected and delivered more than 113 million gift-filled shoeboxes to children in over 150 countries through Operation Christmas Child.

In 2014, Samaritan’s Purse hopes to collect enough shoebox gifts to reach another 10 million children through the Operation Christmas Child project. They will deliver the gifts to children in more than 100 countries on six continents.

During National Collection Week, Nov. 17-24, Samaritan’s Purse will collect the gift-filled shoeboxes at more than 4,000 drop-off sites in all 50 states and Puerto Rico.

Operation Christmas Child also offers the opportunity year-round to pack personalized shoebox gifts online. Go to samaritanspurse.org and click on Operation Christmas Child to select toys and gift items, write a note of encouragement, and “pack” them in a shoebox.