If you ask just about any kid about Christmas, most of them will give you their wish list. Mine are no exception. Three years ago, when my children were just 2 and 5 (and last year we added another 2 year old!), we started what we dubbed "The 12 days of Christmas Kindness" to help combat the "gimmes" that seem to creep up on us at Christmas time.
I desperately wanted to be intentional about teaching my children the real meaning of Christmas by doing service projects for the 12 days leading up to Christmas and focusing on helping others instead of constantly being transfixed by thoughts of new toys. Don't get me wrong, they still think about those things because they are children growing up in America. However, doing these service projects each year has helped us to be mindful of others and to remember that Jesus was born and it's our job to be his hands and feet.
When we first started this years ago, I had a really tough time coming up with things to occupy all 12 days. After all, my kids were young and there were only so many things that I thought they could do. I scoured the Internet and didn't find many ideas on how to get children involved in serving.
I hesitate to talk about the things that we are doing because I think that good works don't always need to be bragged about. But, I want other families searching for ideas of ways to get their children involved some good, practical ways to get going! One thing that I have learned is to never underestimate what our children are capable of. Never assume that they are too young to give back. Sometimes just letting them be cute in front of a lonely widow is the best kind of kindness to give.
This year, we will have to be doing some things that we can do from the comfort of our own home for the first little bit since Miles had surgery today (he is recovering beautifully!) and since Sadie has pneumonia! Next week we will be doing our out of the house projects (my favorite!)
DAY 1: My grandmother does awesome work for a nursing home in our community. For Christmas, they plan on giving each resident a bag filled with treats. Guess who decorated all those bags? Yep- the Terry kids. They colored and stickered dozens of bags that will be filled with treats (by the nursing home) to bring some happiness to the nursing home residents.
DAY 2: Loving on Soldiers
Today, the kids made pictures and wrote little notes for recovering soldiers at the Army Hospital in Fort Knox. We talked about the sacrifice of our soldiers and how grateful we are that we live in a peaceful country. Having a child who comes from a country that has been at war for decades, makes me even more appreciative of just how much our soldiers do to protect our liberties and freedoms. We put the drawings in an envelope with a picture of the children. (If you call a military hospital, they will tell you how to best send mail and care packages to wounded/recovering soldiers they treat) We also donated a phone card for soldiers to be able to call their families through Soldier's Angels. I can't imagine being so far away from home and not having the ability to call my family.
The kids have looked forward to this for weeks! We can't wait to finish out the other 10 days! To see ideas of service projects that we have done in the past, you can click HERE to read previous Christmas Kindness posts.