It is with great delight that I introduce guest blogger Lara Cornell. Lara Cornell is an: Intuitive artist, Trauma Informed Yoga Teacher, Ayurvedic Bodyworker, Reiki Practitioner, Certified Flower Essence Practitioner, Herbalist, Aromatherapist, International Retreat Facilitator, Teacher, Entrepreneur, Maker, Mama, Wife, Moon Follower, Collaborative Enthusiast. She is also the owner and artist behind Citrine Studios, LLC and Anahata Collaborative, LLC.
C.A.K.E. (Christmas Acts of Kindness for Everyone)
The holidays are a time of giving, of joy and of happiness… except if you’re a 5-year-old. In which case the holidays are a time of getting, getting and getting. Sometimes starting as early as the week after Thanksgiving all the way through New Years! With different family holiday celebrations as well as other holiday parties throughout the weeks between Thanksgiving and Christmas it was a non-stop flow of presents, wrapping paper and broken ornaments in our house.
When my children were 6, 5, and 1 I decided that this needed to change. My oldest two were now EXPECTING presents for Thanksgiving and all the days leading up to Christmas. The season of giving was totally lost on them. I sat down one evening out of sheer frustration and created C.A.K.E. (Christmas Acts of Kindness for Everyone).
I made up 25 different Acts of Kindness with the following considerations:
1) They had to be simple and something my children could do (not something we would do for them)
2) They had to be mostly free or VERY inexpensive to show them that doing kind things for other people doesn’t have to cost any money.
3) They had to be mostly indoor activities taking into consideration that Minnesota winters can be unpredictable.
Each day, the kids would choose one tag off the tree and that would be the C.A.K.E we did for that day. It became a fun little ritual with our children. I’m not going to lie, it actually ended up being hard work to keep the momentum going each day and every now and then we would forget so we’d end up doing 2 the next day. Life happens.
I should add that the year we implemented this I also made one VERY IMPORTANT request from our extended family. I asked that no one give our children ANY presents until Christmas Day. I didn’t want them receiving gifts during our 25 C.A.K.E. days. It was crucial that the children focused on GIVING as much as possible during the ENTIRE month of December. I was met with some skepticism of course, but it really made all the difference.
– Make a clothing or toy donation to Goodwill or similar, and/or donate blankets to either a homeless shelter or Salvation Army
– Write a thank you note to a fireman/school custodian/mailman
– Buy coffee for the person behind us at the coffee shop
– Donate coins from piggy bank to the bell ringers for Salvation Army (also buy them a hot cocoa if they are standing outside in the cold if possible)
– Hold a door open for someone
– Give someone a compliment
– Walk around the mall and randomly leave behind kind holiday greetings (handmade)
– Pick up garbage around the neighborhood
– Offer to shovel neighbor’s sidewalk
– Gift ornaments to neighbors and leave on their doors with a little holiday greeting
– Get 10 helium filled balloons from the Dollar Store, go to the mall and hand them out to 10 kids (with their parents’ permission)
– Do something nice for EACH OTHER! For this one, my daughters each colored a picture for each other using the other person’s favorite colors
– Send handmade holiday cards to people who fight for our freedom
– Choose one toy at the Dollar Store and donate it before leaving the store!
– Buy 5-10 children’s books at the Dollar Store and donate them to the Doctor’s Office for their waiting room
– Take canned items from our cupboards and donate it to the grocery store for their food drive
– Donate winter gear which they have outgrown to the local preschool to use for children who forget or lose their winter gear