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I’m a sensitive person with a pretty soft heart year ’round, however, come Christmas time I’m pretty much a hot mess of either sentimental tears or holiday joy on a level rivaling Buddy the Elf. (I know, I feel bad for my husband and kid, too!) I find myself equally joyful and teary-eyed over the Random Acts of Kindness type of stories and videos you see during the holiday season. The WestJet one from 2013 in particular is one of my absolute favorites. If you haven’t seen it, please take a moment to enjoy before proceeding with this post. You’ll be glad you did.
Ok, now that you’re teary-eyed with me, we can move forward together with this little post and the idea behind it.
It is my hope that we can all find a way on some small level, to bring joy to our fellow Fresnans, much like WestJet did for their passengers. Now, I certainly don’t expect you to go buy a stranger a big screen t.v., (if you want to, I won’t stop you though!), but I thought a simple list of ten things we can all do to spread kindness in the final days before Christmas would be a great way for us to contribute to our community together.
I now officially invite you, to join with me in a 10 Days to Christmas Kindness Challenge. There is one simple kind task for each of the ten days remaining until Christmas Day. Complete them on your own or with friends, family or co-workers. If you’d like to share the kindness you’re spreading, please feel free to post photos of kindness in action using the hashtag #fresyeskindness. I can’t wait to see what we can do for others as a community of caring people!
Day 1 (9 days until Christmas, 12/16):
Grab a stack of index cards, sticky notes or scratch paper and write five nice things. “You are awesome.” “Smile, you look fantastic today!” “You are appreciated, more than you know!” etc. Place these notes anonymously where others may find them throughout your day. (In a dressing room, in the copy machine at work, on a store shelf, on the pump at the gas station, in your child’s backpack, you get the idea.)
Day 2 (8 days until Christmas, 12/17):
Think about the elderly people that you know. Many struggle with weakened immune systems, live on fixed incomes, therefore limit their home heat usage, and deal with poor circulation. This means some very nice people you know are likely cold and may catch a bad cold this winter. Putting together a simple basket filled with soups, tea, honey, warm cozy socks and a blanket can make a big difference for an elderly friend, neighbor or relative. Deliver the basket or if you’re not sure who to give it to, contact the local Meals on Wheels office and ask if they can provide your gift to someone who could really use it. (Meals on Wheels: (559) 266-FOOD)
Day 3 (7 days until Christmas, 12/18):
Local animal shelters and rescue groups are desperately in need of our help. There is currently an adoption and donation drive taking place and shelter and rescue staff are hoping you’ll consider adopting a rescued pet or donating collars, blankets, food or toys. You can purchase the items and simply place them in the boxes set up conveniently throughout Fresno at local pet stores/service locations including Whitie’s Pets, Kelley’s Pets, Pet Extreme in Clovis and Top Dog Pet Wash. If purchasing is a difficulty at this time, consider going through your own linen closet and seeing if you have blankets you are no longer using that you can donate. This drive goes through the 23rd and benefits multiple local rescue organizations. (For more info, click here.)
Day 4 (6 days until Christmas, 12/19):
As the final Saturday prior to Christmas, this is bound to be a busy shopping day, especially in some of the areas large shopping centers. Spread a little cheer by purchasing wrapped candy canes, attaching a little note with a message such as, “You deserve a treat! Enjoy! Happy Holidays!” and place them on cars in the parking lot. (Do not lift people’s windshield wipers or otherwise mess with vehicles – this tends to not go over so well and be seen more as an act of rudeness than kindness ;-)).
Day 5 (5 days until Christmas, 12/20):
Gather the family in the car, and take a drive around Fresno looking for the best home holiday light display. Consider driving to an area outside those that are most-know for their decorations (such as Christmas Tree Lane or Cindy Lane) and take the road less traveled. Enjoy Christmas music and cocoa or cider as you go, and when you find your favorite house, present the owner with a certificate of award and if your budget allows, a box of See’s candy. We did this last year, at the homeowner was completely shocked and so very pleased. He told us he even works with a friend who owns a crane for his business to get lights up into his tallest tree. I highly recommend this family activity!
Day 6 (4 days until Christmas, 12/21):
On this day, take the time to thank a soldier for their service. Visit the USO’s website to send a message of gratitude to a soldier overseas here. (I encourage you to consider doing this any time during the year as well!)
Day 7 (3 days until Christmas, 12/22):
Bake (or purchase if you’re not into holiday baking) treats for those that work hard to make your life a little easier, all year long. Place a treat care package with a thank you note in your mailbox for the postal carrier, out on trash day for the sanitation crew (you may need multiple boxes), one for your gardener, house cleaner, etc. If you have the time, consider taking treats to businesses that help you throughout the year (your child’s pediatrician’s office, your dentist, etc.).
Day 8 (2 days until Christmas, 12/23):
Tell your children (or children you know and love, like your grandchildren, nieces and nephews, etc.) that it’s best to prepare room to store their new Christmas treasures, and that a good way to do so, is to go through their rooms and closets to see if there are items they no longer enjoy, but that other children may be able to. Help them to gather these items and donate them to a local charity. Suggested charities: Love Inc, Marjorie Mason Center, Am Vets
Day 9 (1 days until Christmas, 12/24):
Offer a helping hand to the holiday host, and mean it. Offer to help with a specific task. “What can I go pick up at the store for you?” “May I rake the leaves for you?” “Is there a dish I can bring?” “Do you need help wrapping gifts?” Then, follow through on your offer. Hosting holidays is a labor of love, but also a labor. Chipping in with the work is much appreciated by almost all hosts, and may even score you the wishbone at dinner.
Day 10 CHRISTMAS! 12/25:
Spend time with your family. Give them your very best possible attitude, smile and hugs, despite the challenging personalities you may encounter at large family gatherings or the exhaustion of the holiday season that may begin to seep in. Do your best to enjoy the moment, and your family and friends. Let the dirty dishes rest in the sink, they’ll wait. Play cards, watch movies, share desserts. Remember what Stitch from Lilo and Stitch said about family after all: “This is my family I found it all on my own It’s little and broken but still good. Yeah still good.”