Raising Cheerful Givers, part deux

I’m picking up where we left off with our family service projects that we completed as part of our advent countdown for the Season of Giving: 31 Days of Spreading Joy blog-hop. Here is how our girls have continued to spread cheer for the days leading up to Christmas:

Dec. 10th – Deliver cat/dog treats to the animal shelter (and love on the critters). I only texted four photos of sad animals to Patient Husband, and left the premises empty-handed. A true Christmas Miracle!

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Dec. 11th – Donate books to the library. My fanatical Bosom Friends will be irate that I dared donate a copy of Anne of Green Gables… DON’T FRET, we have another. My mother and grandmother have made certain of this, as my mother was born on Prince Edward Island and my Grandmother goes back almost every year.

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Dec. 12th – Buy coffee/lunch for person in line behind us at drive-thru. You might have guessed by my guilty expression that this was not the Starbuck’s line that I had intended. As I had already exceeded my allotted caffeine quota for that day, I hesitate to confess that this was the local “BeeDonals” drive-thru. Rumor has it that the owners in our town are generous Christ-followers, though, which makes it a SMIDGE more palatable. DON’T JUDGE!

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Dec. 13th – Treats to Teachers. Since I’m their sole educator this year (Heaven help us.), we decided to bless the girls’ teachers from last year. We baked cookies, made notes, and exchanged hugs. I’m fired: I forgot to snap a single photo. We did score the same deal as last Christmas, though, and got to take home the kindergarten class guinea pig, Wilbur, to hang out with our own Peppermint Patti for the entire Winter Break. Here’s a photo of their Piggy reunion, instead.

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Dec. 14th – Hide a dollar in the toy section of the Dollar Store. Sneaky McSneakersons, the girls loved this one.

IMG_1167Dec. 15th – Leave a coloring book & crayons in a hospital waiting room. We chose the nearby Urgent Care clinic that obligingly stitched up my down-to-the-bone-finger-laceration last spring after an unfortunate mishap with a can of organic refried beans. Be sure to get permission from the receptionist first, though, so they don’t assume you’re leaving unsolicited religious propaganda. *ahem*

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Dec. 16th – Letter to a Soldier. Deployed, wounded, doesn’t matter. This former military wife remains forever grateful to those who sacrifice for our freedom… Please remember the brave members of our armed forces, often away from their own family during the holidays. Here’s one address that you can send cards to: Holiday Mail for Heroes, PO BOX 5456, Capitol Heights, MD 20791-5456

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Dec. 17th – Bury treasure in a sandbox. Or in the snow, whatevs. Beneath that glistening powder is a sandbox at our favorite city park. Some lucky kiddos will uncover “real” gold coins and jewels once the snow melts and they resume regular excavations.

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Dec. 18th – Make/send friendship bracelets to our sponsored children. We sponsor two precious little girls through Compassion International, in Kenya & India. I love this photo. Our youngest’s contribution was holding the end of each bracelet for her sister, but as you can see it nearly killed our free-spirited child to sit still for so long.

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Dec. 19th – Treats for the mail carrier. By this time, I was sick of baking. Fortunately, we had split a share of organic pears with our good friends and had 7 bountiful bags. We tied a ribbon around one, made small card and left it where we knew he would find it.

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Dec. 20th – Sing at the retirement home. This the girls did with their homeschool choir. After all, “The best way to spread Christmas cheer is singing loud for all to hear.” -Buddy the Elf

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Dec. 21st – Donate toys/book to less fortunate children. Oh, how my children struggled with this one. They did not want to part with anything. I laid the guilt-trip on pretty thick, and reminded them that they “wouldn’t have room” for any news toys this Christmas unless they shared a few, anyway. They saw the light and willingly parted with a (modest) bag full that we left for the wonderful people at our city’s community development council, HRDC.

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Dec. 22nd – Donate food to food bank. Speaking of struggling, you should have seen ME when it came time to give away food from my kitchen! It is no easy task keeping a surplus of delicious, wholesome, and balanced options in the fruit bowl, pantry, fridge and freezer for a family of four! (Soon to be five. I can’t wait to see what it will be like to feed a teen-aged boy some day!) Can I get an amen? Our kids can EAT. It seems I spend the bulk of my free-time (and many a date night) at the grocery store these days. I was more keen on making a special trip to the store for our Food Bank donations than deplete our own reserves. This reminded me of a friend who once shared that while it was hugely convenient to utilize the direct deposit feature for her church tithing, it sometimes robbed her family of the feeling of truly sacrifcing their first fruits to the Lord with their giving by placing their envelope in the offering plate with their own hands.

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Dec. 23rd – Movie ticket to a homeless person. An escape from the cold for a couple hours; a chance to relax and be entertained. We found a grateful recipient at the local warming center that we previously donated gloves & hand warmers to.

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Dec. 24th – Treats to the fire station. If you’re wondering why I neglected to snap a photo of the darling bags of homemade caramel corn that we delivered to the firemen on duty on Christmas Eve (complete with affixed jingle bells) or the obvious photo opp of our girls in a fireman’s hat, that would be fair. As it turns out, I stepped out of our sexy minivan onto a wicked patch of ice and executed an involuntary triple axle right in front of the onlooking firemen. Of course I did. The landing was not a ’10’, however, and Patient Husband walked the girls up with the treats for me while I recovered in the van. I’m still recovering. Ouch.

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What a meaningful and worthwhile advent activity this has been for our family! It’s one we will most certainly adopt as a regular Christmas tradition. Thanks for following & spreading cheer along with us! 

Raising Cheerful Givers

She Has Decided

Labor Day

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