It’s the most wonderful time of the year!
I cannot believe that only a year ago I was thinking up ideas for each month with Project 12. It’s already December, my final month. (of this year anyway…I’m already racking my brain for ideas for next year–suggestions are welcome!)
This month I am dedicating to the two big GGs. Giving and Gratitude. As a family, we picked 12 ways we were going to embrace the GGs. Giving to others who don’t have what we have, and being grateful for all the gifts we do have. I have been pulled pretty fiercely towards helping others this whole year, and I love how my kids have been a witness to this. We have all of our needs, and most of our wants met on a daily basis. My children do not know what it is like to be hungry or the anxiety of not knowing where or when their next meal will be. My children have clothes, toys, books, electricity, and running water. They don’t understand that we are among the richest in the world. So, I just keep beating this drum. Over and over. Believe it or not, it is starting to catch on.
I try to involve my kids in giving and gratitude all year…but it is easy to rope them in this time of year! Some of these ideas we thought of on our own, but several came from Courtney Defeo.
The 12 GG’s of December:
1. Donate gifts to The School for Life in Gary, WV– My husband and children go with our church every year in December to bring gifts. (they also go in August and stay longer to help repair houses, provide fellowship, maintain yardwork, and spend time in the nursing home.) Gary is in the most remote and rugged stretches of McDowell County, one of the poorest counties in the nation, with the highest percent of children living below the poverty level. McDowell County ranks last in economic sustainability and general health; first in diabetes, suicide, homicide, sudden infant death, low birth weights, births to unwed mothers, and high school dropouts. This is right here in our own country! They NEED our gifts.
2. Give blood platelets- Did you know platelets can save up to 3 lives? The Red Cross is always in need of blood, but they are in dire need of platelets. My husband and I made our appointments for December 23rd…our 13th wedding anniversary. I can’t think of a better way to celebrate. (he probably can though…)
3. Dollar Store Goody Bags– My kids and I love this idea I borrowed from Courtney. We are going to make little Ziplock baggies with $1.06 and set them around the bottom shelves of the Dollar Store. Can you imagine being a kid and finding enough for a goodie…with the tax included?
4. Random Acts of Christmas Kindness- This includes things like candy cane bombing, buying coffee for the person behind you, letting the rushing grocery shopper go ahead of you in line, and being a big tipper. Waiting tables and bartending taught me to always be a good tipper, but I am talking about being an even bigger tipper. I get a mani/pedi about once a month, and I treat my daughter to a manicure for good grades… I see these ladies more often than I see some of my blood relatives. They work for long hours and always have a smile on their faces. Can you imagine the delight when they see you tipped more than the usual 20 percent?
5. Moms helping Moms- Another idea from Courtney’s site. Here we will leave new packages of wipes at fast food places, Walmart, even some gas stations with a note of appreciation for having a really hard job. They wipe butts multiple times a day, put someone else’s needs before their own, and probably don’t get to sit down much. I remember those days, and I would have been delighted to find a surprise like that at a changing station.
6. Service Men Appreciation- This will include donuts and thank you cards for the mailman, firemen, policemen, garbage men, and the custodial staff at local schools.
7. Laundromat Treasures- This is similar to the Dollar Store idea…my kids and I will take quarters, Tide Pods, and fabric softener sheets to Laundromats around town.
8. Adopt a family through Matthews Help Center– This is a fun one for my family. We love to adopt one with children around the same ages, and my kids can pick out items they know they would like.
9. ADVENTure Chain- Every day of Advent, we take turns writing something we are grateful for. We create a beautiful chain of gratitude we can use to decorate our house. We just started onS unday, so our chain isn’t quite long enough to hang anywhere yet.
10. Donate coins to Coinstar Charity- Remember when I took my piggy bank of coins to the bank? Well, this month all our coins are going to a charity that my kids choose.
11. Animal Shelter donation- My son picked this one out, since that sweet Toby is his best friend. Animals need some love and kindness too. Adopting animals is the only way we roll around here. I don’t like to admit it, but it infuriates me when people pay hundreds or even thousands of dollars for a dog or a cat when there are so many that need to be adopted. We have always had muts, and have always had the BEST dogs, so maybe I am biased. Most needed items at local shelters include: Kongs, Nylabones, Kuranda Cots, Soft Paws, pillowcases, newspapers, and canned food.
12. Prepare and deliver meals- This is something we will participate in through our church. We cook and take holiday meals to elderly friends who are shut in.
Love this quote!
What do you do to get into the giving spirit?