Last year I did a 12 Gifts of Christmas challenge. It was so much fun, I think I’ll do it again this year. Who wants to join me? The rules are simple. Pick 12 (or any number you want) ways you can give/bless others this Christmas season. It can look like whatever you want it to, but the idea is to chose people that are outside your general circles. (So, no buying presents for your children doesn’t count. 😉 ) Leave a comment below letting me know you are going to participate. Leave another comment when you complete your list. Watch for my New 2016 List coming soon! Have fun – and Merry Christmas!!
I can be a hum-bug when it comes to Christmas. Our local radio station began playing Christmas music before Thanksgiving. I forbid anyone to listen to it. I contemplated buying a little pre-lit tree, so I could technically say we had a Christmas tree and not have to spend half a day dragging the tree up from the basement.
And then I had one of those “ah-ha” moments. You know the kind – the ones where the angels start singing and streamers shoot up in every color. OK – so there were no angels or streamers.
A friend shared 12 ways she intended to give to people she didn’t usually give to during this holiday. I read and re-read her post three times, letting it sink in. We always give a “Gift to the King, ” and we would make an additional donation to a charity, but Christmas had become a chore. I think the Grinch sums it up best:
“Then the Grinch thought of something he hadn’t before! What if Christmas, he thought, doesn’t come from a store. What if Christmas…perhaps…means a little bit more!”
― Dr. Seuss, How the Grinch Stole Christmas!
So after much thought, I made up my own list. I wanted to make it 12 items so it would rhyme with the 12 days of Christmas and all, but I can only think of ten. I’m five days into it, and I’m having a blast. It feels so good to get outside of my little world and make a small difference in the lives of others. I’ll share my list for accountability. My friend said if she didn’t finish her list she’d kiss a pig. I’m not going to make any promises – but here’s my list. Feel free to check up on me. If you make a list – post a link in the comments, I’d love to see it!
Drop off gift basket to encourage hurting friendFriday 12-4 Christmas Groove donation to Laura’s HouseSaturday Operation Christmas Child – made a shoe box onlineMonday 12-7 Christmas shopping (ok, cheating a bit here, but I did it with a smile)Tuesday 12-8 Smile and say a kind word to cashiers and sales peopleWednesday 12-9 World Vision – clean drinking waterMonday 12-21 Write about ChristmasMonday 12-21 Donate canned goods to the local food bankWednesday 1-13-16 Pray for the people in my communitySaturday prayer meeting 12-19 Make candy bar gifts – be sure to check these out, they are so cute – and easy!This was a fail. I didn’t take into account that I don’t have a color printer. New #10 Make Peppermint Bark for gifts. 2-14 It took me until Valentine’s Day – but I did this and officially completed my list!!
- New #11
Found 20 adorable bracelets to give to a woman’s group to encourage them.Friday 12-18
*12-21 Update: So, I’m making progress – still hoping to finish by Christmas. As you can see – Candy bar gifts were a flop for me – so I added a new #10. I also added #11. One more idea and I’ll have 12. Not sure if I’ll come up with another one – Ideas??
*1-13 Final Update. My son went into the hospital on 12-23 with the flu and dehydration. This turned my entire Christmas plans upside down. Instead of Christmas out of town with family, we were just thankful to have the four of us together and my son feeling somewhat better.
I finally made it to the local food bank today to drop off canned goods. Looking over my list, the temptation hit me to run downstairs and make snowflake peppermint bark – so that I could cross it off my list and say I completed my Christmas giving. But I won’t, because I’m sure it would confirm every suspicion in my neighbor’s minds about me if I showed up on January 13th with Christmas plates of candy.
In the end I think it’s good that I tried, because I got 10 more things done that I would have if I hadn’t. The process taught me gratitude at all Christ has given me, and I enjoyed giving to others. Not finishing is also a healthy dose of humility – which is never a bad thing. I think I might make this a new Christmas tradition!