The advent tree and some random acts of kindness.

I read a beautiful blog last week about how a new 31-year-old celebrated her birthday. She used the money that her family would have spent on her birthday gifts and redistributed it in 31 random acts of kindness.

I bawled my eyes out.

Truly. It was worse than trying to watch a Hallmark commercial at this time of year.

It was so touching, and so very, very important and appropriate and exactly how we should celebrate the gifts we are all given in each other, not to mention an awesome way to spread the Christmas spirit or share the way that you celebrate this holiday season.

Right on the heels of that post, I read another about how one creative mama made an Advent Tree that incorporated some of those same ideas. And wouldn’t you know it? Yesterday, we revamped our Thankfulness Tree with the help of all of this incredible inspiration.

I was so excited about it that I forgot to take step-by-step pictures, but it was quite simple. I used Avery mailing tags that I already had on hand, and then wrote the few ideas that I wanted to incorporate into our Advent Tree. Then, I scoured the Internet for more ideas to either use or spark a different idea more suitable to our family, because it was important to me that they were all ideas that would be safe for my boys to carry out with me and to be a part of doing. After I had written the ideas on 24 tags, I looked at the calendar to make sure that our 6yo would be either out of school on the corresponding days or we could do something together in the time that we had with him after school. I wrote the dates on each tag with that in mind, then attached hemp twine to each tag and divided them into groups of eight.

The next day after school, the boys and I sat down together, each with our stack of eight tags, and stamped each card with Christmas art stamps to liven them up a bit. And then…we hung them.

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The kindness acts range from very simple to a little more challenging (as in, putting me, at least, out of my element and giving things to people who may or may not want them).

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My favorite part of this project was telling our 6yo about the tree. He asked me what the tags said, and as I began to read some of them aloud, he smiled a whole face smile.

You know the kind.

The one that goes all the way to your eyes and makes them water a little bit.

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My heart swelled to about three times its normal size, I swear. Felt a little like the Grinch, but without the grouchy part.

Here are most of our tags. I’m leaving out a few since they mention specific people in our lives and I don’t want to give away everything, in case they’re reading, before we get a chance to do it.

– Leave a “thank you” card for the mailman.

– Give a backpack to a homeless person with toothpaste, toothbrush, soap, shampoo, a small towel, deodorant, and grocery store gift card.

– Hug a family member.

– Popcorn and favorite holiday movie night.

– Take a gift bag to your teacher to restock supplies for next semester.

– Hold the door open for someone.

– Leave a Target gift card on someone else’s car with a note that says, “Be awesome today!”

– Open the car door for someone else today.

– Give the dog a treat today and hug her for being a such a good girl.

– Give a blanket to a homeless person.

– Tag a bag of food to Sister Carmen (our local food bank).

– Take “thank you” treats to the fire station on the corner.

– Buy a grocery store gift card and give it to the next person in line.

– Leave coins in the treat machines at the store.

– Go to the mall. Leave post-it notes in the changing tables that say, “You’re an awesome Dad!” and “You’re an awesome Mom!”

– Buy two bouquets of flowers at the store. Give one away to someone leaving the store.

– Write a kind note to someone in this house. Leave it on their pillow.

– Pay for someone else’s coffee order.

– Pull in a neighbor’s trash cans today.

– Make cookies together.

– Make hot cocoa and walk through the neighborhood together to see the lights.

What else would you add?

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