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Random Acts Of Kindness Advent Calendar

Welcome to the holiday season everyone and Happy Hanukkah to all those who celebrate it!

Last December after the Sandy Hook tragedy, my teen & tween munchkins and I made a list of random acts of kindness to do in our community as a way to do something positive in the name of the victims, when the daily news was full of heartbreak.

The unexpected silver lining was how much my kids got caught up in the joy of giving and how much FUN we ended up having! Some of our daily RAKs turned into hilarious adventures that the kids are still talking about.

One of our favorites was buying a bunch of scratch tickets at the grocery store and then approaching people to hand them out. Most people were very receptive to the kids coming up to them, but one tired-looking older lady looked SO annoyed when my 12 and 10 year old said “Excuse me”; she clearly thought they were going to try to sell her something or ask for a donation for some cause. They handed her the scratch ticket with a little note we had printed, said Merry Christmas, and walked away. From the next aisle we could hear her exclaiming, “Oh my! Oh how nice!….” The kids were all giggly and wanted me to buy more scratch tickets to give away.

The kids left anonymous gifts on doorsteps under the cloak of early evening winter darkness, taped baggies of quarters all over the laundromat and on vending machines, left a couple wreaths on strangers’ doorsteps. These were all small acts, nothing time consuming or expensive, but hopefully they brightened someone’s day.

Our mission actually made the Christmas season so much fun, and I think all of my kids especially enjoyed the anonymous acts and coming up with more ideas.

This year I decided that instead of working off a list, I would make this new tradition of ours into an advent calendar so there is an element of surprise for my kids every day.

To make this advent calendar, I measured and cut out a square of scrapbook paper and then used it as a template. Once I had all squares cut out I marked the center of the template and then pressed a pen through a stack of 5 squares at a time to leave an imprint, then folded all the corners into the center mark.

When I had a stack of these little envelopes, I wrote the deed for the day on them and sealed them with  labels (purchases at Staples). The adhesive on the labels is resealable, so it is easy to open each one without ripping the envelope.

I stapled ribbon to the inside edge of an empty frame and used mini clothespins to hang up the envelopes. {I love mini clothespins and you will see I use them a lot in Christmas decorating!}

The frame hangs on the stairwell down to the basement.

My friend Kris at Driven By Decor posted this adorable advent calendar of buckets adorning a small live evergreen tree. I love that some of the buckets have notes with a clue to a treat somewhere in the house.

Isn’t this the cutest idea??

Some of our daily RAKS on our advent calendar are helping around the house – for instance, “ask Mom or Dad what they need help with today” or “find something around the house that needs cleaning up, without being asked”. While I want the kiddos to find joy in giving, for those chore-oriented tasks I am going to use Kris’ idea and attach a note of where the kids can find a little treat for helping out, because a little chocolate Santa hidden somewhere makes vacuuming or setting the table a little sweeter 🙂
Are you getting into the holiday spirit?? Me too! A week from today starts The 12 Days of Christmas Tour of Homes at Evolution of Style and I hope you’ll link up your festive home on Friday, December 20!

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Andrea

Wednesday 4th of December 2013

What a fabulous advent calendar. I stuck some RAK cards in our advent calendar this year. I guess I should have prepped my kids. They were less than thrilled when they realized they wouldn't be getting a treat everyday. Hopefully they will see the value in the RAK and get on board quickly.

Jennifer @ Dimples and Tangles

Wednesday 4th of December 2013

Great idea, and I love the bright colors you used!

Jenny

Tuesday 3rd of December 2013

Lisa, I love this idea! I really enjoy the giving part of the holidays, and random acts of kindness are so. much. fun. I was fortunate to be on the receiving end of a RAK recently (the person in front of my bought my lunch at the Panera drive-thru), and it was *lovely*. :-) I would love to hear more of your RAK ideas!

Calypso In The Country

Tuesday 3rd of December 2013

You are such a great mom, Lisa! I love this idea and the envelopes are adorable! - Shelley

Tiffany

Tuesday 3rd of December 2013

What a beautiful idea. I'd love to make this part of our family tradition.