Acts of Kindness Countdown to Thanksgiving

In the past we have participated in the 30 Days of Gratitude for November (Where you make a Turkey out of two foam balls wrapped in yard, then each day you add a feather made from construction paper attached to a popsicle stick- write what you are thankful for on the feather, & then press it into the Turkey….thus having a full turkey at the end. This activity is perfect for toddlers and preschoolers!), and have done the Acts of Kindness Countdown to Thanksgiving and the children seem to favor the latter.

The idea is kind of similar to an Advent calendar. However instead of a piece of candy each day there is an act of kindness for the children to complete. Here is a pic of ours, it is very plain, very simple….we purchased the countdown drawers from Hobby Lobby (they were 40% off, Score!!), kiddos added the leaves, & done!

actsofkindness

Our lives are very busy and seem to only be getting busier by the day as the Holidays approach. So the key is to not overcomplicate the acts of kindness. There is not a one size fits all type of list, customize to your family’s needs. You know how much time you can allot each day and your budget. Here is our list, please feel free to use the exact same list, substitute, alter, etc. I will tell you, whenever possible add any funds that might be required ahead of time to the drawer & have items needed for the weeks acts of kindness on hand, it makes the process much smoother and less stressful for mom, or dad, but mostly mom.

 

actsofkindness2

Acts of Kindness List:

  1. Pick up trash at the neighborhood park (There might be a lot after trick-or-treating)
  2. Clean out the car
  3. Leave quarters at the Laundry Mat (Include bag of quarters in drawer)
  4. Donate Socks to Hannah’s Socks http://www.hannahssocks.org/sock-drop-off-locations/
  5. Make Thank You notes for the Crossing Guard
  6. Pay for the persons order behind you in a drive-thru (Kids get a kick out of this one!)
  7. Help rake leaves
  8. Organize & serve dinner at The Beach House Family Shelter
  9. Mail an “I am thinking of you” card to a relative to lift their spirits
  10. Pack a shoebox for Samaritans Purse’s Operation Christmas Child (Add money for each child & then take them to the dollar store to fill their shoe box) https://www.samaritanspurse.org/what-we-do/operation-christmas-child/
  11. Help a sibling with one of their chores today
  12. Donate coloring books and crayons to the Ronald McDonald House
  13. Give Muffins to the Mailman with a thank you note (Or a gift card to Tim Horton’s so they can pick out their own treat)
  14. Drop off Hersey’s Hugs for Hospice
  15. Make an effort to smile today, they are contagious!!
  16. Take a treat to the First Responders
  17. Write uplifting messages with chalk on the sidewalk for all the passers-by
  18. Spend quality time with a loved one
  19. Go through books and donate some to the Library
  20. Donate a Toy to Toys-for-Tots (Via eBay, http://toysfortots.org/donate/?gclid=CPrRmLvc-M8CFUtahgod26AOaw )
  21. Write a thank you note to your teacher
  22. Help tidy house
  23. Let your sibling borrow your favorite toy/device
  24. THANKSGIVING DAY!!! – A special thank you from Mom & Dad! I am sending the kids on a small treasure hunt around the house/yard to retrieve 3 clues. The last clue will lead them to their Thanksgiving Bags; each bag will be filled with fun activities (coloring sheets, crafts, fun turkey glasses, etc.) to occupy them during Thanksgiving meal, dessert, etc.

 

We like to reveal ours the night before, that way the kids can sleep on it. Thus we will begin ours Halloween night. And then each night following the children will take turns uncovering the Act of Kindness for the next day. If time permits we will take a moment and discuss the act of kindness to make certain it is comprehended accurately and to listen to children’s suggestions. Then the next day while running kids around we will discuss how they accomplished the act of kindness….ask them how it made them feel, how they think it made the other person feel, and any addition questions associated with the act….in an effort to make it more of an experience, not a chore.

Does your family have a similar tradition around this time of year? Do you have any suggestions for additional acts of Kindness? Was there an act of kindness you did or received from someone who had a strong impact on your life? Please share…

 

 

30 Days of Gratitude….a way for family to stay grounded

I was disappointed this morning. I was watching the news and noticed that there was a commercial for Christmas, Christmas! It is only one day after Halloween and already the attention has turned to Christmas. What Happened to Thanksgiving?

Thanksgiving seems to be one of those Holidays where retailers can’t make much of a profit so why not skip it all together? I did hear that Nordstrom has taken a stand and they will not be putting up their Christmas decorations or marketing Christmas until
after Thanksgiving, way to take an initiative Nordstrom’s (we don’t have one around here but this might call for a special trip, that is an initiative I can support!).

So, thanks to Nordstrom’s inspiration and my own passion for thanksgiving our family will be living 30 days of gratitude and we invite your family to do the same.  I realize as mothers we already give so much of ourselves to our family which is why this
needs to be a practical endeavor.  30 days of gratitude is not meant to be overwhelming or add stress to your life, in fact it should hopefully have quite the opposite effect on you and your family. Living gratitude can be quite fulfilling.

Gratitude is more than an attitude. Recent studies show that grateful people are happier, more resilient, and less depressed. They also have higher self-esteem and better relationships. These results prove that gratitude is more than polite manners and positive thinking. It is a way of life, and a wonderful legacy to leave our children. http://www.more4kids.info/184/teaching-gratitude/

So, when thinking about different ways to express gratitude think of simple acts of kindness, and make sure you get your children involved.  Sure mommy can grab the Halloween candy, throw it in a box, and mail it but without expressing the purpose behind the act the act goes unnoticed by your little ones.  So remember to share these acts and when possible contribute and express gratitude as a family.

To get your family started I am providing a few ideas for ways in which your family can demonstrate gratitude.

Turkey of Gratitude

The first week of November or, two weeks prior to Thanksgiving have your children begin writing down something they are grateful for each day. Then have them stick the feather in the Turkey. On Thanksgiving Day your family will have a lovely center piece of thanks.

How to make it: Cut a 1-inch sliver off the bottom of a 9-inch polystyrene ball. Wrap sphere neatly in thick dark-brown yarn, covering surface completely; knot on bottom. Make a 4-inch ball from light-brown yarn and attach to body with a wooden craft stick. Create simple facial features using felt: white circles (approximately the size of a quarter, with 1/8-inch pom-poms for pupils) for eyes, yellow triangles for the beak, and long red felt teardrops as the wattle. Cut feather shapes from colored craft paper and bend in half lengthwise to create seam. Glue wooden craft stick to the bottom third of the feather and insert in a fan shape on turkey body. (Parents Magazine)

Donate Halloween Candy

If you don’t know what to do with all that left over Halloween Candy, send it to Operation Shoebox and they will get it over to our troops! Every year they go through tons of candy that they send to our troops and would be happy to have your leftovers!

Our mailing address is:

Operation Shoebox

8360 Highway 25

Belleview, FL 34420

Help a neighbor, family member, or elderly rake leaves.

Donate Food to a Food Bank

Donate Food- What they Can Use

  • Peanut Butter
  • Canned Goods: Meats,
    Stews, Tuna Fish,
  • Pork & Beans, Navy
    Beans, Spam, Soup
  • Apple Sauce, Peaches,
    Pears, Fruit Cocktail
  • Green Beans, Corn, Peas and other vegetables
  • Dry Pasta and Ramen
    noodles
  • Dried Beans
  • Powdered Milk
  • Spaghetti Sauce,
    Tomato Sauce, Ravioli, Beefaroni
  • Macaroni & Cheese
    and other packaged dinners
  • Cereal
  • 100% Juice
  • Saltine Crackers
  • Toiletries: Toilet Paper, Soap, Shampoo, Deodorant, Feminine Napkins

The Food Bank accepts contributions of both food and non-food items. They accept donations from individuals and companies. To get more information on making a product donation please call 419-242-5000 or email the Outreach Coordinator, Jennifer Mirelez: jmirelez@toledofoodbank.org

Donate Toys to Charity-Nationwide Donation Pick Up

Donating toys to charity has never been easier thanks to the free toy donation pick up service offered by charities nationwide. Schedule a toy donation pick up today and donate toys to the local charity you choose. While the holiday season is a favorite time to donate toys to charity, toy donations are needed year-round. Budget-strapped families often don’t have enough money left at the end of the month for these extras that can brighten the day of a little one in need. Schedule a pick up today… http://www.donationtown.org/donation-pick-up.html

Love Letters: Random Cards of Kindness Inc.

Mission Statement:

Our goal is to create positive and inspirational homemade
cards for children with life-threatening illnesses. We also want our “Love
Letters Pen Pals” to inspire others in their community to commit to making
a difference through our organization.

Be sure to checkout the guidelines and suggestions for holiday & birthday cards, and share the idea with others. http://loveletterscares.org/

Please Send Your Cards To:

Kaitlyn Chana

Love Letters: Random Cards of Kindness, Inc.

P.O. Box 161058

Altamonte Springs, FL 32716-1058

While you are filling your freezer make an additional meal for a neighbor or loved one

Drive-thru random act of Kindness

The next time you go through a drive-thru pay for the person’s order behind you, or a fraction of the person’s order behind you.  They will be delightfully surprised to hear that the complete stranger in front of them just paid for their drink and/or meal.

Volunteer at the Local Ronald McDonald House

Volunteer at the Local Ronald McDonald House

You could……

  • Bring homemade cookies or cupcakes for families. Or help children bake and decorate them.
  • Organize a craft project for children
  • Host a pizza party, ice cream social, or popcorn & movie night
  • Make welcome goodie bags and care packages for families
  • Make quilts, afghans or knitted hats and mittens for families

Give thanks for each other around the dinner table (we do this on
Sundays)

Each family member takes a turn and express why they are thankful for each of the other family members, specifically something they did that day.

Send a Letter to a Soldier

http://www.letterstosoldiers.org/write-letter

Call a friend who doesn’t live in town and ask them how their day is going.

Mobile Meals of Toledo

Home Delivered Meal Programs: Volunteer 1 -1/2 hours a day, two days per month or offer to substitute on an on-call basis.

Have kiddos send a Thank you for being a great friend Card.

http://www.kidprintables.com/thankyounotes/

I will be sharing updates on my families 30 days of gratitude every Thankful Thursday. There are so many ways to express gratitude everyday. Maybe your family has a special Thanksgiving ritual that illustrates gratitude, if so, please share.