EDIT: This post now contains some affiliate links.
I will be the first to admit that I get a little carried away when it comes to Christmas time. The music, the magic, the festiveness, I love it all. Each weekend is packed with some sort of holiday activity. However, it’s really important to us as parents that the Christmas season isn’t all about “me me me” for our kids.
We limit our gift giving to them to Want, Need, Wear, Read – and one surprise goodie from Mom and Dad.
We ask our friends to bring a toy donation to our annual Santa party and take part in our church’s Angel Tree.
In addition, we do the Kindness Elves. They are similar to the Elf on the Shelf however, our Elves recommend ways to spread kindness. Last year, our Kindness Elves suggested that we do something for homeless people. It was one of my favorite projects to do with our Big Nugget. San Diego County has a lot of homeless and it seems like there is someone at every light or every parking lot in need.
We went to Target’s Dollar Spot and travel section to get some essential items that a homeless person could use. Sure, we could easily roll the window down and hand them some money, and occasionally I do but these kindness bags provide something practical. It also provides an element of compassion that many on the street don’t get. I want my girls to see all people as human, worthy of empathy.
We use gallon zip lock bags and fill them with small items that a homeless person might need. We include wet wipes, toothbrush, small bottle of water, granola bar, socks, mittens (even in San Diego it gets chilly at night), Kleenex, chapstick, sunscreen and some bandaids.
Even as we were assembling them, Big Nugget wanted a pair of gloves for herself and to eat a granola bar. It was a great teaching moment and allowed me to explain, again, that other people needed these items more than she did in that moment.
We put them into my car and keep them until we see someone on the street corner or stop light. It’s an easy way to provide some practical help. Most of all, we are teaching her compassion for others and that giving is just as fun as receiving. That this Christmas season isn’t about just Santa lists and Christmas lights but spreading hope and love through acts of kindness.