This weekend I put together our Holiday To Do List, planning out all the tasks we hope to get done before the end of the year. When my two year old, Finnegan, was but a bump in my belly, my husband and I dreamed about holidays with him and what we wanted him to learn about Christmas. Christmas is my favorite of the holidays because giving gifts is my Love Language, and Acts of Service is my husband, Jeff’s. While watching Finnegan sitting inside his toy box buried in all of his Hot Wheels, I made sure to add our values to our Holiday List to ensure that they stopped being a nice conversation for “next year”. They include:
- Give a gift to a stranger: We want Finnegan to learn to share with others and the joy of giving! This year we’ll find a child’s wish list and go shopping for that child together. Even though he’s “only two”, we will talk about our new friend and the gifts that we’re giving them and why. (As a potential future blog post, I may soon have some advice of how not to do this activity with a toddler, and room for improvement.)
- Kindness Ninjas: Years ago an unassuming sheet of paper slipped out of a canvas print delivery at the office. It was a sheet of Kindness Ninja slips to be cut out and dispersed with kindness! The point is to be kind and stealthy – like a ninja. Buy coffee for the person behind you at the drive in window, scrape your neighbor’s windshield on a snowy day, put quarters in an expired meter, etc. You can leave the slips of Kindness Ninja paper behind as a suggestion that they pass it on. Our favorite kindness ninja act is to go to a restaurant and select a fellow diner for whom we’ll secretly pay their bill. I don’t have a poker face, so we have to leave before the person gets their “bill” that is simply a Kindness Ninja slip instead. It is so fun to imagine the impact, and what that person might be inspired to do for someone else. We intend for our littlest ninja to grow in this tradition with us.
- Bake cookies for our friends and neighbors: I am not a baker. But somehow, last year I got a wild hair to bake 12 dozen cookies – 4 different kinds from scratch – and deliver them all in little treat bags to our friends and neighbors around the neighborhood. This year I’ll have “help” from Finnegan and we will do it again! Besides the neighbors we’ve befriended and talk to all the time, we delivered cookies to some neighbors we don’t know anything about other than that they’re elderly, and mostly or all alone. Our hope is that cookies with a friendly note on their doorstep is a welcome treat.
- The Annual Streck Family Lights award: I started this when Jeff and I started dating and he grudgingly complied. Now with a little one with big opinions, Jeff is fully on board and looking forward to it! The premise is simple. We turn an old tradition of driving around the neighborhood gazing at light displays into a friendly competition. We choose a winning house – based on very loose criteria – and put a box of chocolates on their doorstep with a card that only says something like: “Congratulations! You’ve won this year’s light display award!” and signed J, K &F.
Here’s hoping that as these busy days fly by, your holidays are full of kindness and love, both given and received.
Written by Kelly Streck, Director of Membership and Client Services at Spark the Change Colorado, and Mama of Finnegan