Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Random Acts of Kindness

I admit it. I'm a sap for a good heartfelt story. I'm not a cry at a Hallmark commercial kind of gal, but tell me a true story about something someone did in memory of someone special or simply to be a better person and I'll tear up every time. Let me tell you more about why I'm posting this. First, my disclaimer statement: It is not my intention to be exclusive to Christians in this post. I recognize each person has his or her own beliefs and I respect and honor each of your rights to choose those beliefs. My family, however, is Christian and we celebrate Christmas, so for ease in writing this post, I will be speaking about Christmas.

I think most people would agree that holidays have become more commercialized, especially Christmas. If you are a parent whose children have access to any other children or media, you especially know what I'm talking about. It is very hard to separate the true meaning of Christmas from the advertising of it. I feel thankful we don't have cable TV and watch almost no TV in our house. It has helped prevent some of the "gimmes" with the kids.

This year has been different with the holiday for a couple of reasons. My oldest daughter is 3-1/2 and is old enough to understand beyond the tree, lights and Santa. My youngest is 1-1/2 and actually will appreciate a gift instead of the box and wrapping paper. BUT, for the first time since I was a kid, we've been talking about the meaning behind Christmas. My oldest goes to a Christian pre-school and learns Bible lessons each day. They've been learning the story of baby Jesus, singing Christmas songs and gearing up for the Christmas program (which this mama is so excited to see!). Talking about Christmas with her and having the focus be on celebrating Jesus' birthday (her words) has helped bring the focus back to the reason for the season for all of us. She gets as excited when she sees a nativity scene as she does when she sees a decorated tree.

We know that Christmas has become a time of sharing gifts. Most of us exchange gifts with the people we love. Many of us purchase and donate gifts to people we don't even know. For years my girlfriends and I adopted angels instead of exchanging gifts amongst ourselves. When I was a retail store manager, I asked my sales associates to buy a book so we could donate books to children in the community. Some people do random acts of kindness and ask that the recipient pay it forward. This weekend alone, I saw a quarter taped to a vending machine labeled "random act of kindness." In a bathroom in another store across town, there was a bag with some diapers and wipes and a card offering these to a mom who might need them. I read a story in this morning's paper about a white envelope on a tree. A woman began this tradition in the 80s where she did something nice for someone or made a donation to someone in need. She wrote down her gesture (and sealed in a white envelope) and gave it to her husband as his Christmas gift. This became the cornerstone of this family's Christmas tradition.

All of this generosity got me thinking: What can I do to make someone else's Christmas better? I may not be financially able to adopt an angel or donate money to charity, but I do have creative skills and supplies to make a special treat for a special child. I've seen others do something similar to this in the past, so the idea isn't mine. I'm just hoping to make a little one's holiday brighter. Here's the plan:

I will be taking nominations for one week (starting now). This nomination should include the name, address and story of a little girl who deserves a holiday princess treat. Next Tuesday (December 13), I will select from the entries one child who will receive a handmade princess tutu and matching hair bow (see picture for example). This will be mailed to the winning child as an anonymous gift (or from Santa if you would prefer). All nominations should be emailed to carliacreations@gmail.com. The winner will be announced on this blog and on my Carlia Creations facebook page (after the gift has been received). You may submit as many nominations as you want, however each nomination should be a separate email and only one nomination per child. This is open to any child living in the United States. If this is for a child who celebrates a holiday other than Christmas, please provide me with that information so I can wrap and send accordingly.

I looke forward to reading your submissions and sharing my little piece of holiday joy!

1 comment:

  1. I love this Leslie. You have a great heart and I love that while you are speaking of your own faith, you do not exclude others. One of the many reasons why I love you. It will be a lucky little gal indeed who gets your gift. -Nicky Ziemann-Dow :)