Editor's note: This article first published in the December 2019 edition of "The Courier," a newsletter of First Baptist Church Hamilton.
By Pastor Dan Clemens
I’ll be honest. I’ve had trouble writing this article for the Christmas Season. I want to be positive about Christmas, but there is so much negative. “It’s the most wonderful time of the year!” I cringe at what Christmas has become. Let’s take Christmas back!
I came across this article about a “Random Acts of Kindness Calendar,” and it helped me focus:
It’s easy to get wrapped up in the commercialism of the Christmas season – you know, the gifts, the shopping, the parties…. And while it’s certainly OK to let yourself indulge in some of those things, it’s also good to take a step back and celebrate the meaning of the season. One way you can embrace this is using a Random Acts of Christmas Kindness Advent Calendar!
The idea is to create your own Christmas advent/preparation calendar. (I’ve edited the list a bit and added a few ideas of my own.) Pick 24 items from the lists below and fill in your own calendar to help you “Remember the Reason for the Season!” Here are some suggestions that were made:
Random Acts of Christmas Kindness ideas for kids
Here are some sample acts of kindness for kids and families that would be great on your kindness advent calendar. Some might be able to be completed by the child alone, and others will need to be done together with mom or dad.
• Make a card for a soldier (we have used Operation Christmas Cards for Troops Overseas in the past – read the pinned Facebook post for exactly how to do it, and note that this needs to be sent out by December 1st!)
• Bake a treat for a neighbor, policeman, or fireman.
• Choose one toy to donate.
• Write your teacher a note about how they help you.
• Do a chore for someone.
• Let someone go ahead of you in line.
• Help a neighbor with a chore or errand.
• Clean up litter outside (with gloves and with a grownup!).
• Visit a long-term care center (with mom or dad) and have dinner with one of the elderly residents.
• Hold the door open for someone.
• Write a note to your friend.
• Make Christmas cards for your neighbor.
• Give someone a nice compliment.
• Call Grandma or Grandpa and say hi.
• Tell jokes to someone who needs a laugh.
• Tape packages of popcorn to a RedBox machine.
• Hand out candy canes to people (with mom or dad) in the grocery store parking lot.
• Help put all the carts back in the cart corral in the grocery store parking lot.
• Make a present for a friend (anything from a beaded bracelet to an ornament to a drawing!)
• Donate a few books to the library.
• Set aside food to donate to the food bank (with mom or dad’s help).
• Cook (or help cook, depending on age) dinner for the family.
Random Acts of Christmas Kindness ideas for adults
If you’re an adult looking to do some of these random acts of Christmas kindness on your own, here are a few more ideas:
• Donate food (or money) to a food bank.
• Leave an extra big tip at a restaurant or coffee shop.
• Knit a scarf for someone who is homeless or in a shelter.
• Do a major purge and donate all the items that are in good shape (avoid donating ripped/stained/broken things – you’d be surprised how much time people in donation centers spend sorting through unusable things).
• Adopt a child to buy gifts for at Christmas.
• Volunteer to read stories at the library, in your child’s classroom, or at a family shelter.
• Create a candy wreath so your neighbors can snip a snack whenever they walk by.
• Pay for the person behind you at the coffee shop.
• Buy a hot chocolate or coffee for the Salvation Army bell ringers who stand outside all day.
• On Christmas Eve, head over to an all night drugstore like CVS or Walgreens and bring the cashier a little surprise (like a box of chocolates). It’s no fun working on the holidays, and it’ll brighten their night!
• Set a box outside the house with drinks and pre-packaged snacks for the mailman, UPS guy, and FedEx guy. With all the packages they deliver throughout December, they’ll appreciate the small token of gratitude.
• Leave extra coupons at the grocery store right next to the item to unexpectedly help other shoppers.
• Donate blood.
• Do you have small businesses that you frequently visit? Leave them a great review on Facebook or Yelp.
• Tape candy canes and happy notes in random places.
• Send a surprise present in the mail to someone who wasn’t expecting it.
• Make a freezer meal dinner for a new mom or a stressed out friend.
• Babysit a friend’s kids for free to help her/him out.
• Ask to speak to a manager at a restaurant or store – and give a giant compliment about the store and/or one of the employees. So often people only speak to a manager to complain, so going out of your way to compliment the store or employees is unexpected and awesome.
Acts to keep Christ in Christmas
• Have a nativity/creche as the center piece of your home Christmas decorations.
• Read daily Bible passages from the lectionary (Source: https://lectionary.library.vanderbilt.edu/daily.php?year=A#id1)
• Use Christian-themed ornaments on your tree
• Go Christmas-caroling to shut-ins or at a nursing home
• Start Dec. 1 reading a chapter in Luke every day until Christmas … you will finish the whole story of Jesus on Christmas Eve.
• Commit to be in worship every Sunday in December.
• Give a “Christmas gift for Jesus” through the Christmas Offering.
• Attend the Christmas Eve Eve (12/23), or Christmas Candlelight Eve (12/24) service with your family and bring a friend.
• Find out who Santa Clause (Saint Nickolas) really was. (youtube.com/watch?v=BgpFPSMYCm4)
You can make your Christmas more Christ-centered and kind this year by committing yourself to act like Christmas!
Be the Light,