The Twelve Days of Christmas
Ever feel like things are not going the way you hoped they would? Maybe you find yourself too busy to enjoy Christmas or circumstances are robbing you of the joy of Christmas? It can be easy to play the woe is me card, especially this time of year. I have found the best way to feel better is to focus on others, not ourselves. When I was really sick in the throes of my brain disease years ago, the youth group from our church surprised our family. They came and put up Christmas lights outside our house, brought gifts for the kids, sweet Christmas treats and even sang carols. It was a blessing and experience I will never forget. It changed the way I saw the season because I EXPERIENCED it through the lens of someone hurting and in need.The following year, we decided we would give Christmas away. We have done it different every year. This year, I thought I would share with you 12 WAYS YOU CAN GIVE CHRISTMAS AWAY as we count down these last twelve days until Christmas.
Day 12: Pay Off Someone’s Layaway
We have saved quarters in a jar for as long as I think I’ve been married. We’ve used them for trip spending money, date nights and quick hot lunch money when I’ve forgotten to put money in my kid’s school lunch account, (oops!) This year we have maybe $100.00. Not a lot but enough to help give Christmas away to someone who could use it. This year we’ll head to a local Walmart’s Layaway department and use it to pay off someone’s Christmas gifts they’ve put on layaway.
Day 11: Leave A Big Tip
I was raised by a single mom who was a waitress for many years. She relied on her tips to buy us Christmas presents each year and each year she worried if she would make enough to give us a Christmas at all. When I was an adult, she shared with me “big tip” stories. One story always sticks out. It happened to be a cold winter and my sister and I really needed heavy winter coats but there was no money to buy them. One evening someone gave my mom a hundred dollar tip. She was able to use it to buy my sister and I those winter coats. There was even money left over for her to buy us a few Christmas presents. You may not be able to afford a hundred dollar tip, so give what you can afford to give. It WILL make a difference!
Day 10: Doorbell Ditch
Know of a family or someone struggling this Christmas? Maybe they’ve lost a loved one and this will be their first Christmas without them, or a friend who lost their job, so Christmas will be tight. Purchase some groceries or gifts for their kids, maybe some homemade Christmas cookies… anything you think will bring encouragement or joy. Put what you bought on their front door steps, ring the doorbell then RUN! Note to self: Have someone in the getaway car ready to flee once you’re back in the car or they will know it was you! I may or may not have learned this the hard way.
Day 9: Pay it Backward
Has there been someone in your life who did something for you that made a lasting impression in your life? Send them a card this Christmas thanking them for what they did and share the impact it had on you. What a sweet gift that will be for them.
Day 8: Give To A Charity
We give monthly to different charities but a few years back we wanted our kids to understand how blessed they were and how important it is to give toward something of significance. So they chose to use money from recycling cans to purchase something tangible for a village in Africa. We let them pick from a catalog and they chose to buy a goat but they both really wanted them to have chickens too, so they offered up money from their piggly banks and we were able to purchase them chickens as well. If this is something you may be interested in, I’ve included the link to this years catalogue here: Compassion Gift Catalog
Another organization very dear to us is Exile International started by new friends here in Tennessee. They work with children of war in Uganda and the Congo; child soldiers, young girls used as sex slaves, and orphans. They work to restore these child survivors of war, physically, emotionally and spiritually to become agents for peace.
Day 7: Give The Gift Of Yourself
We are all gifted in different ways. If you’re a handy fix-it guy, like my husband, then use your handy-dandy skills to fix something for that widow or single parent who can’t do it. If you’re musical, get a group together and do some caroling to some people who could use the cheer. Maybe you have the gift of compassion and listening or a prayer warrior, lend your listening ear to someone who needs to just vent, needs a shoulder to cry on or someone to pray for them.
Day 6: Give the Gift of Memories
It’s so easy to plan Christmas around gift giving. Be purposeful to put effort into building memories with your kids and family. I can’t wait until my kids get here on the 23rd. I’ve put together things we are going to do to build memories. Mike and I are not getting each other gifts this year, instead we are putting it toward building memories with Ethan and Jordan. We are making a trip to Memphis to hit up some Jazz/Blues clubs and find all the best BBQ…we all LOVE music and food. 🙂 We will be doing a scavenger hunt through Nashville, finding as many Christmas light tours/maps as my kids will let me, golfing, watching movies, and playing games at home. I know my kids will remember our Christmas time together five years from now more than they will ever remember the gifts they had under the tree.
Day 5: Give The Gift of Forgiveness
Do you have a family member, co-worker, or friend you’ve had a falling out with? Christmas time can make it hard to keep those hurts buried because we know we won’t be getting a Christmas card from them or there might be an empty seat at the Christmas table. Whatever the circumstance, it can hit us hard this time of year. One of the best ways to give Christmas away is to let go of the hurt and forgive that person. You don’t even have to let them know you forgive them. You are only responsible for you, so you don’t even need to let them know you forgive them. This is for YOU. You will feel SO much better when you let that hurt/burden go…trust me, I’ve been there. But last year, it was one of the best gifts I ever gave myself.
Day 4: Give The Gift of Thanking Someone By Name
One day I spent the day with my son Ethan and I noticed everywhere we went, Ethan would thank people by name. He did it at lunch, Target and then the grocery store. Every time he did it, it positively affected the person he thanked. How’d he know their name? He looked at their name tag. He was purposeful in noticing the name tags of the workers everywhere we went. Callings someone by name shows them they were noticed and time was taken to purposefully thank them. Giving someone the gift of being noticed will cost you NOTHING but is priceless to the person receiving it.
Day 3: Give Your Favorite Book Away
Do you have a book that made a huge impact on your life, or was a great escape from the real world? Give someone that book for Christmas. I have a few favorite books I have recently given away.
Uninvited by Lysa Terkeurst So many of her quotes in this book speak to me in HUGE ways.
Choosing Real by Bekah Jane Pogue a sweet friend who’s life experience has given her great insight to heart and soul care.
Riders of the Realm by Jennifer Lynn Alvarez another friend and rock star author for middle graders. Great action escape book for young readers. Her books have awesome take-aways with relatable life lessons that are age appropriate.
Day 2: Give The Gift Of Sweets
Who can resist Christmas treats? My family looks forward each year to Mike’s sister Shari’s Christmas cookies. One year she wasn’t sure she was going to make them and we all told her it wasn’t Christmas without her cookies. This year, it will be the first Christmas since I have been married that we won’t be together at all. So, Shari is mailing us her Christmas cookies. I can’t wait to get them. Christmas treats are a great way to give Christmas away!
Day 2: Give The Gift Of Time
Giving Christmas away doesn’t have to cost a penny. The one thing we can’t get back, return or has to cost financially is time. GIving of your time is FREE! What can you do that would cost you nothing financially? Offer to wrap presents or do errands for someone who is struggling with their health. I once heard a story of a dad who would wake his kids early in the morning on days it snowed and they would go to homes of elderly neighbors and shovel snow. When their neighbor woke they had the walkways of their driveways cleared. There are so many opportunities to bless others without it having to be purchased.
Day 1: Give The Gift Of Jesus
For me, Christmas is so much more than the giving of gifts, Christmas lights and Christmas trees. It’s a celebration of the birth of Jesus, the savior of the world. Every year when my kids were little, I bought a children’s book that shared the true meaning of Christmas in different ways but always through the eyes of a child. I displayed it all month and before they went to bed on Christmas Eve, I would read it to them. They saw it on the book stand all month, anxious to have it read to them. It was a great way to bring the real meaning of Christmas; Jesus not Santa into perspective. A few of our favorite books are linked below:
These are only a few of the ways we have given Christmas away. But there are so many opportunities to give Christmas away, you just have to be purposeful to find them. I know when you choose to give Christmas away, regardless of your circumstance, it will make this Christmas season so much more meaningful!
Peach and Joy Friends!