Sunday, December 1, 2013

(Twelve Days of Christmas} Day 1: Giving

It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year!   Christmas is my favorite holiday, by far.  There's a feeling of excitement that comes over me in late fall that sticks around for several months.  Having two little boys only makes it more enjoyable, and I'm proud to say that my love of Christmas music was apparently hereditary, because my children love listening to it mid-April just as much as I do! (Sorry, Dan.)  I almost feel like my Christmas Craziness may have turned my husband into a bit of a Scrooge.  I mean, he loves it all too, but he's more of a "Christmas-music-ONLY-from-December-1st-25th" and "the-tree-goes-up-AFTER-December-1st" sort of guy.  Just twenty-five days? Bah Humbug.  He may have redeemed himself a tiny bit by getting our Christmas lights up on our pines trees outside before Thanksgiving!

I'm SUPER excited to bring you my FIRST EVER POST SERIES here on the blog!  The Twelve Days of Christmas.  I'm looking forward to sharing all sorts of holiday recipes, activity ideas and gift ideas to help you cruise through this enchanting season of festive hustle and bustle.  Stay tuned as I kick it all off today.

I planned on saving this specific post for later on in my Twelve Days, as it is more serious in nature, however due to the deadline (Dec. 6th - if you forget, dont worry - I'll say it a few more times) for something I'm about to mention, I had to do this one first.   It's probabaly the most important "day" in my series, as it doesn't involve what to get him, or her, or your favorite little ankle biters, what to take to the next gathering, what yummy cookies to bake or what to wear to the fanciest holiday soiree.

Day One is about Giving.

Here's a FANTASTIC, educational and spirited activity to do by yourself, with a group of friends, and especially with your little ones.  The American Red Cross is hosting Holiday Mail for Heroes.  You can send holiday greetings to local heroes and Service Members serving abroad.  You can package up a bunch, or just send one.  The Red Cross will determine which ones will get sent in care packages to active miltary members and which will be displayed in local hospitals providing treatment to Veterans.  There are some very specific directions that need to be followed (no inserts like photos, no glitter, etc.) when sending the card(s), so please check out the Red Cross link (and be sure to scroll all the way down) before sending cards to the follwoing address:

Holiday Mail for Heroes, P.O. Box 5456, Capitol Heights, MD 20791-5456

All cards MUST BE RECEIVED at this PO Box by DECEMBER 6th, so please hurry hurry hurry if you plan on doing this.   If you do participate, you along with others can share photos of your holiday greeting efforts on twitter, facebook and instagram with the hashtag HolidayMail (#holidaymail). Remember to get those cards in the mail so that they arrive in MD by December 6th.
Wesley decorated just shy of a dozen cards for "the Army guys and girls".  #proudmommoment
Charity is another excellent way of giving during the holiday season.  Choose a favorite national or local charity and give a little something if you are able.  Many stores ask you at the check out to add an extra dollar or two onto you bill to support local food shelters.  Take a name from a Giving Tree of a less fortunate family or a child (many churches/schools and stores do this - I just saw a tree full of names at our local wholesale shopping club) and try to help them out in some way during this holiday season.  Bake some dog treats and deliver them to a local animal shelter.  Have your kids collect their outgrown clothing and not-played-with-anymore toys and donate them to those less fortunate.  Knit a scarf or two and take them to a homeless shelter.  Buy someone on the street a hot cup of coffee.  Can you think of a better way to teach your children about caring and compassion for others?

What ways do you and your family Give during the holiday season?  Please share your ideas in the comments below!

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