December 12, 2013

The Kindess Calendar

While I’m basking in the warm sun and sand, I have some guest posts for you.  Up first is Lisha, an in real life friend and I love this idea that she shares in her post! I’m looking a forward to doing something like it with Munchkin when she gets older.  Curious to know more?  Keep reading!

Does your family have an annual December tradition?

We don't, yet. This year, I hoped to engage my 3 daughters in a Christmas-type daily activity - one that could potentially become a lasting tradition! However, I must confess that I am

a) not given to being creative (I am overly-practical, more serious than fun-loving, and a mathematician to boot. If it's not logical and/or productive, I'm not likely to think of it on my own) and
b) making messes with or for my daughters causes me to cringe a little (a lot, actually), and
c) I am very last-minute. As in, we started midway through the first week of December. (whoops.)

A few of my friends post photos of their daily Elf on the Shelf's antics, but my husband and I weren't terribly interested in going that route. Then I saw this pin about Kindness Elves, and really liked the idea!

So, the idea for our Kindness Calendar was born. And though we're not far into December, it has been a raging success with my daughters! It's not terribly messy, it's practical, it's great fun!, and costs as much or as little as you need it to.

Step 1: Create the calendar template. Ours was made with pink construction paper (E's choice) and black sharpie. Time invested: about 2 1/2 minutes. You could certainly print one out, or use posterboard, or...there are many possibilities.

kindness 1

Step 2: Fill in as many days as you want with the names of other people. I asked my girls who they would like to do kind things for. I did nothing to influence their answers; it was sweet to see who they thought of! A few friends, a few family members, and even people they run into in town (the librarian, for example!) They chose to fill up the entire month - I was glad to oblige because our days are not that busy. If you have a fuller schedule this time of year, do what works for your family. Maybe 2-3 days per week works better for you - this should be something to look forward to, not a burden or 'just another thing' to do.

kindness 2

Step 3: Help your kids brainstorm what 'kindness' is and looks like in action. Try to incorporate as many of their ideas as possible over the course of the month.

My girls came up with:
*baking bread/cookies
*making dinners
*sending cards in the mail
*drawing pictures/painting art
*picking some of their good toys to wrap up and give as presents
*creating jewelry
*calling on the phone to say hi

kindness 3

Step 4: Spread kindness! Today's activity was to make a loaf of cranberry-orange-almond bread for one of the young ladies at church whom they just adore (she's 12, and is such a blessing to our family!). Elizabeth did almost all of the mixing, pouring, and sprinkling the almonds on top. Abby made her a card. We'll deliver it tomorrow if we're able!

kindness 4

But wait!
What if I don't have kids?
You can make a kindness calendar for yourself! Even if it's setting aside one day each week to write a note, or buy flowers for, someone who has been on your mind. Or, if you're blessed to live close enough to a niece or nephew/grandchild, why not offer to start this up with them? It's a win-win - kindness to others and bonding time for you & some of your favorite young people!

What if we don't have a budget for this?
We don't have much of a budget, either. Maybe $2-3 per week from the grocery budget to spare, and another few dollars for postage. But even resolving to let your children make a phone call or send an email to a loved one will definitely brighten a day - for free!

What if we've already got too much on our plate right now?
Don't do it now! Entertain the notion of a Kindness Calendar in January or February - or any other time of year? Kindness isn't just applicable during the holidays. :)

The Christmas season serves as a reminder in our family that the loving kindness of God, and His great mercy toward us, is why Jesus left the glory of Heaven for the helpless form of a newborn baby. When we make showing kindness and serving others a lifestyle, we offer a glimpse of Jesus to the people around us!

Practicing kindness,
for His glory!

will and lisha Lisha has been married to Will for 9 1/2 years and has been a mom for almost 8 years to four children: three precious daughters here and a little one in Heaven! She blogs over at the 'Blish, hoping to lift high the name and grace of Jesus while encouraging others as she embraces her roles as wife, mom, homemaker, homeschooler, & redeemed and beloved daughter of the King.

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  1. What a great idea :) I may try to do something like this with Marshall next year when he understands what doing something for another means!

  2. I love this idea, Lisha. We have done something similar in the past, but it was a weekly thing where we blessed one person a week. I'm ashamed to say we stopped because Mommy got burned out, but tit was such a rewarding service project--and everyone, even the littlest child, could be involved. Thanks for sharing this!

  3. This is beautiful, I really think it's a unique way to approach Christmas. Pinning! :)

  4. I absolutely love this! What a great idea.

  5. This is a very fun idea! We have been trying to figure out ways to serve others each week, but this is a very neat way to add to it. I don't think I will try to add it to December but I think it would be a fun way to perk up January!

  6. Thank you, Amanda! Letting our little ones have hands-on experience with giving to another is such a powerful lesson :)

    Happy New Year!
    ~Lisha :)

  7. Thanks, Keri! I like the once a week idea, and we may continue doing that (rather than daily!) as we head into the new year. By the end of the month, it's been hard for me to keep up (especially since the girls wanted to do kind things the day before and the day after Christmas, and we were away from home); but once a week might work better for our family!

    Happy New Year, friend!

  8. Thank you, Stephanie! :) My girls got a lot out of being others-focused this month, instead of on themselves and what they'd get!

    Happy New Year!
    ~Lisha :)

  9. Thank you! It went really well, now that we're on the last day of the month! I saw my girls grow in thoughtfulness as a result and hope to continue doing this throughout the year (maybe weekly instead of daily, though!).

    Happy New Year!

  10. Thanks, Abbi! My daughters came up with some unique ideas - we made chicken noodle soup, homemade bread, handmade cards, headbands (the girls' first sewing project), and for one friend, they just invited her over to play with their favorite toys - as long as it was at all possible, I let them choose what we did. I hope that it's successful for you as you kick off 2014!

    Happy New Year!
    ~Lisha :)


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