Last week was a wonderful week! I like to think I try and be kind to people and help where I can but this challenge really IS a challenge and it made me look in new places and stretch my imagination further than usual. Doing it I started to think I don't really do anywhere near what I could be doing and I could be doing so much more. Big and small. After one week it's prompted a review of what we do and what we could be doing and some plans for next year. It is also full of demonstrations that giving doesn't have to be about money. In fact handing over the credit card giving can leave you wondering who gets the money and experiencing none of the joy of giving yourself. It has been a really good exercise for me, so far!
And fun too. Each evening my husband and I sit outside and talk about our days. So the evenings have become a chat about our random acts of kindness and some of the things that happened this week were beautful. Then we plan and plot other ideas! Really a lot of fun and the feeling of the Christmas spirit has grown each day.
Andy seems to have an natural aptitude for giving things away so two nights while we talked I sat there and bagged up lollies (one night) and shortbread (the other night) I just bought a huge bulk bag of Christmas sweets and two huge boxes of shortbread to do this. With pretty cellophane and red ribbons it looked Christmassy. Well, they were enough to be a success as each night Andy came home with stories of who he gave them to and of praising up and thanking different people he thinks are amazing and of talking to some homeless people and just nice things.
One of the highlights for me was my afternoon at the nursing home. I headed off with a little Christmas tree I bought for $5 and a few decorations. I know Kath had not had her own Christmas tree for many years. And there are no decorations in their rooms at all. Firstly I had to hope she would be there and she was. She was so excited just to see me. I said "I am going to decorate your room for Christmas". This alone was beyond her comprehension. So as we chatted I unpacked the little tree and fluffed it out and it went from looking like a stick to a really nice little tree!
Earlier Kath had told me she loves angels and I made her some angel wings and hung them on at the end. She just loved them and couldn't believe I made them for her!
Once that was all up I said to her now she only needs some presents under the tree and I had brought with me a gift basket I had made up over recent weeks. Kath uses a certain type of hair clips, I had managed to get those, and other little treats. So I sat the basket next to the tree.
I pretty much lived off her reaction for days. It was lovely.
Another lady we visit, Wilma, I decorated her room with tinsel and she also got a gift basket. I tried to make the baskets look pretty and cheerful. She was equally amazed. I noticed she had not one decoration or card. And the home had no decorations that I saw. Andy is following up, going in there himself for a Christmas visit and he has several men he talks to there as well. They discuss football and cars as far as I can tell. So he will go in with a goodie basket to spread around in a week or so.
During the week was it was our neighbours (over the road) birthday. I knew she had a difficult day and I used ribbons left over from the wedding to add bows to her letter box. They blew in the breeze and looked lovely. I just added a card. Well, she loved it!
Each day was filled with something special because of this challenge, thank you Janine!
This challenge would be the right prescription for anyone not feeling Christmassy. It is just wonderful and makes you step outside of what you normally do to think and see new things. Last week I found myself speaking to new people, getting to know others better and keeping my eyes open, wider than usual. And counting my blessings more than usual.
Now I am excited about this week!
I think, somewhere along the line, we came to believe that giving involved large cash donations. It became corporate style giving. It removed the giving from our hands and we paid someone else to do it! Well, thats how it seems to me. We don't have to have large amounts of money to give. Small acts of kindness and help are giving. And we get to experience the joy. Mother Theresa said "Not all of us can do great things. But we can do small things with great love"
Just go out and do small things with great love. That's it. It will be the best Christmas!