It’s Christmas Eve – the day before the big day! I’m finishing up some last minute shopping before hitting the road to visit my fam, (majorly procrastinated this year!), how about you? Hopefully you did the complete opposite and completed all of your tasks super early and are now able to chill-ax (i.e., chill + relax). I’ll get there one day….actually, scratch that – I look forward to not having to get there one day. And by that, I mean that I really want to institute some different Christmas traditions among my close friends and fam, ones that deviate from the consumerism normally associated with this time of the year and instead focus on what Christmas really is about. Honestly, I have everything I need….and a lot of what I want – and would be completely fine with not receiving gifts, and instead having that money (& shopping time) allocated elsewhere. Now I’m not sure how on board other’s would be about my seemingly radical ideas – but here are some that I would like to see done, collectively, one year:
- Kiva – If you’ve never heard of Kiva before, consider yourself informed 🙂 This organization is the world’s first online lending platform connecting online lenders to entrepreneurs around the globe, to help fund business ventures and alleviate poverty. You can select the borrower of your choice and lend as little as $25 towards their efforts. It’s an easy and impactful way to spend Christmas funds, and you will receive your initial loan back to re-lend to another borrower, to donate to Kiva for operating costs, or you can withdraw via Paypal.
- Adopt a family – There are formal as well as informal ways to accomplish this category. Formally, there are organizations in place that will connect you to families in need, like the Salvation Army’s ‘Adopt a Family’ Program. Some churches also have a formalized process for giving to families. Informally, you could also organize a more personal approach to give to a family that you know – in the form of paying a needed bill or buying Christmas toys for children. If this is the desired method, having a clear means of communicating with the family about their needs and reaching an agreement about the need that will be met is a good starting point.
- Volunteer – Dosomething.org is an excellent resource for volunteer opportunities, from serving in a soup kitchen, to helping out in an animal shelter, picking up trash, etc. Wherever your interest lies, you might be able to find a volunteer opportunity that fits. But if not, you could always create your own volunteer experience by connecting personally with an organization that fits your interest.
- Random acts of Kindness – Ok, technically, this category should extend to the entire year and not just during the Christmas season. But random acts of kindness are just that – doing something kind for someone else. Are you like G. Garvin in the kitchen (the crush I had on that man……or maybe the crush stemmed from the fact that he simply could cook….and if I were with him, I wouldn’t have to….WINNING!)? If so, whip up that dish and give it to someone you know who would like it – just because. Standing behind someone in the check-out line who seems stressed over a bill amount that you know you could afford? Offer to pay for their purchases! I witnessed this very act this week, and to call it beautiful would be an understatement 🙂 Now random acts don’t have to be uber-expensive either. They could be as simple as holding the door open for others longer than what would be considered normal, returning your cart after shopping to the inside of the store *gasp*, or saying ‘Hi!’ with a genuine smile to everyone that you come across on a given day….something I would’ve considered (more) weird before moving to the south. Actually, out of all the things my sister and I have done for my mom for her birthday, the one that she reminds us of the most was also one of the simplest – the year we snuck home when she and my dad were out of town and cleaned the entire house. So yeah, simple random acts of kindness and consideration can go a long way and majorly brighten someone’s day!
I’m looking forward to stepping up or starting to act on these areas for next year! However you’re spending your Christmas, I hope that you are continually reminded that you are loved 🙂 Have a fabu Christmas Eve.