Sunday, December 1, 2013

25 Days of Giving

It's almost Christmas! I've been putting a lot of thought into what kinds of holiday traditions I want to begin this year for Ezzy. Growing up, my mom went all out to make sure Christmas was special and memorable. She did tons of baking and present giving and tree decorating and there was constantly holiday music playing in the background. I remember going through the toy catalog and circling all the toys I wanted (enough to gift an entire village, I'm sure) and then waking up to a mountain of presents under the tree. Looking back, I remember a few of the toys I got, and how fun it was to compare presents with my friends on Christmas day, but the parts that really stick in my mind are the family traditions: decorating sugar cookies, driving around to look at all the lit up houses, decorating our tree while listening to Christmas music, spending Christmas eve visiting family, and then spending Christmas day visiting with even more family, and finally capping off the day at the movie theater with my mom and brothers. So while I'm in no way saying that Ezzy isn't going to get presents for Christmas (he's the first grandchild, so I doubt he'll ever be lacking in the present department), I really want to put an emphasis on family activities and on giving, rather than receiving.

In addition to wanting to set a good example for Ezzy, I have so much to be thankful for, so I came up with the idea to try 25 Days of Giving this year. I'm not sure that this will be a yearly tradition, but I'm hoping to set a foundation of giving all year long, especially during the holidays. Also, keeping in mind that there are plenty of days that I don't even manage to wash my hair, I'm anticipating that there will be quite a few days when I don't do anything, followed by days where I'm able to cross four or five things off my list. I intend to blog at least once per week on the different giving activities we've done. To get myself started, I've come up with a bunch of ideas for giving back this holiday season:

Christmas Cards:
1. Cards for soldiers (deadline December 6th through Red Cross Holiday Mail for Heroes)
2. Cards for hospitalized children (deadline December 11th at Children's Hospital Los Angeles)
3. Cards to distribute through Meals on Wheels
4. Cards for seniors in assisted living homes

Feeding the Hungry:
5. Buy a few extra non-perishable items every time I'm at the store to donate to a local food pantry.
6. Make a casserole for a local soup kitchen.
7. Make brown bag lunches for local homeless.
8. Donate baby formula/diapers to local church or mom's shelter.
9. Donate dog/cat food to humane society.

Christmas Cookies for:
10. Mailman.
11. Fire department.
12. Police department.
13. Hospital workers.

For Children:
14. Toys for Tots (see website here).
15. Magazine subscriptions/books for CHLA (see guidelines here).
16. Toys for children's hospital (see guidelines here).

Clothing Donations:
17. Teens for Jeans - I happen to have about a dozen pairs of jeans that don't fit... (in partnership with Aeropostale, deadline February 16th, see info here).
18. Warm coat donation (drop off at Container Store, see more info here).
19. Clothing donations to Salvation Army and/or Planet Aid.

Random Acts of Kindness:
20. Good online reviews for our favorite businesses.
21. Leave extra big tips for barristas/servers.
22. Let someone cut in front of me in line.
23. Pay for coffee for the person behind me in line.
24. Bring flowers to the hospital to be distributed to random patients.

25. Donate change to all Salvation Army buckets.
26. Pick up trash when I see it.
27. Donate books/dvds to the library.
28. Sign petitions.

There's also still room on my list for donations to specific charities. St. Judes tugs at my heart, but I'm open to suggestions if anyone has a specific charity that is near and dear to them, message me or leave a comment to let me know! Also, for anyone who wants to explore this idea a bit further, here are a few blogs I came across that helped me out with charitable ideas and random acts of kindness:


  1. March of Dimes. They fund research to help premature babies. Near and dear to my family because of our favorite little red-headed premie.

    Wonderful ideas! I want to start a tradition where we pick a child's name off a tree. I have done it before, but this year I want the kids to help pick one.

    1. March of Dimes is a good one. I'll add it to my list. Children's charities really tug at my heart now, thanks to Ez. I was looking for one of those trees at our mall this past weekend and they don't have one. I'm going to try a different mall next week. I'm sure the kids will enjoy picking out names and gifts. That's a really good tradition to start.