“No act of kindness, no matter how small, is ever wasted.” -Aesop
Merry Christmas Eve everyone! In the spirit of the season, I wanted to share a little bit about a few things we did this year to help instill in the kids that the true essence of Christmas is not just the mad rush of opening and amassing presents, but in the sharing with and giving to others.
Inspired by an awesome post by another Mom in a facebook group about her family’s Random Acts of Kindness, I talked with the boys about ways we could show kindness to others this season. They were very excited to participate. I read them a long list of Kindness Ideas this Mom had provided. Unsurprisingly, the kids were immediately drawn to the ones that involved animals. They also were super excited about making treats to share with our neighbors (especially the neighbor kids they love to play with).
First we started by making big batches of treats to share. This included a delicious, very buttery Chex Mix, a huge double batch of pillowy soft Cream Cheese Chocolate Chip Cookies, and Sweet Glazed Popcorn.
We contacted a couple of animal rescues to ask about ways we could help. The Dakota Dachshund Rescue said their dogs can always use toys, and they also invited the boys to come down to a Meet and Greet they were having so that the kids could walk the dogs and show off to prospective adopters how friendly and gentle the dogs were with kids. The boys were SUPER excited about this!! We made some handcrafted felt “dog bone” toys and put together a big basket of treats to share with all of the dog foster families who were working at the event. The boys also made cards for the foster families that said “Thank you for loving dogs.” And “Thank you for rescuing dogs and giving them bones.” They had an awesome time giving their presents away and also walking the dogs. They are both huge animal lovers and always say they are planning to be “animal doctors” or “animal rescuers” when they grow up.
We also planned a trip to the Sioux Falls Humane Society to “pet cats” as the kids said. The staff at the Humane Society told us the cats ALWAYS need extra attention, especially the older ones. The kids were very excited about getting to play with the cats since Wyatt is allergic so we don’t spend very much time around cats otherwise. We put together a bag of cookies for the Humane Society staff and made cards that said “Thank you for rescuing animals” and “Thank you for our rats” (we adopted the kids’ two pet rats at the Humane Society). We also brought a 50# bag of dog food as a donation. The staff at the Humane Society awarded the kids with “Certificates of Appreciation” which made the kids just beam!
We also made a big basket of treats and the kids took them around and delivered them to our neighbors and friends. They loved having people open the door and the kids would shout “Merry Christmas!” and deliver the treats.
I am so glad we did this as part of our holiday celebrations this year. It was wonderful for the kids to get to choose what they wanted to do and I think it really made an impression on them about what having the “Christmas Spirit” is all about.
Helping animals this year also touched my heart greatly as our little Pancho dog has been dealing with some serious health issues since about 6 weeks ago. At 13 1/2 years old he has been in and out of the vet’s office, on medications, and even overnight at the ER vet. Eventually our vet told us there was only so much we could do anymore. We processed that we likely have only a short time with him anymore and have been doing everything in our power to keep him comfortable fed, hydrated, and very, very loved. Being able to channel some of our energy into helping other rescue animals felt fitting in honor of Pancho’s life. (Pancho was rescued from an abusive situation and placed at the Missoula Humane Society at age 3, where we adopted him 10 years ago). Pancho passed away at home with Wyatt and I at his side the very same day we finished up with our Acts of Kindness at Humane Society. He spirit is now free of suffering and running free in the Great Beyond with his fur brother Reuben. Our hearts are very tender right now and we have been keeping the memory of his spirit alive by placing a flickering candle on his bed and near a piece of art that inspired his name.
May you have a wonderful Christmas and be filled with the spirit of sharing, giving, and love. May you hold your loved ones tight. May you be generous and kind. May you be thankful for all you have and let a spirit of gratitude and joy come into your hearts. This is your wonderful chance at life. It’s worth it to be kind to our neighbors, our friends, strangers, and the little creatures of the world. Amen.