Advent is upon us, and there are all sorts of fabulous ways to celebrate and prepare for the coming of our Savior. Like past years, we’ll light our Advent wreath each night and reflect on the mysteries of the season, count down to Christmas with Logan’s, Molly’s, and Trevor’s new toy Advent calendars, and read a new book together each night before we pray.

 

Ultimate Guide to RAK

 

This year, we’ll finally incorporate something I’ve wanted to do for a few years, and just haven’t taken the time to make happen. Each day of Advent, beginning this weekend, the kids and I {and Brian when he’s able} will “commit” at least one Random Act of Kindness {RAK} and then talk about it together over dinner.

While I have some definite ideas of what we’ll be doing to spread joy to our local community, family, friends, neighbors, and strangers, I’m open to new ideas, and have been checking out the many ways others have spread kindness over the past years and seasons. I have a Pinterest board that I’ll be adding to, and I’ve compiled here – to share along with iHomeschool Network’s 25 Days of Christmas Blog HopThe Ultimate Guide to Random Acts of Kindness.

 

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Inspiration

As I was searching the web {like any good researcher/blogger/mama does before beginning a new project},  I came across lots of wonderfully inspiring posts that shared a family’s {or individual’s} own acts of kindness. To kick off , and get us all in the spirit, I share some here:

  • Jenn from Daze of Adventure spent her birthday one year sharing kindness with others. I adore how her whole family got into it.
  • On her 32nd birthday, Katie from It’s Hue I Love performed an act of kindness per year, and encouraged her friends to do the same in honor of her special day, then text her about it.
  • Birthdays seem to be a theme, and Kendra at Southern Disposition was no different. On her 30th birthday, she and her daughter went out to do 30 intentional acts of kindness. As I reread this post before linking here, I had to wipe my eyes a few times. Grab a tissue before clicking.
  • Kimberly from Hello My Name is Kimberly shares the 29 “Random Acts of Kimberly” she did in NYC when she turned 29.
  • On her birthday, the blogger at What a Ride shared RAK with people around her community.
  • Robyn from Mix Mingle Glow seems to have gotten the birthday party started with her 38 Acts of Robyn. I just love the photography here.
  • Fabulous pictures and a printable accompany this inspiring post from Lindsey at Pillow Thought about the Random Acts of Christmas Kindness she and her family made happen.

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Planning Your RAK

Now that you’re inspired {and realizing that Advent begins THIS weekend}, here are some amazing lists, ideas, printables, and other resources to help you plan your RAK Attacks:

  • Last year, The Koetting Family brainstormed this list of fun things they could do as a family.
  • Marci Coombs posts a fun service scavenger hunt her youth group did last summer that could easily be adapted for Christmas Kindnesses.
  • I absolutely adore the 100+ ways your family can make a difference shared by We Are That Family.
  • Ticia from Adventures in Mommydom shares a few wonderful acts of service she and her kids have done.
  • In her 2011 series about instilling values in children, Cindy at Our Journey Westward shares some service projects and ideas that can be added to the list you’re compiling.
  • After asking her readers for ideas, one of my favorite bloggers, Kris from Weird, Unsocialized Homeschoolers compiled 50 RAK ideas you can just print and use!
  • At the site Christmas Your Way, you can print an Advent calendar ready-to-go with enough Random Acts of Kindness to get you through the season without a lot of preplanning.
  • Kristy’s Corner shares a list of ideas to get you started on RACK {Random Acts of Christmas Kindness}.
  • An editorial in the Livingston County News shares some more ideas for RACK.
  • Angela at Every Day Road to Healthy shares a tutorial for creating a RACK Advent calendar out of toilet paper rolls and colorful scrapbook paper, and includes ideas for each day.
  • I love this Secret Service activity from The Fickle Pickle – I think I’ll hold it in reserve for a summertime revisit to RAK.
  • Out for a run one day, “Nice Guy” found a folded piece of paper that had a note on it – “Pick me up – I’m Yours”.” Inside was a $100 bill with another note, “This is for you, hope you have a wonderful day.” He was inspired to use it to bless others $2 at a time. This shares some of his actions.
  • Courtney at Lil Light O Mine has you covered with tons of ideas, pictures, and printables to help you “Light Up” your community with Christmas kindness.
  • Amy from Mama Scout “kind bombed” the library with her kids by having them write and hide messages of encouragement and praise in children’s books.
  • Here are 25 more ideas for you to choose from by Kristina at A Faithful Walk.
  • Tracie from TSJ Photography shares photos, printables, and ideas for your own RACK celebrations.
  • Katherine Marie from Katherine Marie’s Photography shares her simple Advent RACK countdown along with each of the missions she and her children performed throughout the month. I love the sweet gift bags holding each numbered mission.

 

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Celebrate with Us

So, what do you do with all of this inspiration and practical know-how?

You act – plain and simple.

While it may look like we’re crazy-busy to those who know us or read this blog, what we really are is crazy-blessed:

  • We are healthy, happy, clothed, fed, and loved.
  • We have more than we need, and enjoy each other’s company.
  • We are preparing for the celebration of our Savior’s birth, and the birth of another little Kessler.
  • We are learning to appreciate what we have, and share our blessings with those who are not as fortunate.
  • We are also learning to be more purposeful in cultivating a servant’s heart – all of us: me, Brian, Trevor, Molly, and Logan.
  • We are called to serve.

We’re using Advent this year – and the accountability of the blog – to share our own Random Acts of Kindness with others, though some of our activities will be intentional on our part, we’re hoping that they feel random and special to those we are able to bless.

Some of the things the kids and I have decided to do {in no particular order} are:

  • Bring cookies to our Priest on this first Sunday of Advent – with enough to share with all of the amazing people who work so hard to make our parish amazing.
  • Visit with two of Brian’s aunts {on separate days} and bring them lunch and sweet treats.
  • Leave inexpensive toys for our new neighborhood friends inside their screen door when they’re not home so we can stay anonymous.
  • Tape quarters to any candy machines we run across.
  • Hide dollar bills in Target’s Dollar Spot and in the toy aisle of The Dollar Tree.
  • Buy a dozen Mylar balloons at The Dollar Tree and pass them out to kids at area stores and restaurants.
  • Go to Chik-fil-A for lunch {a RAK from me to the kids} and before we leave buy ice cream for any kids that are there.
  • Bake treats and take them to the police station with thank you cards for the service our officers provide.
  • Visit my brother-in-law at the fire station when he’s working {shhh!} and bring enough cookies and snacks for him and his buddies.
  • Write chalk messages on neighbor’s driveways.
  • Buy a big bouquet of flowers at the wholesale club, then give one each to random shoppers and workers.
  • Buy coffee for outside workers we come across.
  • Deliver flowers to the nurses at our local hospital while dropping off coloring books and crayons to various waiting rooms.
  • Make cards for nursing home residents and deliver them.
  • Send some Christmas cards to soldiers.
  • Run out on trash day with warm cocoa and a gift for our trash collector.
  • Tape a treat and a card to our mailbox for our mailman.
  • Host a few “playdates” so parents of our kids’ friends can go Christmas shopping in peace.
  • Visit the kids’ pediatrician and bring cookies for the whole staff.
  • Do something special for our favorite pediatric dentist.
  • Hold doors for people at stores.
  • Donate toys and clothes to a shelter.
  • Go to the animal shelter to donate food and toys for the dogs and cats, and pet a few.
  • Keep a “RAK” Basket” in the car with cards {we’ll use the printable below – feel free to use it or one from the lists above}, tape, quarters, candy bars, and other miscellaneous items for situations that come up as we get in the habit of spreading kindness.

Printed Acts of Kindness Cards

 

I’m looking forward to this adventure of giving. Want to follow along – or better yet, join us? I’ll share a wrap-up post on Friday or Saturday each week during Advent to let you know how we did with our Random Acts of Kindness. I’ll also be sharing via Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter. Feel free to check out our posts and pictures, and add your own comments and links to things you’re doing. I’d love to share in your kindnesses as well.

Be sure to follow along on the 25 Days of Christmas Blog Hop, too. It’s amazing how interrelated the ideas actually are. Maybe you could host a movie night to share one of the Ultimate Christmas Movies with some friends, or pull one of the Ultimate Christmas Books off the shelf of your local library or bookstore and read to the children in the area. Any of the other “Ultimate” Christmas posts may inspire amazing acts of kindness – for you to use to bless others in the community, or in your own home.

Whatever you choose to do, remember the reason we celebrate Christmas and how important the preparation of Advent is. Prepare your heart and those of your children, and you’ll be blessed beyond your dreams. Rest in and enjoy this season.

Colleen Kessler

Colleen is an explorer, tinkerer, educator, writer, creator, and a passionate advocate for the needs of gifted and twice-exceptional children. She has a B.S. in elementary education, a M.Ed. in gifted studies, is a sought-after national speaker and educational consultant, and is the founder of the popular blog and podcast Raising Lifelong Learners, as well as Raising Poppies, a community of support for parents of gifted children. She lives in northeast Ohio with her four bright and quirky kiddos, patient husband, and ever-changing collection of small reptiles, mammals, and insects.