|December 16, 2011 --- Things aren't looking good. Barely any decorations on the tree.|
Shown above is a large Christmas tree purchased at Target for $5 last year in a countdown to Christmas kit. I purchased additional stickers from their scrapbooking aisle (the bulbs, ornaments, and candy canes) to decorate the tree with to make it festive and bright and with an eye on bringing some Christmas cheer into the house.
Bear in mind, if no kits are available this year, you can buy green foam at a craft store or even smaller ones, if you want individual trees. We all participated and each day we tallied up the goodness and put decorations on the tree. We all wanted the tree to look well decorated before Christmas arrived.
You might recall that at Thanksgiving last year, I lost my mom to cancer. It definitely affected my mood and the mood of the whole household. I was struggling to get some Christmas joy into my kids, not to mention save my sanity as I began the long journey of grief. The holidays were a hard time for me and I didn't want my grief to dampen the spirits of everyone else. So while shopping at Target last year, an idea for the Christmas Kindness Tree was born.
Christmas Kindness Tree: The Decorations
I awarded Candy Cane stickers to be placed on the tree for prayers said for others. It's a busy time of year and I wanted our family to focus still on our prayer life. Additionally, so many others are less fortunate and could really use prayers to lift them up. Being the end of the year, it's also the perfect time to offer prayers of thanksgiving. Though 2011 was a rough year for me, I was so thankful that we were in a position that allowed me to travel home to help care for my mother, allowing me precious moments I would have otherwise missed, with the added benefit of providing my sister with some respite care since until that point, she was the main caregiver to my mom. There's always something to be thankful for, even when life deals you a hand you weren't expecting.
I awarded ornaments for charitable giving. I knew that my children would receive toys and such from our extended family, let alone good old Kris Kringle. I encouraged my children to sort through their gently used toys and donate them to charity, not to mention their outgrown clothing. We donated to food drives. We tithed. Charity can take many forms... it could even be as simple as having them help prepare clothes/coats/hats/mittens they've outgrown for donation, buying a toy for a toy drive, or singing carols to the residents of the local rehab facility.
I awarded tree bulb stickers for kindness to others. That mostly meant them being nice to each other! It was amazing to see what each child would do for a bulb. My daughter helped her brother clean her room. My son put away his sister's shoes. They really got into competition with each other to do nice things for each other and to be extra helpful to us with chores.
In no time, our sparsely decorated tree looked more like this....
|Decorated by Christmas!|
This is the photo I took today of the Christmas tree. After we took down our decorations last year after Epiphany, the kids refused to part with their tree, electing to pack it away for this year. Some of the bulbs have fallen off, but the spirit of Christmas and the lesson of the Christmas Kindness Tree is one that still lives with in them.
Have a joyous holiday season! I hope you enjoyed this post, and if you did and want to share it with friends or family, there are sharing tools below.