Kids and Family

One of the most amazing gifts I believe any #parent can give to their child is the gift of #gratitude.  We have so much to be thankful for, and sometimes the chaos of everyday life can overshadow these blessings. Expressing to our children all of our blessings, through our words and our actions is incredibly important for helping to mold incredible, loving, self-confident, compassionate adults. I love this article on #Katherine Marie’s blog about 52 Random Acts of Kindness to Do with Your Children.


Week ONE:  SURPRISE!  Anonymously leave a note, treat, artwork and/or gift for a stranger. 

Week TWO:  CREATE! Select a project that inspires childhood CREATIVITY!

Week THREE:  GIVE!   Pick a way to give that spreads LOVE, JOY and ENCOURAGMENT.  

Week FOUR:  SERVE!  Find a way to help others with your ACTIONS!  (Volunteering & Community Service)

Week FIVE:  THANK!  Develop a way to express appreciation and gratitude to those who make our world a better place. 



-deliver handmade valentines to nursing home

-take get well balloons to hospital and leave with nurse for someone who is alone

-leave bus or taxi fare for stranger

-pack zip locks care packages for salvation army—include tooth brushes, tooth paste and deodorant

-plant a roll of nickels with hand written note at children’s play place

-buy a copy of our favorite children’s book and leave in waiting room

-play florist and leave small flower vases on doorsteps of strangers

-deliver basket with popcorn and candy to video rental store… ask employee to give to someone who looks like they may need a bit of cheer

-pick name from phone book and mail them a happy note and two dollar bill

-leave stamps and a note by the mailbox inside the post office



-arrange for kids art work and carnation flowers to be delivered with meals on wheels volunteer

-have kids color and design a joke book and leave in waiting room at hospital or doctors office

-deliver kid-made get well cards with ribbon and lotion to cancer center

-make a stationary kit with envelopes, fun papers, stickers and postage stamps and have kids deliver to nursing home

-leave kid-made book marks in books at library

-color kindness bumper sticker and leave at community board at the library

-make small birthday bags with balloons, horns, candy, stickers and leave in public place—include a TAKE THIS IF IT IS YOUR BIRTHDAY note

-put together a salon kit with nail polish, lotion and glitter for young girl at shelter or hospital

-host a BAND-AID drive then create kid-friendly first aid kids for the children at the shelter

-make a KIDS CREATE BOX with glue sticks, paper and art supplies to leave at shelter



-donate blood

-send box of candy and small toys (bouncy balls, bracelets) to IRAQ… soldier will pass out to kiddos while on patrol

-give a bit of fun by setting up a free face painting booth and/or hot cocoa booth

-deliver a goodies basket for assisted living facilities staff and employees

-have an extra large tip ready, order pizza and leave the tip regardless of service

-hand out helium balloons with happy notes to strangers who pass by

-give free sodas and bottled water to folks on a sweltering day

-send a box of chocolates to school custodians

-buy a fresh box of Krispie Creams and give to city workers

-drop off a new stuffed animal to fire department so that they have one on hand for child who may be in need



-door holding patrol: find a busy place and hold open doors for 15 minutes

-family sponsored food drive

-prepare and serve lunch at shelter

-ask ten people if we can take back their shopping carts

-road side trash pick up

-visit assisted living center and have older children read to patients

-invite someone who might be alone over for a special home-cooked meal

-collect canned goods for food pantry

-teach photography to kids

-see how many friends we can get to become organ donors



-design a kindness THANK YOU poster for someone and hang it somewhere in public where they will see it

-leave thank you note and small gift for recycle and trash collectors

-write heartfelt note to manager telling about a friendly employee

-“thank you for serving me” packs- small bags of wrapped chocolates with kind words… leave for bank tellers, cashiers, servers…

-write five thank you notes to people that have touched our lives in small, yet meaningful ways

-treats for school bus drivers

-prepare baked goods for government employees

-honor a personal hero

-send handmade cards to officers at local police station… signed, a thankful citizen

-send thank yous to lunch staff at the high school

-send care package with ground coffee and treats to soldier in Afghanistan

Thank you for all your wonderful ideas, Katherine Marie,  that will no doubt get everyone in the “holiday spirit”

35 Meaningful December Traditions for Families

I found this list of family traditions  inspiring as the holidays are my favorite time of the year.  Oftentimes, I over-commit myself and my family in order to experience everything amazing about the holidays. I found myself wondering the other day why I was not feeling in the holiday spirit.  I thought maybe it was the looming double root canal I needed to get before the end of the year or the cold I was fighting.  When I stopped to think, I realized I was stressed out and needed to slow down and remember what this time of year is all about- family, love and blessings! I came across Dr. Markham’s list of 35 meaningful December family traditions and thought others would find this inspirational as well. Happy (peaceful) Holidays to you all!

from Dr. Laura Markham

Want more family togetherness and deeper meaning this holiday season?  The key is simplifying.  Nobody can spread joy and good cheer when they’re stressed out.  Any ambition we have to give our child a perfect holiday will is doomed if we take on too much.  Photo: MafaldaBlueSo first, just say no to everything that feels obligatory. Then pick a few traditions – not a whole list. Maybe the traditions you have are the ones you want to keep.  Maybe you’ll add one new one this year.  You’ll find they gain meaning as you revisit them every year, regardless of whether you celebrate Chanuka, Kwanza, Christmas, or Solstice.

The key?  Relax, don’t expect perfection, and be grateful for every minute of life, no matter how messy. And here’s an early gift to make it easier: 36 ideas for Family Traditions to get your creativity flowing as you think about what would most nurture your soul, and your family’s, this winter.

1. Give love with all presents. Help your child write “Appreciations” for each person in the family to go on their gift.

2. Write a winter poem together every year; paste them in a scrapbook.  These don’t have to be high literature or even rhymes.  You’ll be amazed how poetic everyone’s thoughts sound when you record them:  “What I love about winter: The silence of cold nights/candy canes so sweet/making presents for Grandma/snow melting in my mouth.”

3. Manage expectations. At the beginning of December, have each child tell you three desires:

*One present for them that is within your means

*One “together” present that you will do with them, like take them to the zoo.

*One “giving” present that your child will feel good about making to gift someone else, like stuffing stockings for kids at a shelter, or making a framed drawing for grandma with his own note to her written on it.

This wonderful tradition gives kids everything they really need, and much to look forward to.

4. Have a Santa’s Workshop. Go through each child’s room with them and create a “give-away” box of gently used items to pass on to kids who need them. Have a family session to clean and repair old toys and clothes and take them to donate.

5. Celebrate snow! Cut paper snowflakes and tape them to your windows and walls to lure a snow storm.  Save them and add more each winter.

6. Make ornaments. Decorate felt trees with glitter, cut foil stars, make colorful paper chains.  Each year, help each child make a new ornament with a photo and the year. Your box of homemade ornaments will be the kids’ favorite box to open every year.

7. Make light in the dark. Line your walk with luminaria — paper bags weighted with sand, with a candle in each.

8. Get kids giving. Make simple, inexpensive, fun presents together for your kids’ friends and cousins: homemade bubbles, fingerpaints, clay, dress-up boxes, jewelry-making kits, puppet-making kits, candy-making kits, snowglobes.

9. Make playdates special. Invite the kids’ friends over for a holiday card making party. Use construction paper, stencils and paint, line them with ordinary white paper with typed or written messages.

10. Give the party everyone looks forward to. Invite ten friends to bring over six dozen of their favorite cookies and some empty containers. Parents drink punch, kids drink hot chocolate, and everyone goes home with a mix of holiday treats from everyone else.

11. Go Green. Use only recycled wrapping paper, brown paper with kids’ drawings, or newspaper decorated with stickers. Wrap them all in ribbons galore.

12. Share your tradition with your friends.  Have an annual Chanuka, Kwanzaa, or tree trimming party. Or celebrate the Winter Solstice with a candlelit dinner, a roaring fire, and a night walk under the stars.

13. Connect. Go gift shopping with each child separately for other family members, but make a point of connecting to that child. Take her to lunch, encourage her to try on clothes and buy her something she covets (wrap it and give it later, of course). Make sure your conversation in the car is really special.  She’ll remember these dates for the rest of her life.

14. Spread sweetness. Invite your kids’ friends over for a pie or cookie baking party. Together, take your goodies to your local soup kitchen, home for the elderly, or to the firehouse where folks are hard at work on the holiday.

15. Be elves. Have a family evening where you make holiday cards, or write them, or make gift-wrap, or wrap gifts together. Put on music and sing while you work. Don’t cook that night, have pizza and eggnog.

16. Read a new holiday book with your kids every night of the season.

17.  Pay It forward.  Buy and wrap mittens and gloves for needy families. Or ask your kids to volunteer with you at a soup kitchen some Saturday. Or give them a set amount to spend and take them to the toy store where they can pick out a gift for a needy child, and let them personally deliver it to a children’s hospital, homeless shelter or charity drop-off point.

18. Dreidel Showdown Night: Your family will have a “geltload” of fun taking part in an annual family dreidel tournament. You don’t even have to be Jewish!

19. Bring the yule green inside. Go on a nature walk to gather greenery together. Bring a thermos of hot chocolate and just enjoy the fresh air.

20.  Enjoy the glitter. Take a walk or drive to admire the holiday lights together.

21. Let there be light! Make a menorah together out of clay, spools, or old bolts.  Or make candles.

22. Unplug the TV to avoid the toy ads, and use the time to make holiday decorations or presents for friends and relatives.

23. Have picnic dinner in front of the fireplace or the tree, or just light a lot of candles!

24. Make a gingerbread house together. Don’t worry what it looks like. The fun is in the doing!

25. Gather your family and friends and go caroling. Afterwards, gather for hot chocolate and potluck dinner.

26. Make a treasure map or clues for your kids to follow to find their presents.

27. Watch a different holiday movie every weekend during the season.

28. Take a bath by candlelight. Add glowsticks for extra fun.

29. Deliver Meals on Wheels for homebound folks.  Have your kids bring homemade cards.

30. Write a family holiday letter together to send out to your community of friends and family.  If the idea of paragraphs is daunting, make it in the form of a list of highlights from each family member, or a newspaper or newsletter.


31.  Spread cheer! Spread pinecones with peanut butter and birdseed and feed the birds.

32. Go on a moonlit walk and watch your breath mingle and hang in the air.

33. Drive around your neighborhood admiring the holiday lights.

34. Go ice skating together. Take lessons if you need to.

35. Have your kids dictate thank you cards to everyone whose presence enriches their life all year long, and then deliver them.

36.  Light an advent wreath. (Candlelight is magical!)


Dr. Laura Markham 35 Meaningful December Traditions for Families.


2 Responses to “Kids and Family”

  1. Professions for PEACE November 29, 2012 at 6:01 pm #

    What a wonderful page!! All of these ideas are terrific 🙂 I am delighted to have found your fun blog, thanks to your kind reblog of my post today. Happy holiday hugs, Gina

    • Paisley Lynne Boutique November 30, 2012 at 1:53 am #

      I love your blog too! So much happiness and positivity! We need more of that! 🙂 thanks for sharing!

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