Mini Mayhem boys clothes

My kids are spoilt! Acts of Christmas kindness.

My children are spoilt.

I'm not talking full blown, Veruca Salt screaming "I want it NOW!!!" while coveting a golden goose.

More along the lines of having four sets of grandparents who like to show their love for them through treats and gifts.  Thankfully it's not ponies or giant stuffed giraffes, just a book here and a toy there.  But it does create a certain degree of expectation.  They are starting to think that they are entitled to new things WAY too often.

With Christmas coming up, I wanted to take the focus off the receiving of gifts and make it more about helping others and spreading joy.  I looked into creating an advent calendar of kind acts we could do each day in the lead up to Christmas.  While this is a fantastic idea in theory, I'm already anxious about all the balls I'm juggling plus whether the house is tidy, do we have clean clothes and food to eat and cripes, have I taken any photos of my children lately??  I didn't want to make it a chore that I would resent and have me hiding in the pantry eating crisps and drinking wine (that may still happen - probably on Friday night. And Saturday.).

So what I have done is put together a list of acts of kindness that we can hopefully perform throughout December.  Some of them take very little time or money.  Some require planning, others are spontaneous.  Each of them will hopefully help my little ones to spare a thought for others who are not as fortunate as them, to think about how a small act from one person can brighten another's day and of the importance of thanking people within our community for the great job that they are doing.

Here they are, in no particular order.  Thanks to some of my lovely instagram friends for some of the ideas, and to pinterest for others.

1. Christmas wishing tree appeal - we have been doing this one each year since Ollie was born.  Now the kids are old enough to choose a toy for a boy or girl the same age as they are and we always talk about the child on Christmas day, wondering whether they are enjoying their new scooter or doll.   For Details can be found at your local Kmart or here.

2. Foodbank Christmas drive - Foodbank feeds 100,000 people each week in South East Queensland alone.  Apparently a heartbreaking 50% of them are children.  We will be buying a few extra non-perishable items and popping them into the donation points to help to fill some little (and big) tummies.  Click here to find details of a food drive in your local area.

3.  Cards to friends and family - Christmas kindness doesn't just have to be acts of Charity.  The kids will be writing cards to their friends to let them know that they are wishing them well for Christmas.

4.  Pillowcase presents - we are planning to combine a crafty activity with an act of kindness by dyeing some colourful pillowcases to send to the kids at the Children's Hospital to help brighten their surroundings.

5. Free ride - how to make a little kid's day?  We are putting together some little notes to tape to the kiddie rides at the local supermarket with a $2 coin so the lucky finder can enjoy a whirl around on us.  I'm super excited about this one, probably because I'm just a big kid!

6.  Thanks to the boys and girls in blue - it's important to me that our kids respect the people who keep our community safe, so we will be taking them a big old box of chocolates (I thought doughnuts but that was probably a bit too cheeky) to help them get through their night shift.

7. Thanks for the lessons - gifts for the teachers in their lives to thank them for all they have taught them this year.

8.  Aussie Helpers - It's a pretty tough time to be a farmer at the moment.  We plan to buy a bale of hay to help the starving animals through Aussie Helpers, an organisation that supports farmers and their families.

9. Books we love - as a family who love books, we thought it would be fun to leave a few books that we have enjoyed in locations around our area with a little note that we hope the person who finds it will enjoy reading it.  I want this one to work, but I am a little worried that it might simply be well intentioned littering.  What do you think?

10. Donate clothes and toys - this one is an absolute necessity before the haul of Christmas pressies from those well meaning Grandparents arrives.

11.  Have a nice day - still a work in progress, we are thinking of leaving some little notes around in public places (perhaps the mirror in the ladies' room at the shops?) wishing people a great day or telling them how nice they look.

12.  Coins to the guide dog - my kids have always loved putting coins into the guide dog money box at the supermarket.  So it will be quite the treat when I let them loose with a big bag of silver that we have been collecting throughout the year.

13. Bound for Bali - The Care For Kids orphanage in Bali has a list of items that are currently needed.  Having been to Bali quite a few times, I'm hoping our kiddos will really grasp this one.

14.  Great job - one of our lovely neighbours puts everyone in the streets rubbish bins out the day before the garbage truck comes.  This definitely deserves a little gift with a note.

15. It's in the bag - Share the dignity is an organisation that helps homeless women and women in need.  We will be filling a spare handbag with items like wipes, toothpaste, toiletries and sanitary products. You can find details of collection points (before 11 December) here.

16. Movie night - who doesn't love a family movie over the school holidays?  We are hoping to brighten someone's day by taping a single packet of microwave popcorn with a little note to the dvd vending machine at the local shop.

So there you go. Just a few things to help us make the festive season more enjoyable for others and also to teach my littles that there are more important things than presents.