Monday, December 10, 2012

Advent Acts of Kindness: Day 5

This is the sixth in a series of posts on "Advent Acts of Kindness." Advent, the period of time leading up to Christmas, is a period of reflection and preparation for the celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ. Historically, this meant a period of fasting, charity, and penance to ready the soul. Fasting isn't really part of the preparation anymore, but charity and penance still are. So while Advent calendars are a convenient way to count down the remaining days until Christmas, the season is marked by more than decorating and wrapping gifts. Even if all the rest of your tasks are done, you're not ready if your mind and heart aren't ready.

One great way to truly prepare for Christmas is to show kindness towards others, especially those less fortunate. With this in mind, I thought I'd put together a list of ideas for small acts of kindness and post one each day throughout Advent. I did this partly for selfish reasons, because I want to start a tradition of Advent Acts of Kindness for my own family, and partly because I thought you lovely readers would enjoy it!

Advent Act of Kindness #6: Think outside the box when donating to your local shelter. One of the most creative drives I ever heard about was for a women's shelter here in town, and took place when I was in college. A group on campus was collecting razors, shaving cream, deodorant, tampons, pads and other necessities for women who had left their homes as domestic violence victims. While it's not necessarily the first need that comes to mind when you think about a homeless person, these basic necessities are welcome donations. Soap, shampoo, underwear, socks, and gloves are also needed - check with your local shelter or your church to see exactly what's needed in your area. Coupons can be helpful here, or you can hit up your local dollar store, or even check in your own home - chances are you have some unused toiletries that could brighten someone's day more than you can imagine!

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