On Monday night I happened upon a Twitter party. Well, at any given time there are tons of Twitter parties in progress, so that alone was no shocker. Yet this particular party was a Hanukkah party. Yes, a Hanukkah party on Twitter. Hosted by @Kveller, this was just a lighthearted look at how we social media geeks celebrate with our families.
My oldest son has been going through a bout of Christmas envy. To help him we are trying to make the holiday more festive and begin more traditions of our own. (And when I say “we are trying” I really mean only myself, of course.) So I decided to join in on the fun. After all, this party might just be the right place to pick up a few new ideas.
One particular tweet caught my attention. @OutsideVoice mentioned that she and her family do eight acts of kindness, one for each night of the holiday.
While we may not be a religious family, these eight acts of kindness are mitzvahs. In Hebrew, a “mitzvah’ is a worthy or kind deed. A mitzvah (no matter how large or small) is considered an expression of faith and that is something wonderful to pass on to our kids. I love this new tradition for our family and will hopefully in time it will get the kids in the habit of giving back throughout the year.
With the start of the holiday, so begins our eight acts of kindness. This morning the kids and I started brainstorming some ideas (and looked at a post I wrote listing 20 Random Acts of Kindness). Here’s what we came up with so far that works well for our family:
1. Call or check in on a family member, friend or neighbor who is alone or could use some friendly little faces.
2. Drop off baked goods or a gift certificate to the local police or fire department.
3. Pay for the person’s order behind you at the drive through or coffee shop.
4. Purchase a bag of dog or cat food and take it to an animal shelter.
5. Write a thank-you note to a person who has made a difference in your life this year.
6. Drop off books, magazines and unopened toys to the local hospital.
7. Pick out some toys and donate them to Toys for Tots.
8. Make some pictures and take them to the local senior center.
What about your family? I’d love some more ideas! What are your family traditions during the holiday? What other acts of kindness would you do at this time of year?