We've passed out candy canes to store clerks, museum volunteers, our mailman, librarians, firemen, and other community helpers. Usually we just say "Merry Christmas," hand them the candy cane, and continue on our way. It's been a great way to encourage Lilleigh to speak clearly and loud enough to be heard when talking to another adult. The responses she has gotten have definitely been a confident booster, as seen by how much more confidently she has passed the last few candy canes out. Most people smile and say "how cute." Our cashier at Trader Joes was so excited that he gave her a roll (not just one but like ten!) of stickers and a lollipop! Her confidence sky rocketed! Of course, we didn't set out on this mission for Lilleigh, but the confidence has been a perk.
Below is a picture of Lilleigh walking through TJ's with her mini cart. Before giving the cashier a candy cane.
Next on our list was baking! We baked cookies and passed them out to our immediate neighbors. We try to have a presence in our neighborhood and on our street, being around to talk, invite others over, grab mail for out of town neighbors, chicken-sit... We felt the cookies were just a nice gesture to love those around us. We actually do this periodically during the year. Our neighbors love it, and Lilleigh loves the baking!
Perhaps our biggest outreach of this season was our birthday party for Jesus. The girls and I invited friends to a nearby park to play, tell the nativity story, sing happy birthday to Jesus, and eat cake. It was a great turn out. Last year's party was a little simpler. This year I added in telling the story of Jesus' birth, by giving each child a piece of the nativity and then telling the story piece by piece with the kids' help. (I typed something up and am glad to share with anyone interested!) Of course, with a group of preschoolers, the attention span was minimal, but I expected this which is why I was brief. The kids really seemed to love the storytime. And the cake - duh! For my kids (or Lilleigh at the point) baking the cake is a great way for us to be reminded of the reason for Christmas.
Lastly we also plan to take an apple pie to our local fire station on Christmas Eve. Our friends bring them cinnamon rolls on Christmas morning for these guys, which I love. I made an extra pie this season, so I figured we would join in the fun. Firefighters don't get the day off, so what a better way to say thank you then to remember them on holidays!
Two more days until Christmas, friends, so if you haven't started "lighting em up," it's not too late! Steal my ideas or those of others. Or get creative on your own! I would LOVE to hear what y'all are doing! Please share!