Whether you and your family celebrated Diwali last week or are now making preparations for Hanukkah, Christmas or Kwanzaa, this is a time of year where people around the world seek ways to bring light to the darkness of winter. While many of us will be lighting candles, exchanging gifts and enjoying sweet treats, we at the Zimmer Children’s Museum encourage families to carve out some time (and a bit of your budget) to be Joy Makers outside the walls of our own houses.
As parents, you have the brightest source of light there is. Kids! So as we approach the shortest day of the year, here’s our challenge to you: use your children. To spread light, give love and make joy, that is. 🙂
On Thanksgiving morning, I was out with my own 2 year-old son on a neighborhood walk. He was so excited that the day had arrived that he wished (okay, nearly accosted) every person we passed with “Happy Thanksgiving!” Without fail, he got responses. Delighted, grateful responses. I didn’t know any of those people we met that day. I don’t know if any of them were really moved by his sweet smiling face, but I also don’t know that they weren’t. Maybe someone was spending the holiday alone and needed that excited reception that so many of us look forward to on holidays. Maybe he helped someone to just stop, put down their phone and have a real-life human connection. Maybe. Or maybe not. But what I do know is he only made their days better even if in the smallest way. And that it made him so happy! Win win.
Our friends at Hasbro have a great catalog of ideas for you and your family to be Joy Makers this season. Whether the recipient is a neighbor, a stranger, a soldier or even a furry friend, what’s important is that our children know that being a Joy Maker need neither be expensive nor difficult. And that the return is always great for the giver. And thanks to Hasbro, this year the return is even greater because for every act of giving entered on their website, Hasbro will donate a toy this holiday season to a deserving child. Win win win.
So maybe this year, instead of a gift exchange, have each person/family bring $10. When they arrive tell them they have 30 minutes to spend that on a good deed for someone who isn’t expecting it. No limits. No rules. Just make someone’s day brighter. Then reconvene for those sweet treats and share your stories.
Or pick a project and ask families you know to participate. Collect gently used clothing or canned goods to donate. Send small stuffed animals to deployed soldiers to give to children as peace offerings. Play games at a senior center. On just stand on the corner and give compliments. The possibilities are endless.
And like anything, kindness takes practice but can develop into a habit. There’s no better time to start than today.
Zimmer Children’s Museum
PS — Please share with the Zimmer what you’ve done! While we encourage selfless acts, we also think that we can inspire each other!