I'm a redeemed child of God and the momma to four vivacious daughters. I'm passionate about finding hidden blessings in the trials of life, living it out in an honest and open way, while encouraging those around me to believe in better.


random acts of christmas kindness :: summary

Well … December is over and with it, our Random Acts of Christmas Kindness or RACK.  This year the girls and I made the Christmas season about loving others and in the process, sharing God’s love for others, by performing one RACK each day of Advent.

Here’s an iPhone photo of our mission completed!

As with my handmade Christmas gifts … I didn’t want to make this RACK activity about “blogging” it … I wanted to be truly “present” with each activity and the girls, so instead of bringing my camera and worrying about blogging shots … I’d grab a random iPhone photo when I could.

Some of our activities included in the photos below:

  • Taping candy canes to ATM machines around town
  • Bringing the girls riding instructor {and barn manager} hot cocoa and a muffin early one morning
  • Taping quarters to vending and toy machines around town
  • Grocery shopping for the sole purpose of putting it in the “Food for Families” box in the entryway of the store
  • Plugging meters around town {and lots of fun explaining to the girls what “plugging” a meter meant!}
  • Donating 72 stockings with treats, candy and a craft for second graders at a school in need
  • Ringing Salvation Army bells
  • Handing out Starbucks gift cards {$5.00 value each}

Some of our activities without photos:

  • Paid past due library fees for 5 people
  • Donated a poinsettia to the girls school
  • Bought and donated toys for “Toys 4 Tots”
  • Brought the girls teachers their favorite Starbucks drinks
  • Brought treats to the employees of our local Post Office branch
  • Purged from the girls personal “library” and donated to a school library in need

Originally, our plan was to hand out flowers at the mall, but the day before this RACK was planned, CJ had his company program and shared with everyone how we were celebrating the Advent season … that they “were about to be RACK’ed” … and had the girls go through and hand out Starbucks cards to everyone.  We had a ton left over, so decided to hand them out at the mall instead of flowers.

I have to tell you … I experienced an incredible surge of emotion and thoughts as we were handing them out.  Either people were so shocked and happy, or people would ignore us, shaking their heads and walking by.  As people were ignoring us … or more significantly, the girls, I made a solemn vow to grab whatever anyone was trying to give me from now on!

The next day, I received this message …

Hi Tracie! Just wanted to share this with you..
Bennett and I were at the mall yesterday
and of course, I was kind-of rushing through
the holiday crowd to pick something up
(wanting to get in and out) and Bennett tugs o
my hand and said, “Mom, did you hear that?
Someone said they have free Starbucks cards.”
Not even turning around, I told him that it
was probably someone wanting you to buy
something, that nothing is ever for free.

Long story short, when I got home and read
your status, I explained to him that he was right
and it was the perfect opportunity to talk about
all the good that people have in them.
So I wanted to thank you for 1. Reminding me
that there is “good” out there, and
2. That I need to slow down and really listen!

I LOVED this note!!  It’s exactly what I experienced from the other side of giving out the cards.  And seriously, what another amazing lesson in how when you do something selflessly to bless others, you end up being blessed yourself!

The girls were watching TV recently and something came on explaining Advent … this particular activity was using candles to countdown Advent.  I took the opportunity to talk about all the different ways people celebrate, and I even reminded them of our activity last year.  When they asked what we’d do next year, I asked what they wanted to do.

Hands down and with excitement they quickly answered, “our kindness activity.”  Yep! just like I always say … it’s far better to give than to receive!

Praying a happy and blessed 2011 for you all!

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

UPDATE {11.28.11}
I’ve created a blank RACK’ed activity card … the download can be found in this post.  At the end of the post, you’ll find another link to other downloads.

Thank you … SO much … for the response to this little activity we did last year!  I’m amazed and excited to think how many people will be blessed this year because of it!  If you have a moment, be sure to stop by and let me know how it went for you!  Have fun and be blessed!!

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Posted in charity, christmas, family photos, girls

248 Responses to “random acts of christmas kindness :: summary”

  1. Jennifer says:

    Wow!! What a wonderful idea. How thoughtful of you and your girls. May God bless you. I’m already thinking of ways I can put this into action with my teenage boys.:)

  2. Arielle says:

    Wow! I’m in such awe with this post. I stumbled upon this on pinterest and I would love to do this! You’re creative and such kind hearted. And your children are as well. We need more people like you in the world. We’d be a far better place! I think maybe this Xmas my family will give this a go!

    Thank you for opening my eyes to this wonderful thing.

    Xoxo Arielle

  3. Jenna says:

    I love this idea! I am a high school teacher and huddle leader of our school’s Fellowship of Christian Athletes (FCA) club. I came across this idea and fell in love with it! I am in the process of manipulating this idea to work for my kids to do around the school. Thank you so much for posting it! I did tweak the name to Random acts of Christian kindness so we can do it all year long!

  4. Sherry Miller says:

    Thank you for the inspiration. I’m a single mom on disability and have had some really hard times especially at Christmas. God has always put good people in our path to help us. Thank you for blessing others and may God bless you. :)

  5. Tiana Smith says:

    These ideas are so adorable! However, putting money in the meters in the city is highly illegal. Cops will arrest you if they catch you doing that.

  6. Lori says:

    Last year, I heard about a young family, finishing a meal at a International House of Pancakes. When they came in there was a table of truck drivers…they noticed them…but there was no exchange. When they got ready to leave, they asked for the check and the waitress smiled & said “Here…” and handed them a receipt. On the receipt was a note written that said “I remember having a young family years ago, struggling to get to our family Christmas and the monetary strain we were under. This one’s on me! Merry Christmas”! One of the truckers had paid for their meal!! If THAT doesn’t warm your heart & make your nose burn, I don’t know what will!

  7. Dottie says:

    This is my first time on Pinteri.I’ve heard my 3 daughter’s,etc. talking about this & how much they are enjoying it..

  8. Chanyce Dahl says:

    Thank you for this great idea. We are definitely doing this. We are alwyas looking for new ways to bless others and to share the love of Christ. Thankws again!

  9. Renee says:

    I just want to say wow, I love it. What an awesome thing your teaching your girls and that people can see Jesus through them and your self. I can not wait to this with my children this year!

  10. Michelle says:

    You are rockstar! WAY TO GO – what a neat thing to do. You’re showing your kids so much by doing RACK things! Keep up the great work!

  11. Pam says:

    What a great idea to bless others but to be blessed. We have a church meeting Sunday afternoon and thank goodness I saw this fabulous idea before the meeting thank you for sharing

  12. Pam says:

    What a great idea for any group at our church to do this Christmas season!

  13. Amanda says:

    I absolutly love this!! If you are ever having trouble comeing up with one more idea, operation Christmas child is a great thing to do. What they do collected shoeboxes filled with things for the appropriate age group, that have been donated, and send them to children around the world who don’t get a Christmas, then send you something telling you where your shoe box went. It is really an amazing thing!

  14. Summer says:

    This is a wonderful idea! I will definitely do this with my children. Thank you for sharing this. You have really bless me. I also like the “Random Acts of Christian Kindness” idea to share with my church to maybe do once a month!

  15. Danielle says:

    I adore this idea and plan on trying something similar this year with my kids. We are cutting down on Christmas and hope to focus on what’s important- and it’s not the toys =).

    I just wish I had the funds to do all that you did. They were fantastic ideas.
    Danielle recently posted..It’s Monday and I may have the plague.

  16. Susan Lee says:

    Y’all have such great ideas! Here’s mine: I was touched by this story
    A friend of mine has 4 kids who were getting a bit greedy for christmas,
    In anger, he told the kids to pick one of their nice new christmas toys on christmas morning and they were going to take it to the local children’s home, so they could see what its like to really appreciate their gifts…… Its a family tradition, and the kids enjoy going ever year now.

  17. Nancy says:

    This is a beautiful idea! My girls are grown with their own families now, but I think I will make sure that they see this. However, I plan to do my own random acts. I always do a couple of things like this each year. When I was working out of the home, I used to pass by two older crossing guards for an elementary school each morning. They always had smiles for everyone. I couldn’t tell you their names today, but on the last day of school before the holidays, I parked and waited until the end of their shift and gave each of them a small potted plant. I love baking for the fire departments and police precincts as well. And your ideas are great! Thank you!

  18. Vickie Jones says:

    Love the ideas, I just went and looked at our calander and marked Dec 22nd as our RAK day, I think we will do the the candy canes on ATMS, and the quarters on toy machines, as well as get lunch for the person behind us. I think it will be a great day!

  19. Morgan says:

    The last few years have been really rough for me and my family and when I saw this I teared up for sure. A year ago my best friend and her family opened their home to me when I was in a bad situation, I’ve since gotten back on my feet and am heading in the right direction again but ever since they have done that No matter how small one nice thing can change someones life, you never know if someone out there is in anad place and that one little thing can make all the differenc. People around the holiday season get so lost in themselves sometimes, and I cannot wait to find things to show people that you are valued and cared for and most of all someone does care for you even if it is a complete stranger. This is beautiful and I just want to say thank you for reminding me that there is good in the world but it has to start with yourself.

  20. deidre says:

    This sounds like such a blessing opportunity. Can’t wait to share with my daughter and her volleyball team.

  21. Susan says:

    I think this amazing. However, I wanted to add a little “warning.” In Iowa, at least, plugging meters for someone else is illegal. Why? I have no idea. Dumb law. Nevertheless, I didn’t want anyone to get in trouble if this is the law in their state.

  22. maria says:

    What a beautiful gesture for Christmas time. Love this idea.
    maria recently posted..A Tribute To Volunteers Who Help The Homeless

  23. Debby Kremer says:

    I found this on pintrest. I thank you for those who couldn’t or wouldn’t stop for your girls at the mall. How unfortunate that we as a society have learned to tune out others, and shame on those that use children for profit, or the pity/pan handling. The lessons we show our children, the better adults they will be. This year we found ourselves facing unemployment for the first time in decades. It was a pure panic moment (actually longer, but I remembered to breathe after the first cold shock passed.) I told my youngest children that we are going to do some of the birthday ( 4 of my 5 kids have birthdays before the Holidays) and Holiday celebrating differently. In some respects I am thankful that we are not an “over the top” type of parent when it comes to gifts or all the brew ha-ha in planning little kids parties. However, not knowing how long the unemployment was going to last or for that matter how long savings was going to get us though, I was preparing them for things to be different. Fun yes, but different. of the things we came up with for celebrating the Holidays was very similar to what you have posted. Through the years, we have put in practice the random act of kindness. To this we add 12 days fun/adventure/giving. The children came up with lots of ways to spread good cheer and smiles, to themselves and others. I think the best part was when my second grader asked if we could add an extra day for 13 days. Of course I replied and asked why. She responded with 6 days before and 6 days after christmas. Plus us on christmas. Got to love how they get involved in something as great as giving to others and family. The best part was my husband becoming employed! but that isn’t going to change our plans. So, again thank you for thinking of others!

  24. Theresa says:

    This is so great! thank you for posting. I am going to do this with my 5th grade CCD Class.

  25. Theresa says:

    Thank you so much for this post. I am going to do this with my 5th grade CCD class!

  26. Amy says:

    When I was little my uncle would get my sister and I each a small Christmas gift, and then give us a blank check for I believe $50 (amount doesn’t really matter) and then we would have to find somewhere to donate it. My sister always did the local animal shelter and I would switch it up usually with domestic violence shelters or something to do with helping people with alcohol abuse. It grounded us at Christmas and something I plan to do with the kids in my family. We always got excited to get mail when we recieved our thank you letter from the locations.

  27. Nikki says:

    I just came across this post on Pinterest. You have so many great ideas for Random Acts of Kindness for the holiday season. This is the season of giving and sharing love and joy. I can’t wait to use some of your ideas and come up with some of my own! One of my favorites was dropping off treats at the post office. I sell on eBay and I frequent the post office often. This idea might be a little less of a random act for me and more of a reminder that in addition to thinking of my mailman this Christmas I need to remember the helpful employees at the post office as well. In addition there is a large homeless population in my area, including children, and creating Christmas stockings for these children would help bring some joy to them in tough times.

  28. Justine says:

    Just wanted to say a big thank you for this post and great idea! I ran across this last year, and was able to do LOTS of RACK’ing with my First Graders. I loved this idea as a way to teach kids the importance of doing kind things for others. It tied in PERFECTLY with our ‘bucketfilling’ concept that use as well. I just wanted to thank you for making a difference in our lives with your creativity and kindness.

  29. Sanjuana Hernandez says:

    I so love your RACKed idea and I’m going to have to do it and share it. I’ve always wanted to do something extra around Christmas time. Even though I may not have much money, I am a millionairess in blessings. The Lord is so Good. Thank you for this idea. My Grandbabies will love doing this with me.

  30. Donna says:

    I love the idea! I was also thinking this would be a great idea for counting down the days of summer. With days of anything from taking out a neighbors trash, giving them their newspaper to helping a neighbor rake their yard or baking them cookies.

  31. val says:

    Excellent ideas!!!

  32. heather carnline says:

    Ty this world needs more ppl like ur self in it to show what love kindness is All about amen n god bless u n ur family very good way to raise children

  33. Kristin says:

    Thank you for such an inspiring post! This is exactly how I want to raise my child, by loving others and realizing the real “reason for the season!” I have one question because I’m far from a tech-y…how did you make your Racked cards?

  34. Lorianna says:

    You are truely an amazing ANGEL!!
    This is so wonderful!, Your girls are and will be beautiful people and they are blessed to have a super Mom!
    My goal EVERYDAY!!! is to do one nice thing for someone EVERYDAY

  35. Lynn says:

    I just came across this and look forward to doing some of the activities listed with my daughters. You have such great ideas and just reading them warms my heart. Thanks for sharing them and I hope you don’t mind my “stealing” them to pass on good cheer to others. You are truly an inspiration. Happy holidays to you and yours. God bless!

  36. […] ahead of time (I know I’m going to try this out) today I want to spotlight Tracie over at tsj photography. She is an amazing person and has a fabulous idea for the holiday season. How about putting […]

  37. […] Mingle Glow | TSJ Photography /* Posted in November […]

  38. […] it isn’t the most decorative or colorful.  But click through and read the story behind this Random Acts of Kindness from TSJ Photography and you’ll understand.  True meaning of Christmas?  Oh, […]

  39. Jodie says:

    My husband and I have a fake tree. So every year we take our children to the local tree farm for the experience. We allow them to pick what ever tree they agree on and we buy it. We sign a card saying thank you to our soldiers and their family and donate it. We started doing this years ago and now it is something the kids look forward to. My husband and I also buy food for a random person in a restaraunt and never let them know…we just ask the wait staff to pay it forward. Little adts of kindness like passing waters out in the heat to the homeless, buying gas for someone and paying for the car behind you in a drive up line renew peoples faith in humanity. God bless you.

  40. Julie says:

    Thank you for giving to others( and taking the time to teach your children), also for giving us, followers, the great idea of giving! I absolutely LOVE this and will be doing this!!!

  41. Tara says:

    My friend was shopping last Christmas when a young girl handed her a Walmart gift card. She thought it was a joke until she took a chance and handed it to the cashier. To her amazement it had $20.00 on it! What a blessing! Thanks for this wonderful idea!

  42. Jodi Meade says:

    Love that you’re sharing this! I’m from New Orleans and we always drop off much needed supplies to our local no kill animal adoption place.They always need newspapers, dog/cat food, litter, collars, leashes, toys, etc. The owners are always so thankful and appreciative since they survive on donations.

  43. Tiffany says:

    I also happened upon this on pinterest. I know that Christmas is not supposed to be about gifts, but it is still nice to do something for someone else. I have been searching for craft ideas for family, friends, and coworkers. I can definitely use many of the ideas on here as secret gifts. I have ALWAYS imagined giving out free gift cards somewhere and wondered how people would react. I have never had the money to do so though. But, I can start with the smaller acts, like leaving 60 cents on the drink machine at work. The point is that I love this ‘RACK’ed’ idea! You rock!

  44. Angie says:

    I came across this on Pinterest also and I cried when I read this. We have tried doing this in the past, but never like you have done. You are amazing and thank you for being a role model for us. I will be downloading your Rack’ed template. Thank you. I repinned this on my FB page and within minutes I have had repins and many likes.

  45. Lona says:

    I love this idea!! I am going to do this with my 7th grade art class. I am an art teacher at a Christian private school. I am going to have them (plus myself) do 25 random acts of kindness on their own each day and they will have to record a journal entry, the following class, in their sketchbook regarding the experience. We are also going to do the 25 random acts of kindness as a class. We are going to use art to bring joy to others. We will all work together and make various gifts to hand out around our school to other teachers, students, office staff, coaches, etc. I think this is going to be an awesome experience!! I will let you know how it goes :) Thank you SO much for sharing this idea.

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