Saturday, December 01, 2012

The St Nicholas Bag

This is the earliest I've ever decorated our house for Christmas.  I unpacked our little Christmas box on the final night of November, taking out all of the familiar things and stringing up extra fairy lights, replacing lamp shades and candle holders and bunting with our Christmas favourites.  The winter books fill the basket in the lounge, and we've loved reading all our old favourites today!

I've written before about our holiday traditions.  Last year, I scribbled an angry letter to Santa. I feel calmer this year; maybe I've forgiven him now.  I'm more focused on creating and expanding our own  ideas of celebration, rather than trying to fit in or keep up with the usual flow.  We like to latch onto traditions and ideas that better express who we are as followers of Jesus, rather than who we are as consumers of the latest stuff.

Our "St Nicholas bag", an idea born out of reading about the first St Nicholas, was very popular the first year we tried it.  St Nick was known for his anonymous giving, so we dropped extra coins and cash into a cloth bag set out for the purpose; visitors and friends were invited to do the same.  At the end of the holidays, we counted up the cash and made a decision together about the recipients of the little fund, all anonymous.

Last year, we tried to replicate the idea but it didn't work well.  I'm not sure why; maybe the recession?  So this year, I knew we needed something new.

Together, my friend Hannah and I thought of thirty-one "Random Acts of Kindness".  She wrote them onto strips of paper, and the St Nicholas bag has been filled with these folded strips.  We are taking one out every day, and seeking to complete that particular act of kindness for the day.

Today, our challenge was to write a letter to a faraway friend.  Coo, Lefty, and Righty sat down to write or draw quite happily.  Mr J opted out today, but I think that when he sees how much fun the others are having, he might join in!

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