Christmas Bonfire and Service - Replace those Creative Neighbor Gifts!

I know this is an early post, BUT, if you are going to go this route, it's less than 100 days until Christmas and you'll want to start organizing now so people don't buy their gifts yet.  So here you go...

It was two years ago today that I decided I was done with neighbor gifts. Don't get me wrong - I love the creative touch everyone puts into the gifts.  One of my favorites was the year I got the idea to give my neighbors cookie dough with the tag "We all could use a little extra dough this time of year!" or another time we gave muffin mix and said "You're getting muffin for Christmas!" Some other favorites I've seen or done:

  • "We wash you a merry Christmas" with Bath & Body Works soap
  • "We wisk you a "Merry Kissmas" with a wire wisk filled with hershey kisses
  • "Don't let your dishes pile up.  Let our family do the dishes for a week." with a package of paper plates
  • "Wishing you joy beyond measure" with measuring cups & spoons.
  • "Add a little spice to your holidays" with Salsa.
  • "Wishing you a sparkling holiday season" with sparkling cider.
  • Here's a whole list of ideas I found in the newspaper... 

But last year I reflected on my own neighborhood where we are all fortunate enough to have nice Christmases, warm homes, clothes to wear, etc.  And I really felt like it was time to change our fun neighbor gift tradition to something that could be a bigger cause.  I wanted something still meaningful and I really wanted something that included spending time as a neighborhood. But I knew how powerful we could be in helping another cause as a whole.

So I sent an email out proposing my idea and the reponse was unanimous.  I chose a December evening  to start.  We gathered as many portable firepits as we could and set them up around my cul-de-sac (I live on a circle, but this could work on any street).  We put fliers on everyone's door and stapled an elastic on them so we could easily slip them on doorknobs.  Everyone brought dessert to share and I provided hot chocolate.  Then everyone was also asked to bring something to donate to our service project.  You could choose something different each year to donate to.  

Neighbors came, served, ate yummy treats, warmed by the bonfire and socialized.  It was everything I dreamed it would be.  And when we took our wonderful amount of gifts to The Road Home and Candy Cane Corner, there were tears in eyes for what we had done.  Although I love the cute neighbor ideas, I am sure this is now a tradition that will continue on and help us keep the meaning of Christmas alive.


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