Unexpected Gift

Picnik collage

It is hard to believe that tomorrow is Christmas Eve.

The season goes so quickly except if you are a little child….then it drags on and on and Christmas morning seems like an eternity away.

I wrote earlier that we were really trying to take this season to think of others more than ourselves.

We were trying to think of ways to bless others daily.

We have had a very mellow December.

Picnik collage2

I closed the shop early, we have baked cookies, painted, made gifts, wrapped, listened to hours of Christmas music, sang together by the piano whenever the children felt like playing, read beautiful books and I believe….made the best new Christmas tradition EVER!

A few years ago I remember being so touched when Stephanie Nielson took her children around town leaving sweet notes of kindness and encouragement.

I told myself I was going to do that with my children and never did.

A few months ago I saw another blog that has tons of sweet words that you can pass on to others available for free to print out.

I told myself I was going to do that with my children and never did.

A few weeks ago Melody Ross and her sister Kathy did a post about handing out words of kindness and encouragement.  They even gave a link where you can print off all the words you need to bless the socks off someone…and we did.


This past Tuesday I met my sister at the mall with our children.  We were all really excited to do this.


I had my camera ready but decided not to use it so I didn't make people uncomfortable.

I wish you could have seen the HUGE smiles on my children's faces. I mean full of joy and just beaming.

They all took turns walking up to strangers, saying "Merry Christmas" and then giving them words that we hoped were meant just for them.

We didn't purposely stay around to see people's reactions but so many times we heard there sweet reaction as we were walking away and we knew they had read their words.

My sister handed a woman her words and the woman reluctantly accepted it.  My sister saw her turn around looking for her.  They made eye contact.  The woman placed her hand over her heart and with sincerity mouthed the words "thank you".

My daughter walked over to a woman sitting on a bench.  The woman read her words, looked up at me and mouthed "thank you" and blew a kiss to my daughter.

Jack told me that he had never felt that happy in all his life.  He told me that he felt like it made  Christmas really about Jesus and that he wants to do it every year.

I could have cried twenty times that night watching my children and then watching the ones that received their words.

I don't know who was blessed more.

Your words matter.  How you treat others matters.  Unexpected acts of kindness blesses both the giver and receiver.

So many are hurting and it is so powerful and easy to spread kindness.

If you are going out to the mall tomorrow I encourage you to print out your own words of kindness from here or here (or make your own) and pass them out!

We might even be at the mall tomorrow because I want my mom to experience it too! 

It will be the most unexpected gift you give to others…and yourself.

Merry Christmas! 


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  1. JerriR

    Thank you for doing this! I’ve read on several blogs where others have done something similar and its wonderful!
    Merry Christmas!

  2. Traci

    bless you and your children. what a special evening. knowing you made others smile and feel loved. especially when you don’t know what is going on in their lives. that may have been the only smile they had that day. merry christmas you sweet thing.

  3. Lorie

    That’s the most beautiful thing I’ve ever heard of doing. I cried through the whole part about the mall.
    Hope your Christmas is Merry!

  4. Shanon Gallegos

    My gosh! I all but bawled reading this post. I’m not sure why if affected me that way. I didn’t even know what the words were! I clicked over to check them out and the bawling continued….what a sweet idea. I think I would be a blubbering fool in the mall watching all of that! It makes me start to think…..

  5. This is the best new tradition ever Jeanne ~ what a fantastic idea. Wishing you a very Merry Christmas. xo

  6. Alicia @ La Famille

    what a great idea! i love it. the words you speak really are so important and they can build up or tear down in a matter of seconds. so important to teach your kids that. thanks for the great idea!
    merry christmas!

  7. Jennifer Ostrander

    I loved reading about your day at the mall! I, too, have read about about this before-and never acted on it. Thanks for the reminder and for sharing your beautiful experience, Jeanne. Merry Christmas!

  8. Dearest sweet Jenne, this is such a beautiful christmas post! Thanks so much for sharing! Wishing you JOY and LOVE for a wonderful Christmas my sweet friend..thank you for all the blessings you have given me this year! Love to you!

  9. Dore

    MS. “J”
    I read this post and it brought to mind an act of KINDNESS my daughter and I did this past few days. You see there is always someone on a corner appearing to be begging for Money$$ you now “HOMELESS” signs so my daughter and I would tell them God Bless and give them Christmas Cookies…The frosted ones from the market. Really they were shocked and yet surprised to receive Christmas cookies.
    After READING this POST of yours I was so choked up I wish I had more time now to get out there with my Hannah and some friends and pass on words of encouragement, your inspiring post I will not forget and will try this next year it is at the top of our list. My daughter as beautiful as she is inside out said she will do this at college next Christmas…Of course no time now this year.
    Thank you sooooooo! very much for being a BRAVE GIRL! we need more HEARTS like your’s.
    Un Joyeux Noel
    May Gods Biggest blessing be bestowed upon you and yours!!
    Dore & daughter Hannah

  10. Sheila

    That was such a sweet jester that you and your kids did. And at the same time you were teaching your kids that it is important to care about other people. GOd bless you all. Merry Christmas.

  11. Heather

    Absolutely the best thing ever! I LOVE this idea. I will for sure try this. I can only image your kids faces when they handed these sweet words to people. That would make anyones day.
    Merry Christmas!

  12. Jennifer

    What a beautiful experience…one that I am sure your children will remember for a lifetime. Thank you for sharing this wonderful idea with us. There is no doubt you and your dear family blessed lives with these touching messages.
    Happy Holidays!

  13. Lana D

    I could just see it in my mind…the tears just stung my eyes. I had to catch my breath when I read about the reluctant woman mouthing words of grace and gratitude. Oh, Jeanne, you were given those three beautiful babies to raise for the King…and you and your husband listened. You both get it…Those three are your opportunity to make this dark world such a place of light…and you listened…to a spirit of God to love them and others to pieces…what a beautiful thing.
    and what a gift for the rest of us.

  14. Kim G.

    I too read the posts on this idea and wondered what the outcome would be, I am so glad you followed your heart on this one and now have a wonderful story to share and a memorable experience for your children as well. Blessings to you and your family.

  15. Lara

    I LOVE THIS, Jeanne! really great…what an important message for your children to grasp.
    for all of us to grasp.
    loving you–

  16. Alice

    What a wonderful way to spread cheer. I’m too late to do this for Christmas, but I would imagine this would be welcome any time of the year.
    Thanks for sharing, and have a Happy New Year!

  17. Cathy Linard

    I, too, cried through your post. Looking at my dining room filled with new toys, clothes & other possessions, I have felt for a long time that we need to infuse more meaning into our family’s Christmases. This is a great way to do it. My oldest daughter is a shy one so I don’t think she would cooperate. My little one, on the other hand, would talk to anybody anytime. So she would definitely be happy to hand out the slips of paper.
    I’m a new blogger and learned about you through Tara Frey’s book. I am so glad I looked up your site. It is beautiful! I blog about success in the retail, interior design and furniture sales businesses. But I mentioned your site in my post today because of the wonderful music I heard on your site. It really enhanced the blog-reading experience. I had no idea you could put a playlist in your blog. I’m going to look into that further. You can read your blog’s mention on http://www.FABResultswithCathyLinard.blogspot.com.

  18. amy~ the gypsy chick

    i can not tell you how much that i love this idea! we are definitely going to do this next year!
    i hope that you& your sweet family had a very blessed christmas!!!

  19. Martha

    how wonderful, wonderful to do with your children! I’m sure it meant the world to everyone.
    Hope you had a fantastic Christmas and Happy New year to you…your tree looks beautiful

  20. Bridget

    I just read your post as I’m terribly behind on reading my favorite blogs. I love (!) your post. Went to the Brave Girls Club site and watched their video and teared up. I think I will print them out and carry them with me. Thanks for sharing!
    PS You DO make the world a better place!

  21. kathy

    Hello, dear one…I haven’t stalked your blog in awhile and am catching up tonight. This post just melted my heart…especially the part about Jack. You and your family are such a gift to the world. I love you.

  22. Simply Bungalow

    What a wonderfully sweet idea. I have two small children and I am always trying to teach them about being selfless and the simple kindness that make all the difference. I just love that you were able to capture that lesson in such a memorable way.
    Happy Holidays,

  23. Tyla

    Happy New Year. I found you via the Lettered Cottage and wanted to thank you for this post. I hope I will remember and take the time to do this with my children next year.

  24. Stacey

    This is a fabulous idea and one I’m tucking away for next year…or maybe at some random time this year! Thanks for posting this 🙂

  25. Shabby Vintage Junk

    Oh My HEAVENS Jeanne….I’ve just popped over from FMS & this post has BLOWN ME AWAY….I am sitting here at work with tears rolling down my cheeks BLUBBERING like a child….What a WONDERFUL experience for all of you but ESPECIALLY for your children….This simple activity….Showing kindness to strangers is a VERY powerful message….One that will resonate with them for years to come I’m SURE….What a FABULOUS Mum you are….!!
    I’m THRILLED to have had the opportunity to find this post of ALL the posts in the blogisphere & THANK YOU for sharing this experience….!!! I often compliment people on the train, “Oh I love your shoes” or “That colour really suits your gorgeous eyes” & wave at strangers when I’m out driving but I would NEVER have thought of doing this….!!
    Warmes wishes for an EXTRAORDINARY 2011,
    Tamarah :o)

  26. Kim

    LOVE this! One year in Germany, Ethan and I were waiting for Ada’s school bus. A woman walked up to us and gave us each these beautiful packages of candies and said Merry Christmas. I was so touched and thankful. When we got home, we couldn’t wait to taste these beautiful candies (yes, eating candy from strangers, I know!) We both opened ours to try them. YUCK!!! They were Durian flavor and they were disgusting – I had seen her coming out of the Thai grocery store, so I should have known! I was so hurt. I like your idea much, much better!

  27. Nan

    Wow. Wow. Wow . . .
    I wish my kids were little again. They’re grown and gone to live their lives. Cherish the time you have with your children just as you have been doing. I tried to hold onto those memories when mine were little, because you know the time is fleeting.
    When my boys were little, we would pick a little Christmas craft to do each year and then they would happily run around the neighborhood delivering their handmade treasures to the elderly on our block.
    You are Jesus’ hands . . . and you’re teaching your children to be the same.
    Blessings to you!

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