Friday, December 28, 2012

Holiday Pin It/Do It: Pins No, 11 & 12

Another round of the Pin It/Do It Challenge, hosted by Trish @ Love, Laughter and a Touch of Insanity, is coming to a close.  The Holiday version kept me motivated to try some new ideas for Christmas decorations, gifts and food.  

#11: I wanted a centerpiece for the table.  Since we don't have a dining room, we would be eating in the kitchen so I thought it called for something not-too-formal, kind of rustic.  I loved this idea of using Mason jars...
from Ribbons and Bows, Oh My
 ... but preferred this idea of completely filling the jar with cranberries . . .
From Midwest Living
...but it needed more - like apples . . .
From Style Estate
  ... then I saw this idea, and wanted oranges and pine cones.
From Better Homes & Gardens
As too often happens, the ideas worked better in my head than in reality, but here's what we finally ended up with:  A plank of barn board for the base, artificial greenery, mason jars filled with cranberries and topped with tea lights, red fabric bows (yeah for quilting scrap piles), apples, oranges, pine cones and -- because I was getting frustrated that the fruit was too heavy to stay wired in place where I wanted it and nearing a Christmas melt-down that involved throwing the entire thing out the back door -- an adorable cardinal-wearing-a-stocking-cap wired on top of an orange and stuck in the center.  (Thank you to my sister, Teri, for the gift of the cute cardinal.)  Not as gorgeous as what I had imagined, but festive and fun and colorful - just what the table needed.

#12:  Random Acts of Christmas Kindness.  This was my favorite pin of all!  There are many versions of this idea out there, but I got mine from  The basic idea is to do something nice for a random stranger every day during December leading up to Christmas.  I read several lists of ideas and culled the ones I liked and thought I could accomplish.  

There were several challenges that made this more difficult than I had anticipated.  First was cost.  Most of the ideas involved spending or giving money and over 25 days, that adds up.  I would have loved to have paid heat bills for needy families, or paid for the entire grocery cart of the young mother in line at the grocery store, but those large ideas didn't fit my budget.  The second challenge was keeping things "random".  It was tempting to reward the people who treated me well or did something for me, but the idea is to give randomly, not necessarily to those who deserve it.

Here's what I came up with:
  1. Small bottles of lotion, tied with ribbon and a card reading "You've been RACKed.  A Random Act of Christmas Kindness to brighten your day."  I carried them in my purse and handed them out to a couple store clerks and a post office worker.  Their reactions were awesome.
  2. Bags of quarters tied with a RACK card and taped to various pop machines.
  3. Similar bags taped to machines at the laundromat.
  4. $10 Wal-Mart card - Purchased in advance and sealed with a "You've been RACKed" sticker.  Here again, we had trouble with being "random".  We were going to give it to the checker to apply to the person in line behind us.  But that customer looked prosperous enough and had a cart full of cookies and chips - obviously having a party.  So we scoped out a family with three small children.  Dave handed the envelope to the small child in Mom's arms and said "Give this to your mommy."  And we walked away - grinning!
  5. My largest RACK was $20.  Our nephew is a Marine, stationed in New Jersey, so we mailed his Christmas gift to him.  I included the small red envelope in the picture with a $20 bill inside, sealed with a RACK sticker, and a note instructing our nephew to give it to the next Marine he saw with our thanks and best wishes.  I haven't had a chance to talk to him yet to find out how that went.
Those five items used up my budget of $50, so the remainder of my RACKs were good deeds - such as returning an elderly ladies shopping cart to the cart rack to save her the long walk in the cold - that cost me nothing but some time and effort.

It's amazing how many ways you can find to be kind if you look around - and how good it feels.  I plan to make this  a daily part of life rather than an event to save for one month per year.


  1. Awesome, Tami! Your centrepiece is lovely. Your RACKs brought tears to my eyes. What a wonderful thing to do at Christmas. Have a wonderful new year!

  2. You are too hard on yourself - the table centerpiece is beautiful! Perfect! We only did one RACK but it was very fun I like the idea of remembering to do that all throughout the year! Now I want to know - is there a winter Pin It Do It Challenge out there?

  3. I love the idea of random acts of Christmas kindness & you're so right that so much does not have to be done with money. I was standing in line at a restaurant one day and my daughter saw a lady and her daughter coming with a wheelchair. She jumped out of line and immediately went to hold open the door. The ladies were both so surprised and pleased. When my daughter returned & saw the tears of pride in my eyes, she said "what? wouldn't everyone do that?" The truth is that kindness is not that common - I'm sure you made a lot of people very happy!

  4. Tami, looks like you had a fantastic holiday. I love the rack idea! I think I'll make it a tradition starting next year! Maybe for Valentines day!

  5. I really like the cranberry candle … I'll have to remember that for next year!