It's the most wonderful time of the year. This month we will spend our time and energy focused on others. We hope our December calendar will help bring the Christmas spirit into your hearts and homes this season!

Decorating ginger bread cookies, from Fun Cheap or Free

Gift-giving, family traditions, Christmas countdowns, random acts of kindness, service to others, family Christmas parties, playing hostess to visiting friends and family, traveling — this time of year can be so busy! Slow down and take a look around because when we focus on others, it brings more joy to our lives. Let's exercise our ability to focus on others as Christ did and in return, better ourselves.

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We've simplified our December calendar to make it easy to fill in your own traditions and spend time with those people that matter most! You ready to wrap up 2021 with a BANG!?


FOCUS ON OTHERS MONTH

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Step 1. Print the Focus on Others Month calendar. If you're not already on the mailing list, SIGN UP HERE to get the December calendar emailed to you.

Step 2. Follow along! Each week there is a theme to help you focus on others. Then of course, we always suggest wrapping up the week with a simple date or family night to help keep you focused on the people that matter most.

Step 3. As always, adapt the calendar to work for your needs and help you get the most out of the monthly challenge.


DECEMBER CALENDAR & CHALLENGES

We know that most families already have advent calendars, movie bucket lists and such that are prepped and ready to enjoy for the month. So, we thought keeping our challenges simple and adaptable will help you focus in on what works for you during this busy and meaningful time!

THOSE IN NEED

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We love keeping our family focused on how we can serve and lift others at this time of year, instead of focusing on all those gifts we might get!

Grab your December calendar and make a plan for the month as a family to give this season… It can be small, simple things you plan to do for your immediate family. It can be the gifts you're giving to family and friends. Or it can even be the acts of service you want to do this season. It's completely up to you!

Remember, giving comes in many forms, not just financial. Here are some meaningful ways to give that will have a huge impact on your community.

  • Volunteer – Go work at a soup kitchen, homeless shelter, or nursing home. 
  • Special Treats – Take cookies and treats to local service members, like the police station, fire department, post office, and sanitation services. 
  • Help the Less Fortunate – Find a giving tree and help a family in need by providing Christmas presents to their kids.
  • Shovel Snow – Surprise neighbors by shoveling their sidewalks when it snows, especially those who are older or sick and aren't able to do it themselves.

No matter what you decide, just make sure you pick what works for your family and schedule. While you're already making your plan, now is a good time to schedule holiday activities you want to do as a family. Like serving, these activities can be as simple or as extravagant as you'd like.

Remember, you don't have to do everything to make it a magical season. Most of the time, the simplest things are the things that the kids love and make the biggest impact. Focus your time where it matters and plan the activities that your kids will remember and look forward to again and again.


FAMILY CHRISTMAS MOVIE DATE

If you haven't already, we encourage you to get started on your Christmas movie watching list with a family movie date night. Pull out the tent and sleeping bags, or make it a picnic under the Christmas tree! There are so many simple ways to make this a magical tradition.


NEIGHBORS WEEK

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There are so many people around us that touch our lives. The holidays give us a chance to show our appreciation and love for these special people. Simple neighbor gifts, acts of service, and reaching out to let them know how much you love them will go a long way to spread Christmas cheer.

Taking a few minutes to let our neighbors know they're on our mind is fairly easy for us but can be very meaningful for them. You don't have to go all out and spend hundreds of dollars on neighbor gifts, a small sweet treat or even a card can go a long way! 

Need some ideas? I've got your back!

  • Peppermint Bark – Talk about an easy and delicious no-bake treat! 5 ingredients + under an hour = your friends' and family's new favorite treat! You'll love how easy this peppermint bark recipe is to make.
  • Cookies – You can never go wrong with homemade cookies, but store bought are just as good when you're in a crunch! I don't know anyone who will turn down a cookie!
  • Candy – Buy a bulk bag and split it up in individual baggies!
  • Cards  – Have the whole family sit down and make handmade cards for everyone! Or buy a cheap box of blank Christmas cards and write special notes inside.
  • Family Night Gift Basket – Include a Redbox code, bag of popcorn, and hot cocoa packets!
  • Handmade Holiday Decor – If you're crafty and like to DIY, make an ornament or affordable gift to send their way.

Not only will your neighbors love these gifts, but you'll have fun as a family putting them together for everybody!


HOST A HOLIDAY PARTY

Whether you want to gather all your friends or make it a small holiday party for two, it's time to celebrate together! Grab some friends or family and play the bowl game! It's a LOT of fun and doesn't cost a dime. Just be prepared to laugh…a lot! 


COMMUNITY SERVICE WEEK

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This week we're focusing on our communities. There are SO many places where our communities could use a helping hand. Homeless shelters, humane societies, parks and recreation departments, schools and churches… Those are just a few. In most areas, there's an endless supply of need. Taking even an hour out of one of your days this week to serve anywhere in your community will not only make an impact on who you're helping, it will impact you!

This is also the perfect week to send a little gift to your kiddos' teachers, pop a treat in the mailbox for your mail person, or thank the other people who help beautify and protect your community — garbage men, police officers, fire fighters, etc. A little thank you goes a long way!


VOLUNTEER DATE NIGHT

Try to volunteer together for Friday night date night. There are so many ways to get involved in the community around you and it can create very meaningful experiences. Whether you do a family Sub for Santa shopping date or volunteer at a local soup kitchen, there are so many great options to help those in need in the community.


FAMILY WEEK

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Most of us have a little time off this week! Kids are home for Christmas break, which means it's time for a little quality family time. Cross off all your favorite family Christmas bucket list items that you haven't gotten to yet. If you need help coming up with some ideas, check out our ultimate holiday bucket list that has over 50 fun ideas!


AT HOME DATE NIGHT

Snuggle up and stay warm together! Games, movies, puzzles and more! There are so many fun things you can do to connect as a couple or even as a family as you wrap up this week.


PAY IT FORWARD WEEK

Don't let the spirit of giving pass with the season. Continue to keep your focus on loving and serving others as we head into a new year! Let's plan to make it the best by continuing to pay it forward and think about others.


Alright, well there you have it! Put that December calendar to good use this month! We truly hope you enjoy your December together as a family and are able to make the most of it! What are your favorite ways to spend time together during the holidays? Share them with us in the comments below!

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We wish you a very Merry Christmas with many magical memories!

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