Giving Back

Looking back on your childhood you always have special memories that stick out more than others. One of those memories for me was in Elementary school. Our school bus driver was one of the happiest and sweetest ladies I’ve ever met. One Christmas she arranged with all the families a day to get all the kids together and pack shoeboxes for kids in need. I strongly remember how great it felt to be helping someone else. Now that I have children I want to instill that same drive to help others in them as well. The past few years we have been partaking in Operation Christmas Child which is organized by Samaritan’s Purse. As the boys get older I’d like to find other ways to help as well but for now, we are starting small.

So what is Operation Christmas Child? Since 1993, Operation Christmas Child, has collected and delivered more than 146 million shoebox gifts to children in more than 160 countries and territories. The boxes are filled with school supplies, hygiene items and toys. National collection week is November 13-20 and you can find your closest drop off location by checking out their website Samaritan’s Purse , you can also find suggestions on what to fill your shoebox with as well as make a $9 donation to find out who receives your box! If you can’t make it to the store or a drop off location before November 20 you could pack a box right on the website! You may also want to see if your local Chick Fil A is participating, when we lived in MD many of the local Chick Fil A locations were drop off points and even rewarded you with a free chicken sandwich.

Here’s a picture of our shoebox from last year. We included markers, pencils, coloring books, notepads, stickers, crayons, a soccer ball, yo-yo, soap, washcloth and toy cars.


How do you give back during the holiday season? We are always looking for new ways!


Christmas Bucket List

So I am not one to skip right over Thanksgiving and I promise you I’m not. I have a post coming later this week with some Thanksgiving crafts. Today, however, I’m sharing our Christmas Bucket List. I love this time of year, not for all the gifts we receive but for all the family time this holiday brings. Whether we are out shopping together, meeting Santa, attending a local event or just baking cookies and watching Christmas movies at home there’s a lot of special family time Christmas provides. I’m sharing our list of fun local events we hope and plan to attend so if you’re in the Palm Beach area you’ll want to check some of these out. Some of these aren’t strictly local.

  1. Santa comes to the Gardens Mall- Last year was our first year attending this and we quickly knew it would become a tradition. This year on November 17 at 6pm Santa is arriving at the Gardens Mall for the holiday season. Everyone has a big Christmas dance party in the middle of the mall and awaits Santas arrival. The local radio station comes to DJ and they have Elves and Toy Soldiers on stilts dancing, which makes for a great photo op. Then Santa comes down the elevator waving to everyone. It truly is a magical event.
  2. Holiday Celebration at Downtown Gardens- This one we won’t be able to attend but still wanted to include for anyone who may be able to. Downtown at the Gardens is kicking off their Holiday celebration on November 25 at 5pm. It will include a tree lighting, polar express train rides, a visit from Mrs. Claus, Cookie and Milk station and letters to Santa station. Every night between then and Christmas they have a light show set to music.
  3. Palm Beach Boat Parade– This will be the first year we get to attend this one and we are so excited about it! This will be on December 2nd starting at 6pm. Click on the link to read more about it and to see the parade route.
  4. PBG Tree Lighting Ceremony- We did attend this last year and it was another favorite! December 6 from 6-8pm the Burns Rd rec center is starting their holiday season with a Tree lighting, face painting, live music, Santa and Mrs. Claus, cookie decorating and Christmas crafts.
  5. Santa at the Palm Beach Outlets- The outlets offers FREE Santa photos. I believe you receive one 4×6 and 4 wallets. The Santa we had last year was one of the best we’ve met, can’t beat a great Santa and free pictures!

I also wanted to include some events we have done in the past that you should definitely check out if provided the chance.

Last year we attended ICE!  at Gaylord Palms. Every year Gaylord resorts nationwide have ICE! and each year it’s a different theme, they rotate through the resorts. Our theme last year was Charlie Brown. My boys love Charlie Brown so I knew we HAD to go. They also had a free 30 min Cirque Dreams show in the center of the resort which was amazing!  I’ll be linking up a post all about this experience. It was so worth the money and a memory we will treasure forever.

Three years ago we attended Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party at the Magic Kingdom. This was another special event and worth the money.  Santa stars in a special parade, fake snow falls from the sky, special character meet and greets and complimentary hot cocoa and sugar cookies. All of this makes for a magical evening, as is any evening at Disney 😉 If you’re going to Disney but looking for a cheaper (free) alternative I suggest resort hopping to check out all the holiday decorations. My absolute favorite is the Grand Floridian, they have a huge Christmas tree and a life-size edible Gingerbread house, which is neat to see!

Another fun idea that could be found local to any of you is the Nutcracker. Over the years the women in my family have gotten together to see The Nutcracker at local theaters. This is a really fun day out for little girls as well as the older girls.

What events are on your Christmas Bucket list?