26 Acts of Kindness

December 14 marks one year since the shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, Connecticut.

I will not forget that day, how I cried at my desk, alone at the office; how I listened to NPR for emerging details; how I worried for my children and wanted more than anything to be with them; how I my voice shook as I explained to the older one, later, what had happened.

My daughter is in first grade this year, the same age as so many of the beautiful children who died that day. My heart breaks for those families as the anniversary nears, as they continue to grieve and miss their loved ones, as the events of that day are once again a top news story. 

This year, I want to do something to honor the lives that were lost that day. I'm going to pick up on Ann Curry's 26 Acts of Kindness challenge - to encourage people to commit 26 Acts of Kindness to honor each life lost at Sandy Hook. I'm in the process of putting together our 26 Acts Plan for December and January.

I'm also trying to simplify our holiday season. For example, we usually give every single teacher a small gift - which can add up to about 20 teachers between the two kids. This year, we're going to give handmade cards and make a donation to our local food shelf's toy drive instead. We've been sticking to a simpler gift giving strategy over the last few years: something you want, something  you need, something to wear, something to read (and my kids have added a couple of others, which vary from year to year: something to watch, something to eat, something for art, something for feet). I've also told the children that I'm going to email Santa and ask him to tone it down a bit this year.

We are kicking off our 26 Acts of Kindness with A Book for Sandy Hook - over the last few months, I've been collecting twenty-six easy readers. Each of the 22 students in my daughter's first grade class will receive one next Friday and the extras will be donated to the class library. Each book will have the name of one of the 26, like this one:

My blogging and other social media activities will be limited from here on out for the remainder of December, although I'll be posting a couple of times over at YA Buccaneers. I'll check back here on New Year's Eve.

I wish you a peaceful and blessed holiday season, filled with wonderful books, relaxation, and time with the people you love the most.


  1. What a lovely idea, Sara! Enjoy the season.

  2. I love this, Sara. Such great ideas. Thanks for sharing! :)

  3. First, I love all those little rhymes: something you want, something you need, etc. I haven't heard that before but it's a really cool way to have focus instead of just toy explosion or "let's all hand each other gift cards." We are determining which charity to donate to--maybe Red Cross or our state food bank since we had several towns in our state majorly damaged by tornadoes last month.

    I do have a question on the books for kids. When you put the name of the Sandy Hook child in the book, which is a lovely idea, is the intent of this act explained to the kids? Do the kids know about the massacre, or how is it explained to them? I'm always curious how traumatic events are communicated to young children; I think children are capable of more than we expect sometimes, though how that is handled is what matters.

  4. My daughter is also in first grade this year. It's terrible when awful things like this happen to innocent children. It just breaks my heart.

    Happy holidays to you, Sara!

  5. What a lovely idea.
    Wishing you a lovely holiday season too.
    Love the gift rhyme, I'm writing that down!


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