Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Light up the Night....2009

(Edit for a repost for an impromptu linky party:
....mainly because I was truly inspired by the generosity of my neighborhood...and because if more people were this generous...there would be many more smiles on the faces of those we live around...

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At the beginning of this year, my neighbor/friend Teri told me about this fantastic thing that her sister had done in her neighborhood at the beginning of December 2008...Teri really wanted to take on the same thing and do it in our neighborhood for the Christmas of 2009.

The idea is based on this book...

If you haven't read this short little book...you should...the idea is that you put your change in a jar throughout the year and then use that money to help someone in need at Christmas time.

Thus started....our 1st annual
Light Up the Night!

about a month ago, we (a group of us in the neighborhood) hand delivered a letter to every neighbor informing them that we would be gathering on Monday, December 7th. The letter informed that instead of doing neighbor gifts, we would like to collect gift cards to Target and/or Walmart (in any amount) to help some needy families within our own neighborhood...rather then do neighbor gifts. We thought that our money would be better spent helping a needy family then buying/making something for those we live by and feel obligated to do something for. (although I am pretty sure I will still want to bake and won't want to eat it all myself:)

We decorated Teri's cul-de-sac...
(if you squint and look towards the middle of the picture, you can see a few of the 7 burn barrels we had going to keep us warm on a night with 25* weather)...
besides the great archway that provided a beautiful entrance...the entire cul-de-sac was lined with white paperbag luminaries...

We put together these glass jars for everyone to take home...
(we found a company that sold us these at cost...that's $1 a jar)

The hope is that for the next couple weeks...all the neighbors who are participating will light the candle in the jar and place it on their porch...and then after Christmas and over this next year, we will fill our jars with our change so next year the money we put in the jar can go towards buying a gift card to help another needy family.

We were pleasantly surprised with the great turn-out we had...it was a cold night...but with 7 fires going...

and hot chocolate and doughnuts
(which we got donated...24 dozen from a local bakery)...

Everyone stayed pretty warm and had a great time. People were there from start to finish.

My boys did leave a little early because Lil D informed us, "I firsty and I freezing so bad"...(don't mind the bare hands he REFUSES to wear gloves)

I am so grateful for Teri for pushing forward this idea. We had such a great time...and raised a great amount of money. I am so happy that we will be able to help out more families in our neighborhood then we originally planned!

It's really hard to capture on film or put into words what an amazing night this was and how beautiful it all looked. It really kicked Christmas and the season of giving into high gear for me. I have been feeling so overwhelmed with so many things that this was just the thing I needed to put me in the right spirit. One lady there even commented that looking at the cul-de-sac full of neighbors, gathering around the fires with their hot cocoa and doughnuts, with smiles on their faces...was like a scene out of a movie. Really...it was just a wonderful night!

If you are interested in doing something like this in your own neighborhood, let me know. We have all the letters and invitations, etc that we would be more then willing to share with anyone that is interested.

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I am going to link to Toot your horn Tuesday...not for myself...but to toot my horn for all my generous and lovely neighbors who came out in the cold and who donated so much to help those in need this holiday season!

5 comments:

Jamie said...

I love this idea, what a great neighborhood.

Unguren said...

That is awesome. I am impressed that you guys put that all together.

christi said...

this is such a great idea and what an amazing way to bring your community together.

Jamie Bailey said...

I'm glad it turned out sooo well! I wish we could have been there.

Karla said...

Ok, seriously...you guys ROCK!! I could not help but get teary eyed reading your post. I would love to do this in our neighborhood! You are an inspiration!! XO

~Karla @ It's The Little Things...

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