The Holiday 101 in 1001 List!

I have just over six weeks of my 101 in 1001 challenge left, and am powering through checking a few last items off my list! The holidays were a surprisingly perfect time to hammer through some philanthropic items, as well as a few fun little adventures! 

First, I checked off #45, Participate in a Holiday Adopt-A-Family. I had a hard time finding an organization in the Twin Cities that allowed a group to adopt a whole family...it seems like things have gone more toward the "general donation" model around here. Fortunately, South Bend still allows full adopt-a-family, and the Notre Dame Piccolos always adopt a family!

This year, they opened it up to alums and shared details in our private Facebook group...because naturally the piccs have our own group. Our funds supported an adorable family with 4 kids: Sariah (9, girl), Jean (7, boy), Julien (7, boy), and Seline (4, girl). Per FB, the girls both love Frozen and Barbies (who doesn't really!?), and the boys both love Star Wars and Legos. The section also them all warm clothes, pajamas, and socks for Christmas.

With Venmo to streamline payment, putting my money where my mouth was couldn't have been easier! 

Next up: #87, Send Christmas Cards! 

I went a little nuts in Emily McDowell's amazing online shop (seriously, I want everything they sell), and ordered three different options, plus a special inside-joke card for Kait. 

During the polar vortex, I stayed in all weekend, recovered from the plague that had completely knocked me out, and wrote cards in bed with Netflix holiday movies on in the background. 

Then I kind of blacked out in PaperSource last week and ended up walking out with, among dozens of other things, a stamp, gold ink, and stickers that matched my cards shockingly well. I stamped stamps, stuck stickers, and addressed envelopes to my heart's content. 

And boom! In the mail and headed to my friends' homes right in time for Christmas!

In other fun items, I checked off #92, See "The Nutcracker," with Jodester last weekend! The State Theatre in downtown Minneapolis is one of the prettiest historic venues in the Twin Cities, and couldn't have been a lovelier venue for Loyce Houlton's "Nutcracker Fantasy."

Jodester and I had a blast checking out the hundreds of darling little girls dressed up in their Christmas best, making fun of flamboyant Uncle Drosselmeyer (who creepily inserts himself in EVERY SCENE being creepy), and marveling at the ballet. A perfect way to escape the Polar Vortex!

One of the items on my list that I wasn't sure how to check off was #46, Donate time or money to a charity initiative for veterans or soldiers. When I stumbled across Wreaths Across America this November, I knew it was the perfect way to give back. My mom takes pride in making sure that my grandparents' graves have flowers or wreaths on them year-round, and as my grandpas are both vets, this cause was near and dear to my heart. 

While I only donated this year, I'd love to actually participate in the wreath-laying at Fort Snelling next year. Such a cool cause! Please consider checking it out and donating if you're interested!

Finally, another great donation opportunity arose in checking off #50, Volunteer or donate through the ND-MN Alumni Club! Every year, the Club sponsors a Christmas party in collaboration with Centro, a Twin Cities charity that serves more than 7,000 Latino-Americans. The party alone is host to 1200 Centro parents and children, and takes a massive effort from ND alums and families to put on every year. 

I've participated in the past, but I couldn't this year (again due to my lovely malingering illness. Instead I made a donation online, and am looking forward to participating in years to come! 

Here's to the festive season, friends - a great time to spread cheer, have fun, and give back. Happy holidays!