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My name is Suzy Plantamura. I live in sunny Orange County, California by the beach. I have three kids, one grand baby, and two dogs. I draw watercolor cards and design stamps for Simon Says Stamp. I have a blog series called "one stamp, five ways" that I post to two times a week. I want to motivate and inspire others to use their stamp sets more and learn new techniques. I love designing products and making cards to share with others!
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December 10, 2007



Twenty years ago??? No way....looks like yesterday you hot momma!!!

This is what we are doing this year. None are my original ideas but the kids are still small. I have a bunch saved up for when they are older.

Our church has a "sister" church who is less fortunate. We picked up sacks with a list for a child (example 6th Grade girl). We buy some of the items on the list, fill the sack and return it to church. Then, they distribute it to the kids at the school.

The other is one of the service projects of an 8th Grade boy at the kids' school. He is collecting gently used coats, hats and gloves for the less fortunate. I got the kids involved buy letting them decide which things they would give away. It was SO nice to see how generous they were. They went to school today with two hugs bags!!

Hope that helps!! Can't wait to see what you come up with.



This is a neat post -- I can't wait to read the comments!

Every December at my church, we do RAK cards -- along with a random act of kindness, we give the recipient the card. I love the message on the back of the card because it highlights the entire reason for Christmas. This can be anything from changing a tire for someone, paying for the person behind you in the drive thru...just be random and kind! :) I did my first RAK card today. It felt so good to know that something nice would happen to someone, even though I have no idea who that someone is. And I really enjoy imagining up creative ways to do a RAKs! :)

Tara O'Leary

Last year my friends and I at our social justice group, made "care packages" with mittens, juice, tim hortons or mcdonalds ceritficates in a bag,plastic bag etc. and handed them out to the homeless...and we also did the same thing at thanskgiving except we dropped them off at the homeless centre or mission and helped for the thanksgivng and now this christmas meal...
Also, a great thing for the kids to incorporate kkids and your scrapbooking is volunteer at the chikdrens section is bring scrapbook supplies and help the kids at the hospital make pages for them and their family, they really love that! I dont have kids myself as Im only 18 but I brought my little cousins and they really learned something about helping out!
And that is one great experience in Cambodia..I feel the same way at christmas and would love to give back more...amazing thing you did!

susan lyons

This is so nice to read what other people are doing. I love to have ideas of things to do with my children. This year we are going to a warehouse and making up boxes of food to give to families. I think it will be nice to do something so hands on. Throughout the year we glean (pick produce and box it) for needy families. The boys are just exhausted (in a good way) when we're done. I think the more hands on the RAK is the more meaningful it is for them.

I hope you find something that's works well for your family. Merry Christmas, Suzy!


So this may be repetative of what others have already said. Each year at the kids school every class adopts a child/family in need. I love that the kids are learning to be giving and compassionate at a young age. We shop together to pick some things out. Even the preschool has adopted a mother and three children who need shoes, clothes and coats. We even decided to purchase a disposable camera and give her a memory book so she can capture and keep the memories. I also am planning on sending a box of goodies to the troops overseas but I think I may be too late to get it there in time for Christmas- but it is still on the to do list.
Enjoy this season Suzy- it goes way too fast!


I'm a lurker here, but had to post what my son did during this busy season...
For my son's community service project, he enlisted his cub scout den. He collected items such as hotel toiletries, un-used happy meal toys, socks, underwear, crayons, notepads, etc. A couple of the local businesses chipped in, and the Cub Scout Den donated money for supplies. At the end of the year party, everything was laid out and "goodie bags" were made. We made around 50 of them to donate to a school in need. It totally warmed my heart for my 7 yo to help out people that are less fortunate than him.


I love the idea of a RAK, paying for a customer in line behind me is my favorite idea, and one I vow to try this holiday season. Oh what fun...

I'm also going down to my city hall to adopt a family for christmas, usually a single parent struggling thru the holiday. I'll do what I can, which honestly isn't a whole, whole lot, as I am a single parent, too...fill a bag with food and clothes, plus a wrapped gift or two.

Great post, can't wait to check back and read thru all the wonderful ideas that are sure to flood in!

Susan  Lew

Every year my group at work adopts 2 - 3 families and we buy them clothes and toys; but this year we are also participating in a project that collects items to send to our soldiers. Items as small as packs of hot chocolate or oatmeal, gum, toothbrushes, combs, etc. The soldiers also asked for little toys that they could keep in their pockets so they could pass them out to the kids they meet on the street. That part really touches me.


Hi Suzy,

Love that photo of you. You have not changed a bit. You still look as young.

We don't do much for gifts with our family for Christmas. Only PJs for our girls. We go to Cuba the week before and bring them clothes and soap and toothpaste and little stuffed animals for the kids. To me that is so much more fun and rewarding. It also makes you feel so good to give to those who would not have much for Christmas. I love it! To me the real meaning of Christmas is Christ's birth and time with our family. I love going to Church Christams morning and singing JOY TO THE WORLD!

Have a blessed Christmas.

P.S. Suzy I sent you an email. I need your mailing address to send you your card! Love ya! ~J


Such fun ideas guys - thanks SO much! Keep them coming! I feel very motivated to spread some goodness this season and I'm so glad so many of you are doing the same! suzy

Kristi Smith

I love "Mary Did You Know"!!! Reading these makes me realize I need to do more with Cole. I usually do things myself or with my service group. I love the paying for the person in line behind you that Nicole mentioned, I haven't done this but this sounds like a fun one to me. I have bought people's meals before when we have been out to eat, people we didn't know. We also do the Adopt-A-Family and go shopping for them with my service group. Of course we always bake stuff and deliver it. A week or two ago I heard a couple start complaining they only had $8 and they needed gas as they were filling up their tank and I was going to pay for their gas but then they started cursing so I didn't but I was mad at myself that I didn't do it later because they probably could have used the kindness more than anyone. I love what Janette does as well, I think that would be very rewarding. I need to step it up! Love that photo of you, how fun that looks! I will have something posted "nice" later on my blog, keep checking!!! =)

Lia Biscoe

Hi Suzy,

Some of the things I have done:
Take a neighbor (primarily Sr. Citizen) a meal, egg nog, a mini tree and a plate of cookies.
This year I am helping some Seniors who are no longer comfortable driving - taking them to their doctor or hair appointment. Taking them to the grocery store or simply asking for their shopping list and picking their items up for them.
Last week while our team was out for lunch, a homeless man approached us for $$, instead of cash we went into the restaurant and ordered him a full meal and presented it to him.
Happy Holidays to you and your family,


My hubsand and I like to adopt an angel tree child to buy presents for each year. I also like to send Operation Christmas Child boxes overseas (through my church). These are shoe boxes wrapped and stuffed with anything & everything that you can fit into the box. It always feels good to do something for someone that wouldn't have Christmas if it weren't for strangers reaching out to help. That's the true meaning of!


a lot of good ideas...

brianne sheppard

Christmas is always a tought time for us, being a young family, but our sons birthday falls 4 days before christmas. He was born at 31 weeks and spent his few few weeks in the NICU at the hospital. If you hospital is like ours, then the NICO relies completly on donated sleepers to dress the preemies. They are always looking for little hats, and preemie size sleepers. The auxilary usually collects little gifts and messages for ALL the kids in the hospital too. Ty got a stocking filled with little things. It meant so much to us, I think it would be worth it for you to do for others. Have fun!


Suzy, you are so sweet!! That's it! Just wanted you to know!!


What a great post!!!!!! Man I want that mini album from you as you are the queen of them, so I am going for some extra credit points here!!! :)!!!!!

Make a 12 days til Christmas jar, box, whatever and put in these 12 things to do each day (I am personalizing it for you!)
1. Have breakfast for dinner in your best P.J's by candle light
2. Make cookies together and go caroling to friends house to deliver
3. Take a night and write letters to Santa, and read Christmas stories together
4. Have a Wii night and after each round have hot chocolate
5. Have a back to back movie night all cozied up in your bed...the WHOLE family!!! I reccomend "ELF" and "Snow Day"
6. Put everyone's name in a hat and have each person choose someone else's name. For the next 6 days you are their secret santa. Maybe you pick up after them, leave a note on their pillow, pack a cookie in their lunch box. Whatever it is you must not be caught, you can share on Christmas day.
7. Decide as a family if there is someone in need. DO something special for them...a fruit basket, homemade goodies, Christmas dinner?
8. Make ornaments as a family. Use clear balls and paint, fill, or decorate the ornaments for the tree.
9. Take the kids to the mall to see Santa (take your own pictures) And pick an angel from the tree and shop for the gift together.
10. Pack a Christmas picnic for the beach, and make a Christmas sand castle.
11. Spend the evening writing missionaries in your ward, and talk about service and making others feel loved.
12. On Christmas night leave the mess of the day behind and go out to the movies.

The day after Christmas call your friend Jamie and share how it went ;)


SO did you start today? It is 12 days before Christmas!!!!!!!!!!!!

Mary Ann

One of my favorite things to do with my older kids (and a few friends with their kids in tow) is go to a local nursing home and help the residents there make christmas cards. Being a scrapper for quite awhile, I always have extra cardstock and pretty papers. It's fun to help them make christmas cards so they have something to give when their family comes to see them.
Easy to do, but so meaningful to the residents there! I just call a few days ahead to make sure a day is ok on their schedule, and take boxes of stickers, papers and pens. There are 3 or 4 nursing homes in the area, so the last 2 years were at different places, and next weekend will be another new one.
I'm trying to get my co-workers involved this year, so I'm hoping next week we have quite a group going. Kind of a fun thing I started with just me and my kiddos.


We usually pick a child's name from the Angel tree at church and buy some presents for the child. And my girlfriend just did a big collection of socks from whoever wanted to donate. She wrapped all of the socks and is taking them to one of the elderly care homes here in our town.

Alicia Sharp

I always go to our local resthome and distribute candy to the elderly. I also will pay for someones order behind me in a line that I am in a drive thru! I have also bought toys and dropped them off at a children's home. I hope this gives you some ideas and I know you will find the CHristmas spirit!


There is a nursing home close to my children's school and in Kindergarten they get a pen pal. THis is a tradition and a big deal to the Kinder girls. (my girls attend an all girl's school.) Anyway, my oldest was very excited to get her pen pal. Her teacher told her that they were not going to get a specific person this year, but rather write a letter to anyone at the home, and the older folks would write a letter to any girl. (they had a difficult year prior because the folks are old and sickly and some had past away and made the school girls very sad) Anyway, my daughter's name is Eva, and it is not very common. A lot of Ava's and Eve's but not too many Eva's. Well, one of the old folks discovered that a new Kinder girl was named Eva and wanted to write a letter to Eva, my daughter. Eva and Eva have formed an amazing bond over the years, my Eva is now in 2nd grade. As a tradition the older folks come over to school to read with the girls and watch Christmas pageants. The school girls take field trips to play Bingo. We visit Eva when we can and take her small gifts. Last year we helped her wrap Christmas gifts. The folks home has a special Holiday tea for children that I take all 4 of children to. It is a highlight of the season for us. We love that place and the sweet Eva who wanted to write to my Eva. It was a small gesture that has turned into a nice friendship.


I forgot to put in the above paragraph that the older lady's name was Eva and she had never met a young Eva and wanted to write to my Eva, even if they weren't suppossed to.

sara b

I adopt a family from a local mission. I get my kids involved by trying to get a family with kids their age. They can pick out a gift they would love to have and have the giving heart to be able to give it away. Good lesson for them to learn. We also make up goody baskets with hot cocoa, marshmallow stir sticks, fudge, hugs, etc and give them out to families who maybe don't get these special kind of treats. (random, while out, family or families from church). The best part of all is that my kids are learning to have a giving heart and see the excitement upon a stranger's face to get such a small gift! Thanks for reminding me why I enjoy giving to others this time of year. P.S. My daughter's favorite song is Mary did you know? :)


Ok, so am thinking about this, and I think everyones ideas are great. THere is so much that could be done huh!

For me, as my husband is in the police force and is working Christmas Day as so many others are, I think it would be great to do something as simple as taking down some Christmas mince pies to your local station on Christmas Day for them to have.

I think my husband and his guys would appreciate something like this, especially from the public, rather than just their families. I will definitely be doing some baking to take down to them at lunch time to keep them going until they get home to their families, but I can just imagine how chuffed my husband would be if members of the public were to do something like that, to show them that they are appreciated, especially on Christmas Day!

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