First off, I’m not going to tell you that you CAN’T enjoy the gifts you get this Christmas time. The reaction of joy, surprise and fun could be just what the giver loves to see–Gift Giving could be their Love Language. And let’s not forget the biggest gift of all that we should TOTALLY be jumping up and down about: Christ, His love for us, and the Grace He gave you and I.
But if you do have a little bit of time and really feel like you want to give back, that you have an itching to go out and serve, there are ways. Single mom Adriana Velez shines a little light on ways to get the whole family out in the serving world during the holidays:
1. Secret Santa: I love it when communities and church groups organize these. Think of a family that’s struggling this holiday season because of illness or financial hardship. And then leave surprises on their doorstep every night. Kids especially love picking out toys for other children — and they love ringing that doorbell and running away.
2. Visiting nursing homes and hospitals: Visit a retirement center and sing some carols for the residents. Or, if you’re not super confident about your singing skills, even just visiting with your kids will brighten people’s day. Same goes for hospitals, especially children’s hospitals. Always talk with the staff beforehand to find out what their visiting hours are and if there are any special gifts or services you could offer.
3. Soup kitchens: Pantries and centers that feed people in need help all year round, but it’s appreciated around the holidays. In addition to helping in the kitchen, you could also help collect non-perishables from your neighbors.
4. Coat drive: It’s getting cold — another drive your whole family can organize and run together is a coat drive. Collect hats and mittens, too. And if you have time, it’s nice if you can also help repair coats before donating them.
5. Shoveling brigade: Are there people in your neighborhood who need help shoveling their walks? Commit to shoveling through the holidays — and beyond, through the whole winter.
6. Visit your local firehouse: As the sister of a fireman, I think it’s awfully kind when families visit their local firehouses and bring the men and women on duty there cookies and other treats. It’s appreciated — and what kid doesn’t love seeing fire trucks?