While discussing the classic movie, The Christmas Story, I was reminded of how much children focus on getting the perfect gift during the Christmas season (and well before). I’m serious when I say that my son has been reminding me about a specific dinosaur toy on his Christmas list since August. It’s easy for all of us to become consumed with consumerism during this time of year.
And, fortunately, as I mentioned in my last article, Four Ways to Serve with your Family this Thanksgiving, while the holidays certainly highlight our selfish side, they paradoxically bring out our our most unselfish side as well. We focus on getting what we want for Christmas, but we also have a heightened desire to serve. This year, in an effort to focus on the latter, I put together a few simple ideas on how to work as a family to serve and bless others. If you have other ideas, please share them!
FOUR WAYS TO SERVE THIS December
1. Donate to a Toy Drive: One of my favorite parts of Christmas is picking out toys for my kids. Why stop there? There are toy drives in every city that allow you to pick out toys for children who would not have many otherwise. Check out Operation Santa Search to find one near you. If you don’t have extra shopping time, some of these drives also accept monetary donations.
2. Make stockings for the homeless: My friend Travis, the youth minister at our Church, came up with this fantastic idea: he and the youth group are collecting personal hygiene projects along with socks, gloves, etc. to stuff into stockings for the homeless. They will be bringing these to a local shelter, but having these in the car to pass out in December would also be helpful. I’m going to make a trip to the dollar store with my kids soon to collect items for this great effort.
3. Pack a box to send to the troops: I can only imagine how hard it is for soldiers to be away from their families this time of year. A box of nonperishable items might be just the encouragement they need. You can see my article on serving our soldiers for ideas on how to work with your family to encourage our troops, or check out AnySolder.com for instructions on how to send a box to a specific solider this holiday season.
4. Sing Carols at a Senior Center: I will never forget watching my son hand out valentines to residents of an assisted-living community on Valentine’s day. Contact a local Senior Center, and ask if you can come by with your kids to sing a few carols. Check out A Valentine’s Day to Remember for some tips on doing something like this with your kids.
5. Practice Random Acts of Kindness: I have grand ambitions of doing a random act of kindness with my kids each day until Christmas. Brainy bloggers provide several helpful lists like 25 Random Acts of Christmas Kindness from Kid’s Activities Blog. Realistically, I probably won’t do all of these but doing even a few will be meaningful for all of us.
The Berenstain Bears and the Joy of Giving by Jan and Mike Berenstain is a playful story about one Christmas Ever when Brother and Sister Bear learn about the joy of giving to others. Reading this book with your kids will be a great way to remind them about the importance of giving rather than getting at Christmas.
THANKS FOR READING
I admit it, I have already ordered the dinosaur that my son wants for Christmas. I’m thankful that I’m able to get him exactly what he wants (and thankful that it isn’t a BB gun). But this Christmas I’m also going to try to focus his attention (and mine) on giving rather than getting. I’m still trying to think of creative ways to serve this season, so if you have other ideas, please share! Also, if you are interested, click here to start a club of your own. Thank you so much for reading, and let’s go love people on purpose.