My favorite part of Christmas is that our daughter has a lengthy break from college. It allows us to spend some quality time together. This year instead of spending all of that free time with your kids in separate rooms doing different things or stuck with your total attention on devices, make a difference.
How you make a difference is totally up to your family’s creativity, energy and resources. Try to involve your kids in the planning and preparing of the projects you decide to do. Bringing them in at the end for delivery is not nearly as meaningful.
Here are some ideas to get you started.
- Bake cookies or put together soup or hot cocoa mix and deliver to neighbors. Bonus points if you can get your family to carol as you deliver. Our street has had this tradition for years (without singing!) and it has really broken down barriers. Just allow time for people who want to catch up on everything!
- Play games with people at assisted living facilities. Make sure your kids are well, as older people are very vulnerable to illnesses. Try to go on a Monday or another day when they are less likely to have visitors. Make sure to call the activities director ahead of time so they can put you on the calendar for residents.
- Volunteer to help sort donations. Many churches and charities are overwhelmed with donations of things at this time of the year. They often need help with wrapping, repairing, sorting and other less exciting tasks for which no one volunteers. Make it fun by telling your kids to think of it as a Mary Poppins sort of task. You may even want to watch the original movie and sing as you help with the tasks, too!
- Provide healthy snacks and no cook items for kids who will go hungry. Many children depend upon school meals for their main food. Many go hungry on weekends and holidays. Call a local school and see if you can provide healthy, pre-packaged snack foods for students to take home for food during winter break.
- Donate outgrown clothing. In spite of the many programs available, many kids don’t have the warm clothing they need. Coats, gloves, scarves, hats, socks, sweaters – anything that is in good condition and can keep them warm will help. Many live in situations where they is little heat inside, so even flannel pj’s are great.
- Visit those who are alone. Take a treat or drawings your kids have made. Encourage your kids to think of conversation topics before you go. Consider playing a conversation game using conversation starter questions. Your kids will get to learn a little about the person they are visiting and they will get to know your family better. Many people are especially lonely at Christmas and having visitors will brighten their day.
Want other ideas? You can go to our parent website at Teach One Reach One and find a lot of other ideas for service projects. Or if you are on Pinterest, follow our founder Thereasa Winnett or search for her service board, where she has pinned other great service ideas from around the internet.
Service projects are a great way to teach your children lots of godly commands and principles. It gives them real world experience in who, how and why God wants us to serve. If done well, it can also give your children practice in beginning to share their faith with others. Hopefully, what you do will also make a positive difference in the lives of people who need to experience a little more of God’s love in their lives through your family.
So pull out your family calendar. Gather your kids and start planning your Christmas of serving!