It's the time of year again when children are getting excited, Christmas trees and decorations are being put up and those important wish lists are being finalized. While all those celebrations are fun for families, it can be easy to let Christmas become all about us.
This Christmas, take some time to develop a spirit of serving in your family. It really is better to give than to receive and through some creative thinking you can make this a really meaningful season that will let your children really give from their hearts.
Here are a few ideas to help you get going -
Take your family grocery shopping to provide a special Christmas Day dinner to another family. Think of someone you know who has had a hard season, or is dealing with an illness or loss and bless him or her with all the trimmings to make a special Christmas meal. Take you children with you to the grocery store and let them help pick out some items for the Christmas dinner. Potatoes, carrots, cranberry sauce, gravy, stuffing, turkey, etc. Add a giftcard from a grocery store for some extras. Put it all together in a nicely decorated box and have the children make a special card to go along with the dinner. Deliver the Christmas meal together and be part of blessing another family.
Acts of service make for great gifts! Have your children think of ways that they can bless others by doing something for them. Maybe babysitting, helping with outdoor work, cleaning the house, shoveling the snow or whatever they think they can do to help. Make up some coupons and give those out as Christmas gifts to friends and family. This is a great way for children to learn that they can bless other people, not just by going to the store and buying presents but by serving and helping them.
Children love to get creative. Do up some Mason jar gifts this season! You can make some yummy soup, hot chocolate or cookie mixes that will be enjoyed on a cold day. You also could make some "get warm" packs (mittens, hand warmers, hot chocolate) that would be a great gift for your crossing guard or bus driver. Have your children look for people in their life that serve them, and show them that they can bless them back by making them something special. (For more ideas of jar gifts, visit our pinterest page)
Take your children shopping to buy a new toy for another child at Christmas. Many workplaces and communities have toy drives that you can participate in. It's good for children to go and pick something out for someone else; it takes the focus of them and their Christmas list and helps them learn that they can give to others.
Many organizations in your community have events and programs that need volunteers at the Christmas season. Sign your family up to serve together at a community dinner or food bank, or even at a Salvation Army Kettle. It's great to get out into the community and helps children get a larger worldview and see the needs and opportunities around them.
Here are a few other quick ideas-
Visit a senior's home and hand out cookies.
Take a few small gifts for women and children to a shelter.
Clean out your toy boxes and closets and donate your good items.
Start a food drive at your school for the local food bank.
Take some treats to the police or fire station.
Visit the children's wing at a hospital and sing some Christmas carols.
Serving is not just for Christmas, but this time of year is a good time to get children introduced to a spirit of service. Hopefully this will be something that they learn to value, and part of their life all year around.
Happy serving together!