It happens every year about this time. We plan our Christmas list for weeks, try to score the perfect gift, fight the crowds to get the best deals, purchase color coordinated bows for our gift wrap, tediously decorate our homes, send out the most adorable family photo card ever, and attempt to fight off the kids’ attacks of the I WANNA’s, when suddenly it occurs to us “WHERE IN THE WORLD DID THE REAL MEANING OF CHRISTMAS GO?”
One of the best ways to experience the true heart of Christmas and bring it back into the center of our families is by getting the focus off of stuff and onto serving others. So, this year, why not start a new tradition and find a special way to give back or serve the community as a family? The benefits are endless and it can be pretty fulfilling to put a smile on a face by giving your time, talents, or treasure as a family.
Loving on others renews our perspective and draws us closer as families and sets a lasting impression on our kids. And your experience together will resonate a whole lot longer than a toy that eventually breaks. And don’t think that you are the only one with good ideas! Ask your kids if they have any ideas to share. You may be surprised at what they come up with! So, fight back those grouchy scrooge blues and consider putting into action one of the following ways you can serve together! Memories are waiting to be made!
- This first one is my favorite and I cannot take credit for it. Our son and his girlfriend decided spur of the moment to go pick up some dollar store note cards, write some simple Christmas greetings inside and hand them out at a store front. They said they really enjoyed the reactions people gave them and the smiles they put on lots of faces. And anyone can do this!
- There are many homeless shelters in our Atlanta metro area that could use help in lots of ways not just through donations, but also through assistance with service projects or even just serving meals. A great place to start is MUST Ministries with locations in Marietta, Cherokee, and Smyrna.
- What about your local fire station? A great way to thank our fearless firemen and fire women for their service is to bring donuts with a thank you note from your family! And have the kids color some pictures to take as well!
- Who doesn’t like Hot Chocolate or Warm Cider? Set up a stand and donate your profits to your families’ favorite charity! There is something for every age to help out with this idea!
- If you are a crafty family, take a family photo and include it in Christmas cards your family writes to those in the military! An organization called A Million Thanks takes in the letters and will send them off to our military – active, reserve and veterans whether they are at home, abroad, or are injured in hospitals. It is a great way to let them know we are thinking of them and praying for them this Christmas season! Check out their website at amillionthanks.org
- And one more way to give back is through Toys for Tots! What a great way to teach your kids to think of others by taking them to go shopping for someone less fortunate. And they can be hands on by picking out the special toy they want to give to the charity!
Well, I hope these ideas inspire you to start thinking of a new tradition to begin this year. Choosing to serve and give back to the community as a family not only will teach valuable lessons to your kids about empathy and caring, but will also keep you and yours focused on the one who came that first Christmas night to set the perfect example of service and giving – Jesus.