Let’s admit it…Christmas often sparks feelings of “What’s-in-it-for-me-itis” with children who focus on Santa’s big delivery on December 25th. Teaching children gratefulness during Christmas is a must. What better to get our children to turn from self-thinking to self-less than by having your family give service to others. Serving others will help increase gratitude, create family unity and bring “merry happiness” along the way. Here are a few ideas to help your family feel grateful this Christmas.
1. Christmas caroling: You say you can’t sing? It doesn’t matter. When you get together with your fellow carolers, your can’t-sing-itis gets drowned in the make-shift choir. There are many people who could benefit from a musical visit during what could be a lonely or a difficult season for them. Look for widows or families who have recently lost loved ones. As an added bonus, take some baked goodies with you.
2. Offer to babysit: While parents feel the pressure of getting their holiday shopping done, step in to their busy lives and offer to babysit for a few hours. You can keep the children occupied by having crafts or a baking project ready to complete before their parents get home. Your children will have fun while associating with other children their age.
3. Elderly home visits: I’ve visited elderly homes on holidays. It always saddens me to see that there are some residents who have no family members nearby to visit them during the season. Bringing children into the home brightens up their days. It also gives your children a great experience in service while gaining an appreciation for the goodness of our older generation. After all, parents age, too. Wouldn’t you want your children to have gained that sense of compassion to prepare them for the time that they will be visiting you in your twilight years?
4. Collect food for the food bank: The food banks collect all year long. Christmas is a great time to donate canned goods to those in need. Enlist the help of neighbors, family and friends who are looking for a way to give during this holiday season. Perhaps your family could go the extra mile and say, “Instead of giving me a Christmas present, could you just make a donation to the food bank, instead?” Just a thought…
5. Volunteer to serve or to deliver meals: Many cities have a meal delivery system for elderly people. For some elderly residents, this may be the only hot meal of the day. It may also be the only human contact or smiling face that they see in their homes. Volunteer to bring Christmas cheer and a yummy meal to an elderly resident.
6. Send letters to military: At this point, letters that you write will probably not make it in time for Christmas. However, our men and women in the military are in need of supportive letters throughout the year. Write to our friends in the military so they will receive a kind word in the new year.
7. Offer to clean: I’m not kidding. Offer to clean a person’s home, their sidewalks or their icy car windows for Christmas. A friend of mine is grateful that the young men who live on her elderly mother’s block shovel her snow throughout the winter.
Click here to volunteer to clean my house!!! Just kidding (:
8. Do a family Secret Santa project: Choose a family in need. Have your family bake, make or buy goods that might help that family out. Secretly leave a basket on their door step, ring the bell and run away. Your family will be thrilled at the secret-keeping and their hearts will be warmed when they turn to help others.
9. Gift a meal: Rather than giving baked goods for Christmas, make a meal for a busy family instead. It doesn’t have to be complicated. You may take a frozen lasagne, fully warm it up and then deliver it to your chosen family. You’d be surprised at how grateful people often are with an unexpected break from cooking for one night.
10. Just visit:When I was young, my parents would take me to different relatives’ homes and visit with them. Some were related and some were old family friends. Back then, I didn’t realize just how much I learned from those visits. I grew to appreciate and to feel a connection to wonderful people. Many of them are gone now. However, I still carry in my heart the memories of getting to know those who affected my family so positively. Nowadays, with people being so busy, the art of visiting and listening seems to be a low priority. Teach your children to appreciate people through simple friendly visits to those you love dearly.
There you have it. 10 awesome service ideas to help your family to feel gratitude this Christmas.
May you have a Merrily-Grateful day!
The Happy Balance Girl