The spirit of Christmas can truly be found in the idea of giving. Now, this doesn’t necessarily mean the giving of gifts. The gift of your time can actually be much more valuable. Even in the hustle and bustle of the holiday season; carving out time to volunteer for worthwhile causes will make you feel good about yourself. It’s the best way to find your Christmas spirit.
Here are a few ideas that line up with that spirit of giving during this joyous season.
Get involved in local charities
In these trying economic times, many families may do without this Christmas. Children are the hardest hit when funds are low. Check with your local churches, Chamber of Commerce, or other charitable organizations to participate in local toy drives. This is the best way to bring joy to those less fortunate this Christmas. Check with local food pantries to see if you can volunteer your time to hand out food. If you can’t spend time there; bringing in bags of non-perishable goods can still make a difference.
Think of purchasing books for your child’s classroom. Easy read books can be bought for only a few dollars. Check with local book sellers to see if they’d like to donate. Just be careful when contributing money to charity organizations. Be sure they are operating legally and can readily provide proof of where the money they’ve collected is going.
Help elderly neighbors
If you have elderly neighbors near you, offer to do outdoor chores for them. Raking leaves or shoveling snow can be far too taxing on the elderly and they need the help of strong hands and backs. Get your children involved if possible. Show them your spirit of volunteerism to instill the same.
If you’ve experienced particularly dangerous weather, offer to pick up groceries or medicine for those elderly neighbors so they don’t have to venture out.
Participate in holiday decorating
Think about decorating the exterior of your home for Christmas. Remember the magic of your childhood as you saw all of the beautiful Christmas decorations. Even if you just add some pretty lights and wreaths to your front porch; it will feel special.
Consider hosting a Christmas dinner party
If schedules allow, try to have your friends over for a festive dinner party. Make a buffet of delicious holiday favorites like a spiral ham, sweet potatoes, and gingerbread. Consider playing Dirty Santa and have everyone bring a gift to exchange. Then have everyone draw a number for the order of gift selection. Each person who chooses a gift has the option to “steal” a gift they may want more by trading the gift they chose. A gift may only be stolen twice. This is a a guaranteed fun time!
Organize a Secret Santa exchange at church or work
Having a secret Santa exchange can be a great way for people who may not have family near; to receive and give several gifts. There are several websites that makes it so easy. Make it a five day event. Everyone needs to fill out a “favorite things” survey. This should consist of things like favorite authors, cookie, candy, or soft drinks, etc. Include hobbies or favorite pastimes. Then every day for five days small gifts are secretly given. On the final day, have a party to reveal Secret Santas. This gift is a little more expensive, but set a small limit like $20.
Share holiday treats
A relatively inexpensive gift you can share with neighbors is home baked holiday treats. Delicious cookies, homemade candies, and even savory treats packaged in pretty cellophane makes a festive gift. If you love baking cookies there’s a great shortbread cookies recipe here. You can even fill bags with nuts, fruits, and store bought candies to give as gifts to neighbors, your mail carrier, or delivery person.
Everyone likes to be thought of at the holidays, even if it seems like a small gesture.
It takes no money or gifts to just be thoughtful by checking on your neighbors. Ask genuine caring questions when you see them. Let them know that you are available should they require any help from you. You can even return their trash cans to their home on the day the sanitation truck comes. Little gestures can carry big weight. Everyone wants to feel remembered at Christmastime. It only takes a little bit of your time to make this happen.