While it’s important to try and help others all-year round, I think this time of year makes people want to help others a little bit more. I often think how blessed I am for the life that we have, and that we don’t have any significant needs that we aren’t able to fulfill.
However, I know that’s not the case for everyone, and that there are many people in need. Whether it be monetarily, emotionally, or physically, there are so many people around us who need a little extra holiday cheer this year.
In an effort to try and focus on the less materialistic parts of the season, I thought I would put together this list of ways to help others during the holiday season.
12 Days of Christmas
We did the 12 days of Christmas many times growing up. It wasn’t always for people who were visibly struggling, but it was such a fun way to share holiday cheer with someone.
Here is a list of ideas for the 12 Days of Christmas, as well free printable tags for each day, just to get the creative juices flowing!
Random Acts of Kindness
A few months ago, I wrote about 40 different ideas for random acts of kindness. These are great to do year-round, but especially this time of year! This is a great thing to do with your kids and get the whole family involved. The smallest act of kindness can make the biggest difference in someone’s life!
Invite people who don’t have much family over for dinner
This time of year can be especially lonely for some, because it’s really such a family-oriented time. I feel like my parents always invite over people from church who are widowed or unmarried for dinner throughout the year, especially on the holidays. Opening your home to others can a great experience for everyone, and I think it really brightens other’s holidays.
Last year we put together this list of ideas for the 12 days of Christmas, along with some free printables, in case you need some inspiration!
Go caroling and deliver treats
Both Forrest and mine’s families have had traditions of going caroling to people around Christmas-time. I always look forward to doing this each year, especially because those that we go to always seem to love it (particularly the delicious treats we always bring.) This is simple to do, but it is sure to not only create great family memories but to share those memories with others!
We always enjoy making treats in our home together, so preparing treats to take to others can be a great family bonding experience as well! Here are some delicious Christmas cookie recipes you could pick from!
Write letters to servicemen or missionaries
Although I’ve never been in the military or served a mission, I can imagine that the holidays can be particularly lonely. While these people may not be able to be with their families during the holidays, writing a letter or sending a care package can make things a little easier.
In my youth group growing up, we would often do this as a mid-week activity. I always enjoyed it, because it also made me feel a little closer to those serving from my church.
Volunteer at a soup kitchen
This is something I’ve never actually done, but I think it could be a great thing to do as a family. I think it can be easy to get wrapped up in all the “glittery” parts of the holiday season, and by serving those that are less fortunate, it can help reinforce the ideas of being Christ-like and grateful for the things we have.
Buy something off a Giving Tree
There are Giving Trees everywhere this time of year. In the past few days, I have seen one at church, one at the local elementary school, and a few at different stores. These are filled with requests for everything from gift cards, to shoes and clothes, to specific items, that people need or want, but cannot afford. Most of the trees I’ve seen have items in every price range. When Jack gets a little older, I look forward to letting him pick out something from one of these trees, and I hope it will help him understand the joy that gives from giving, rather than receiving. I recently have tried to teach him this, and it’s fun to see him try to understand what I’m saying.
Visit a retirement center
This is another thing I’ve done often throughout my life. My youth group did it a lot, and I also went to retirement centers during college to sing Christmas songs. Many people in retirement centers never get any visitors, and I think they greatly look forward to these visits. I often think about my own grandparents, and how much they love being visited by our family, and it makes me so sad to think of those who aren’t visited often.
You could go as a family (or with a group of friends, or other families) and sing, play games, or just visit with those who are in the retirement center. Some of my favorite experiences have been when I’ve gone to a retirement center and seeing some of the people just totally light up.
Ask for names of those in need
If you belong to a church or community group, this is a great way to find someone to serve this year. Many people are struggling that you may not know about, but leaders in these types of organizations are typically more aware. While it’s probably good to try and not call attention to those who are struggling (as it may embarass them), this is a great way to find someone who may benefit from anonymous acts of service, like the 12 Days of Christmas.
Make a Wish for Them
Capitol One is doing a great campaign this year that helps so many people. All you have to do is share your wish for someone else using the hashtag #WishForOthers on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram between now and December 24th. Capitol One will be making some of these wishes come true, so if you know of someone who really needs a wish granted, take this opportunity to make that wish for them. You never know, your Wish For Others might be selected! Be sure to follow them on their Facebook page and Twitter. Here are Jack’s wishes: