Donna VanLiere said in her book The Christmas Promise, “Find what breaks your heart and get busy.” Serving others is the perfect way to open our hearts to the spirit of Christmas. Activities focused on selfless giving help us to reflect on the true meaning and depth of Jesus sacrifice. And it helps us get a first-hand view of the lives of those who live every day with the challenge of lesser circumstances than our own.
“To whom much is given, much will be expected…”
This is just a suggestion list. There are endless opportunities in your community beyond the ideas mentioned here. If you have a suggestion submit it here.
Blessing Bags This is a charity activity that our family does all year round. Get some gallon zip close plastic bags, and gather several of the following supplies from this list. The first eight we include in every bag, the rest can vary. Almost all items are purchased at a thrift store, and some are second hand but in good condition (not the socks). It is an enjoyable habit for me to scour thrift stores for items that would be good to put in our blessing bags.
Best to include: pair of men’s socks size L, toothbrush, small packet of tissues, small bar of soap or bath gel placed in a snack baggie, a list of all the local homeless shelters. We add a page of copied prayer cards that we printed ourselves, and a ten commandment coin (purchase coins here.)
May include: packet of hot chocolate or apple cider, small book of interesting or uplifting content, deck of cards, an un-activated glow stick, packet of high vitamin drink mix, small snack such as a box of Cracker Jacks, animal crackers, and a Capri Sun. We add a warm hat or scarf in the colder months. Any other items that would be helpful to the homeless? If you have another suggestion, please comment in our blog.
Chocolate for Charity On the day after Thanksgiving, set up a hot cocoa table outside of a busy store. Have a donation box on the table. Donate the money to a specified charity.
Cookie Box Voting Find four or five pretty cookie tins, and bake the same number of different types of cookies. Put a number on each cookie box. Place one type of cookie in each box. In front of each tin, place a small donation container with a slot in the top. . People then vote for their favorite cookie by depositing money in the corresponding container. Post a sign that says: “Vote Here.” Donate the money earned to your favorite charity. Post a sign that tells where the money will go. (If it goes to an animal shelter, have a box of doggie treats on hand)
No Time? Try these...
Purchase Solar Flashlights from BoGo Light.com, then donate them in bulk to developing countries. These flashlights are solar powered and never need batteries. The price is discounted for donations.
Generosity Water They build wells in developing countries that have no access to clean drinking water. Having access to clean water is the first step to overcoming poverty, yet 663 million people still live without it. Go to generosity.org.
Compassion International Catalog This catalog lists children’s gifts by price range, and includes items that will keep on giving long after they have arrived. For example, you can give a Bible for $10, or a goat for $100. A gift of a goat means the family will have milk, which they can consume and also sell for other needs. Click here for the catalog.
Want to help animals? There is always a need. Click to donate to the Humane Society.
Operation Christmas Child Organized by an amazing organization called Samaritan’s Purse, every year at Christmas thousands of shoe boxes filled with gifts are distributed to children in developing countries around the world. At our church the numbers of boxes donated grew exponentially every year. It was a wonderful thing to see. Click here to learn more.