For a lot of people, the holiday season is about receiving. We get Christmas gifts, a few days off of work and school, and time with friends and family. But we know from the Bible that it's even more important to give back.
So how can you give back this holiday season? What if you don't have much money to share? How can you involve your kids? This week, I've put together a list of twelve different ways you can donate, volunteer, and bless others this holiday season. While Christmas is an important season to remember why we're giving back, you can still participate in these activities year-round!
Operation Christmas Shoebox is an organization that collects shoeboxes full of gifts for children around the world. These shoeboxes are filled with personal hygiene items, toys, school supplies, articles of clothing, and other objects that help children experience God's love. More than 23 million children who have received a shoebox go on to participate in a discipleship program about Jesus and sharing Christianity.
To make sure you're giving a child the best shoebox possible, visit these guidelines. It'll give you packing tips, gift ideas, and make sure you know what to pack and what NOT to pack.
Giving Tuesday is the Tuesday after Thanksgiving. It's used to encourage people to be generous and do good. Anyone can celebrate Giving Tuesday! Here are a few ways you can:
sit down with your family and budget out donations to make to charities, your church, etc.
drop your change in a Salvation Army kettle
make someone a home-cooked meal
send a note to someone who has impacted your life
If you have some money to spare this holiday season, think about sponsoring a child through Compassion. Sponsoring a child helps a kid in poverty have a future. You can help them finish their education (children in the Compassion program are 40% more likely to finish secondary education, according to the Compassion website), provide them with clean water and other necessities, and more. It's a great way to share God's love and help break the poverty cycle. You can also build a personal relationship with your sponsored child by writing them letters!
Donate to or Set Up a Food Drive
Donate to or volunteer at your local food bank to help the less fortunate this year. This is a great thing to do with families. It doesn't cost anything to volunteer and you can help your children show kindness to others. Use Feeding America to find your local food bank or simply search "food banks near me." Here are some tips for organizing your own food drive.
Bake and Gift Christmas Cookies
This is one of the simplest things to do on this list! Spend a night in baking Christmas cookies and deliver them to neighbors, friends, families, or anyone else you think might enjoy a sweet treat. Sneak a cookie for yourself if you must and spread some Christmas cheer!
Pack Stockings or Bags for Homeless People
The homeless are definitely in need during this season, especially during the colder months. One way to show love to them is to pack a stocking, bag, or care kit. Portland Rescue Mission put together a list of the best things to put in a care kit that will effectively help. Pass these out to the homeless you pass everyday or keep a few in your car to give out when needed.
You can donate clean and wearable coats to help somebody who may not be able to afford one this season. Find a drop-off location near you, hold a coat drive, become a partner to make sure your area receives coats, or donate even just $1 to providing warm coats.
Baby-Sit For a Family For Free
Reach out to a family or someone you regularly babysit for and offer to watch their kids for free. Parents will enjoy a night out with no strings attached and someone who's struggling to find or afford a babysitter will really appreciate the help.
Not sure who to babysit for? Reach out to a leader at your local church. I'm sure they know someone who could use a helping hand for a few hours.
Volunteer at an Animal Shelter
Who doesn't want to hang out with cute pets? Shelters need volunteers to clean cages, fill food and water bowls, play with animals, walk the dogs, and more. Graphic designers, event planners, and accountants are all needed, so don't fret if you have allergies. Visit this site to find volunteer opportunities where you live.
Make Cards For Hospitalized Kids
If you're someone who loves arts and crafts or doesn't have a ton of money to spare, this one's for you. Cards for Hospitalized Kids sends cards to children all over the country who are hospitalized. Being a kid in the hospital can be isolating and lonely, but this organization works to brighten their day. This is a quick project, but a loving way to spread Christmas spirit. Here's more information on sending a holiday card.
You may not think about it, but sock donations are so important for the homeless! Socks aren't often donated, but they are a necessity many homeless people are in need of. Not having clean socks can cause many health problems and infections. The Joy of Sox is an organization that helps these people get socks. Learn more about donating or how to start a sock drive in your own area.
Make DIY Gifts for Your Neighbors
Sometimes the best way to give is to the people you interact with all the time. Make some fun and easy holiday gifts for your neighbors, your friends, or your co-workers. Some are lonely during the holiday season and it's a good way to let them know that they are loved and appreciated. I like these hot cocoa mix ornaments and edible gifts in jars.
I hope you enjoyed this blog post! If you've tried out one of these opportunities or have a different idea, let me know in the comments. Ciao, Zoe.
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