If you are like many families, the Christmas season isn't complete without a good family service project. Here are some ideas to help you find a fun family project that will leave everyone feeling the spirit of Christmas.
- "Christmas Jars": Inspired by Jason Wright's book, Christmas Jars, many families accumulate their loose change all year and then either give the jar full of money to a family that needs it or they use the money to fund their Christmas project.
Some families bake goodies all day and spend an evening delivering Christmas goodies, especially to folks who really need it.
There are many seniors living in low income housing with little family who depend entirely on strangers to experience love at Christmastime. A visit with goodies, some well-prepared caroling or even planning a meal can make a tremendous difference for them and give your children a great sense of having given someone a Christmas.
Sub for Santa
Many communities organize sub-for-Santa programs or Angel-tree programs that allow families to choose individuals or families to help provide Christmas. You can also find a family to help outside community efforts.
Feeding the homeless
There are hungry, homeless people in every large community in the world - and in many small communities. You can join or organize an effort to provide a Christmas meal for them.
Churches and other relief organizations sometimes accept donations of emergency relief kits containing things like soap, toothbrushes and towels - things that won't spoil with time in a warehouse and that can be deployed when needed after a disaster. Without leaving the comfort of your home, you can help to give disaster relieve by assembling kits.
Is there someone in your neighborhood who can no longer put up their own Christmas decorations due to age or disability? You and your family could do the work for her. What a fun way to share the Christmas spirit.
You and your family can volunteer as bell ringers for the Salvation Army to raise money to help the neediest members of your community.
Twelve days of Christmas
You and your family could choose a needy family in your neighborhood and secretly provide them with gifts every day for the 12 days before Christmas. Each evening, a new surprise could be left on the doorstep by the most fleet of foot member of the family while everyone else watches from the safety of the car.
You and your family can organize a group of families to go caroling either in your own neighborhood or to targeted seniors who would especially appreciate the gesture. Letting your children watch the childlike glee in a seniors face as a dozen carolers squeeze into a small living room to sing a few Christmas songs can be as enriching for your children as it is for the seniors.
The internet is a remarkable resource for finding opportunities to serve in your community. If none of the ideas above appeal to you, there will certainly be another way for you and your family to share the spirit of Christmas with someone else through service this year.