What is better at Christmas time than the opportunity to gather your family together and spend time together doing something meaningful for others (people and pets!). Here are 8 helpful and feel-good activities that make a positive difference in your community.
“What if Christmas, he thought, doesn’t come from a store? What if Christmas, perhaps, means a little bit more?” Dr. Seuss
#1 CHRISTMAS LIGHT THANK YOU CARDS
Go for a drive or take a stroll through the neighborhood and take a look at all the houses that have lights up or an outdoor Christmas display. As a family, pick your favorites and send or deliver a card or a note that says “Thanks for Brightening up Our Christmas with Your Lights.” You can be sure they will be thrilled to receive this unexpected gesture of appreciation!
#2 PAY IT FORWARD NEIGHBORHOOD PROJECT
Start a Pay It Forward Christmas chain on your street or in your community. Do something nice for a neighbor like shoveling their sidewalk or walking their dog. When they say thank-you; give them the Pass It on Note or if it’s an anonymous act, leave it somewhere they will find it.
#3 SHOWING SENIORS YOU CARE
Remember, there are many seniors who are on their own during the holidays. Consider checking with nursing homes or senior programs in your area and inquire if they might know of a senior who would benefit from a card, gift or visit.
#4 BAKING COOKIES FOR OTHERS
Do a family cookie bake and have each member of the family pick and prepare their favorite cookie recipe (little people will need help of course) then share your festive delights with the babysitter, teachers, neighbors and friends. This not only allows for the opportunity for kids to learn to bake and quality family time, it gives them a chance to share with others. It can be expensive to do a lot of baking so rice crispy squares are a great affordable option.
#5 MAKE A MOVIE AND INSTEAD OF SELLING TICKET FOR THE PREMIER – ASK FAMILY AND FRIEND FOR A FOOD BANK DONATION
You can be the stars of your own Christmas play or video and write, direct and perform your own Christmas special. Maybe there is an ice-storm and Santa is trapped in a mountain of ice! How would you rescue him and save Christmas? Have family fun creating your Christmas story. Invite friends and family to come see the show and ask them to bring along a food item or toy for donation to a local charity.
#6 DONATE TIME TO COMMUNITY ORGANIZATIONS
Do a shift as a family working at a local food bank, serving at a community Christmas dinner or volunteer to wrap and or distribute gifts for Santa’s Anonymous.
#7 HOT CHOCOLATE STAND FUND RAISER TO HELP THE HOMELESS
Instead of a lemonade stand, how about a hot chocolate stand. Invite friends and family to drive by and donate socks and gloves that you can give to the local shelter or community agencies that support those in need.
8# FOSTER/ADOPT A PET FROM THE SHELTER OR DONATE TIME, FOOD OR BLANKETS
If you are thinking of getting a pet for the kids this Christmas consider visiting the local shelter and inquiring about adopting or fostering a pet in need. Even if you’re not wanting to actually get a new pet, shelters are often in need of volunteer help over the holidays or donations of blankets or food. How about reaching out to neighbors, friends and family to see if they have anything they could contribute and then going as a family to deliver your donations and visiting the animals at the shelter.
All of these are great ways to teach children the true meaning of Christmas while spending quality time together as a family. Helping others can be helpful to your family as well, quality time and shared memories of contributing to making the world a better place is the best gift of all!