The following post is by contributing writer Amanda of The Scarlet Paisley.
Each year around Thanksgiving and Christmas, I dream up ways our family of nine can serve other families and our community. But while I have the best of intentions, I’m lacking the needed follow-through at times.
This year, I’m thinking I’ll stop dreaming, and start doing. What do you say? Care to take your family on an adventure of kindness, compassion, and love?
Feel free to take one of my ideas and run with it, or do some dreaming of your own that fits your family’s tastes and your community’s needs.
1. Secret Rake Society
Grab some rakes, trash bags, and your family and head on over to surprise someone by raking their lawn! When you’re done, make sure to post a sign by the bags of leaves saying something like, “We’re Thankful For You! Love, The Secret Rake Society.”
2. Dinner Blessings
After giving birth to our seventh child, I had a friend who delivered around 24 meals (both fresh and frozen) to our door over the span of several months. (What a friend, huh?) I was unbelievably blessed and thankful for this dear friend who took our family on as her project. Did I mention she has four children of her own? A meal ready to pop in the oven is such a gift to any family. This holiday season, how about we bless a family welcoming children through birth or adoption with a meal or two or twenty?
3. Thanksgiving Shout-Out
In the days leading up to thanksgiving, I was thinking it would be fun to gather the family around in the evening, and make a call on speakerphone each night declaring as a group, “We love you! Happy Thanksgiving!” or “The Johnsons are thankful for you!” It’s nice to know you’re loved and appreciated. What an easy way to let the special people in your lives know how you feel about them.
4. Fostering Love
Our family has a heart for children in need–maybe yours does too. Perhaps during the holidays, we could bless children living in foster care by delivering care packages to your local children’s services office complete with new pajamas, a new toothbrush, and perhaps a cuddly stuffed animal. (Or any other items you think they may need or appreciate!) Or maybe you know a foster family who is able to express their needs directly to you, either way–have fun with it. And if you’re feeling extra generous, offer a gift of appreciation to the foster parents as well!
5. The Shop For Christmas Drop-off
Give the gift of time to your friends by offering an all-day babysitting service so Mom and Dad can have a day out to do some Christmas shopping. Plan a simple structure for the day with all the kiddos, so you guys can cash in on the fun too!
6. Handwritten Greetings
Spend a week in early December putting the kids’ writing skills to good use by composing Christmas cards for elderly adults living in assisted-living facilities. Spread a message of good cheer and hope, leaving the envelopes blank, so the staff can address them with names. Who knows? Maybe you’ll be given the opportunity to pass them out yourselves, and make some new friends in the process!
7. 12 Days of Secret Santa
This one sounds so fun. Adopt a family to be the recipients of your 12 Days of Secret Santa project. Maybe it’s a family who is new to town, or one you’ve known for years–either way, what fun it would be to surprise and love on this family (or individual) by leaving something each of the 12 days leading up to Christmas in their mailbox or on their front porch! The hardest part of the project just might be sneaking away unnoticed.
Well, there you have it. Seven ideas to get those creative juices flowing, and get your family involved in serving those around you. I’m already smiling, thinking about the memories made when we take part in a project or two this holiday season.
I’d love to hear about your adventures in serving others in the comments! What sorts of projects have you taken part in over the years?
Amanda lives and loves in a bustling household with her husband Jeremy and their seven kids. She blogs over at The Scarlet Paisley, where she writes about faith, motherhood, homeschooling, adoption. Amanda is nuts about Christmas music and Downton Abbey. Connect with her on Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, or Instagram.
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