One of our favorite Christmas traditions is serving as a family. We wanted to share some service ideas for families to help your family this holiday season. It’s easy to get caught up with the busyness of the holiday season. And presents are always fun, but can distract kids from the real reason for Christmas. As a family we try to serve others everyday. This helps invite the spirit into our everyday lives and gets our kids excited about helping others. Our lives are filled with the true meaning of Christmas-following our Savior.
But with this time of the year is filled with parties, concerts, and get together’s. It can be tricky to make room for service. Sometimes we have better luck when we plan ahead. So with that idea I wanted to share some things our family likes to do every year. Some of them have some costs, but we try to keep costs down this time of year.
- Open doors at a busy shopping center. You have to pay attention to stores that don’t have automatic doors yet.
- Take cocoa to our outside school safety team. I am so thankful I can drive by and drop my kids off, especially when it’s freezing. We have wonderful morning helpers who are out there every morning, keeping our kids safe. I try to pick an especially cold morning to bring them a warm drink.
- Bag groceries. I will take my older kids and teach them how to bag groceries. Last year I forgot to tell my oldest NOT to take money. I told everyone to pay it forward and help someone else.
- Pay for the person behind you while going through a drive through. It’s wonderful to give service and never know who you are helping.
- Visit a retirement home. Singing Christmas songs is especially fun.
- Picking up trash at the park.
- Christmas Caroling. “The best way to spread Christmas Cheer is singing loud for all to hear.”
- Tape quarters to a vending machine in an emergency room.
- Take cookies or treats to your local police station or firehouse. (You can get a free printable to be used for your police station here)
- Shovel Snow for your neighbor. (okay, we live in Arizona. But this would be a good one if we didn’t)
- Drop off a treat at a neighbors house.
- Donate a new toy to a local toy drive.
- Go through and get rid of your clothing that no longer fits you. Donate it to shelter.
- Donate new socks to a homeless shelter. Sock are always the most needed item.
- Pay off someone’s library fines.
- Leave uplifting notes on parked car wipers. Bonus if you leave a treat!
- Write to a solider and give encouragement!
- We like to help pack food for Feed My Starving Children. You can only go if you are over 8, but I am hoping to swap baby sitting and take my friend’s extra kids with me.
- Offer up a babysitting night. Invite families to drop off their kids so they can do some shopping or have a quick date night. Let your kids learn how to watch and entertain little kids.
- Clean and sanitize your local nursery at church. This time of the year germs are everywhere. Use some Clorox wipes to clean up a church nursery toys.
- Bake bread for someone to show them that you are thinking of them. (We love these rolls!)
- Practice kindness and patience in parking lots. Really this one is for me. I love reminding myself to extend mercy and patience with pedestrians and other cars. I love when I let someone go and offer up a genuine smile and their whole countenance changes. Everyone is rush and busy. And the traffic is always terrible. Extend kindness and help change someone’s mindset.
- Take treats and thank you cards to ER nurses and doctors. Those nurses and doctors are working non stop on their shifts. Plus they are always there on weekends and holidays. Take in a treat to let them know they are appreciated.
- Be kind to a new friend. Is there a new neighbor or kid at school. Invite them over or to have lunch with you.
- Give out Free Hugs or High Fives. Pick a time as a family where you can spread kindness with a hug or high five. Make sure your kids are with you and that they feel comfortable. High Fives are perfect for kids who aren’t big on touching others.
If you need more ideas don’t forget to check out Just Serve! Just Serve is a free site where you can put in your zip code to find service opportunities for your scout troop, family, or youth group. There are tons of great options available. Some of them are for children over 8 or sometimes 12, but usually you can find a local need. Also if you work with an organization that needs volunteers, please contact the Just Serve to submit your need. It’s a great way to let others know that there is a need. I was so thankful to find an in home care facility. It was the perfect place to visit on Veterans Day. And our scout troop is excited to visit again this next month to sing Christmas Carols for them.
And I also wanted to mention the best way to find others who need service. Family and personal prayers. When we pray we can ask Heavenly Father to help us find those who need help. I know that when we are sincere, and when we seek to help God’s children, he will put people in our path or give us prompting on ways we can serve. You might just be an answer to someone else’s prayer. Those are my favorite Christmas service stories.
Thanks so much for reading and sharing these family service ideas!!! If you have any more ideas be sure to share them in the comments below. And head over to Mormon.org to check out there site this month. They share 25 ways we can follow our Savior as we follow His example. And join our family, and others across the world, as perform service December 1st! You can share it on social media and use the hashtag #LIGHTtheWORLD Click over here to find more service ideas that coordinate with the Savior’s life…