Does the "most wonderful time of the year" ever feel a little empty? The peace of Jesus never gets old, but sometimes the way we celebrate does. Going to Christmas Eve service and spending Christmas morning with loved ones is a beautiful time, but the weeks (and even months) leading up to it can create Christmas burnout. It's supposed to be a magical time, but shopping for presents and attending the same holiday light show can only produce excitement for so many years. When we're looking for more, how can we embrace the profound meaning of Christmas through our actions? The answer is giving. Whether through our time, money, or creativity, serving others is a purpose we always have, and we can innovate our generosity through the holiday season.
You can do this for people living in homeless or domestic violence shelters, soldiers that can’t go home for Christmas, people in long-term hospitalization/care facilities, or whoever you feel called to serve. Contact organizations before moving forward, and find out what items are needed and accepted.
Following Jesus means uplifting those who need it most. A few kind words can help someone know they matter, especially if they're separated from society. One program that helps letters get to prisoners is Letters of Hope. You can discover other ways to support prisoners and their families through the God Behind Bars website.
This idea is perfect if you want to share creativity and inspire gratitude. You can buy small journals at the dollar store and decorate them however you want. You can write notes throughout the pages or create sections depending on how much time you want to put in. You can use Bible verses, prompts, or personal anecdotesantidotes to encourage the future owner of the journal. Hand out the journals wherever you choose or see if a homeless shelter or other organization will accept and distribute them.
Does your city have a Christmas festival or light show? Are you part of a community Facebook page? Do you have a vehicle with extra space? Try offering rides to families who may not have a car available or are struggling to afford gas. Besides providing holiday joy, this will give you an excellent opportunity to invite people to a Christmas service at your church.
How can you share holiday cheer with coworkers or acquaintances? A craft night will give you a fun activity to break the ice and can serve as a giving project if you want to make creative gifts.
I have fond memories of caroling at a nursing home as a teenager. The awkwardness of singing in front of a small, attentive group was worth it for the warm smiles I received in return. This will give you a good opportunity to follow up with heartfelt conversations.
Here’s one if you like to do things “out of the box.” One of the best ways to bond with people is through exploring the unknown. Reach out to some acquaintances you want to know better, and offer to take them on a tour or mini road trip. If you Google unique sitessights in your area, you're likely to find an abandoned town or interesting activity for everyone to enjoy. You can specifically tailor this to child-friendly adventures if you want to provide an opportunity for parents.
Do you know a young adult who can’t go home for Christmas? Or someone who doesn’t have family or support? If you’re in a position to do so, invite them to spend the holidays with you. Loneliness often replaces Christmas cheer, and a genuine welcome can change that for someone.
Do you have a flare for the dramatics and a mind for event planning? Organize a skit, musical, or whatever type of performance you have skills in. Find people in your community with related experience to help you lead, and then advertise for recruitment of performers.
This one’s pretty simple in concept. Use the 12 days before Christmas to give to 12 different people or causes. Whether monetarily, creatively, or by donating your time, a giving challenge will build a practice of generosity to carry beyond the holidays.
First, investigate the rules of your town square or holiday event before setting up your warm drink stand. Once you have a location planned, buy a ton of powdered hot chocolate and whatever heat-holding container you prefer (you can also use a crockpot and a ladle). Next, write small, uplifting notes (Something like, "God loves the real you!") on the foam cups you'll give out. To get people's attention, decorate your stand with festive colors and jingle bells.
Supporting your local church is an important and impactful way to reach people during the holiday season and year-round. If you're interested in volunteering at Sun Valley, check out our Christmas and year-round service opportunities or contact us. Christmas is all about the gift of Jesus and our mission to share that love with the world. As the family of God, we are here to reach others through selflessness, which starts by creating a place for all to belong.
Written Content Coordinator at Sun Valley Community Church. An avid writer since the age of 5, who loves to explore new ideas and places. Inspired by Jesus, books, and travel.