We’re about to enter the Christmas season. But before things get busy with Christmas shopping and parties, I encourage you to be intentional about planning for one or two family Christmas service projects.
Giving During a Season of Getting
I love this season of twinkling lights, time with family, special festivities, and a decorated and cozy house. But unless we take the time to serve others during this season, Christmas can become awfully self-focused for children. They’re busy making their toy wish lists, dreaming of what Santa will bring them, eating special treats, and having fun at parties. And while all of that is wonderful and fun, I want my children to seek out ways to GIVE as well. I want them to think about others around them, especially those less fortunate.
Matthew 6:21 – For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
My children are small right now (5 & 3), and I recognize that those are very self-centered ages in general. But by planting the seeds of giving and serving on a regular basis while they’re young, I hope to watch those seeds grow into generous and giving hearts when they’re older.
Proverbs 11:25 – A generous person will prosper; whoever refreshes others will be refreshed.
Not only do Christmas service projects help others and train our children in the way they should go, but they also feel good. We get quality family time together while working on the project, and we’re rewarded with that “refreshed” feeling once we’ve completed it.
Operation Christmas Child
This is our third year of filling a shoebox for Operation Christmas Child. For this project, you choose a gender and child’s age range, and then you fill a shoe box with toys, hygiene items, and school supplies that a child of that age would enjoy. The Samaritan’s Purse organization ships the boxes to children in need in over 100 countries.
You can use any regular shoe box, get project-specific boxes at some local churches, or purchase a plastic Operation Christmas Child box at Hobby Lobby. I take my children to Dollar Tree to shop for “our child,” and I love how excited they get choosing just the right items for this child.
I make a point to not buy anything other than what’s needed for the box. The children see that we’re not getting anything ourselves and are focused solely on giving.
Include $9 inside of each box to cover the shipping costs. If you want to participate in Operation Christmas Child this year, hurry! This is the box collection week, and boxes are generally due by this weekend.
More Christmas Service Projects
Here are some other ideas for Christmas service projects to get you started.
- Shop for and donate non-perishable food items needed for holiday meals at a local food pantry
- “Adopt” a family in need through your church or local organization (for example, the KSBJ Christian radio station in Houston has a “giving tree”), and buy Christmas gifts for them
- Take cards and/or treats to an assisted living home
- Make cards for deployed soldiers who are away from home over the holidays
- Stock a box on your front porch with snacks and drinks for delivery workers
- Make homemade treats and deliver them to neighbors, especially those neighbors you may not know well
- If you’re in Houston or another area still recovering from a hurricane, do something special for a family who flooded
- Purchase toys or select some gently used toys from home to donate to Toys for Tots. Collection bins are usually pretty easy to find in December (our local library always has them).
Mark Your Calendar!
To ensure you have time to complete the Christmas service projects you choose, mark them on your calendar now! Block out time on a specific day, and don’t allow anything to be scheduled over it. You won’t regret spending time together as a family serving others.
What are your favorite ways to serve others during the holidays?