Monday, November 11, 2013

15 Ways to Serve this Holiday Season

Is it really the holiday season, already?!  I can't wrap my brain around it. I'm excited about it, though. Last Thanksgiving and Christmas was absolutely wonderful.  We had the best time playing and getting together with family, but I felt like time slipped away from me before I really even thought about how to incorporate the service aspect of the season into our routine and into my children's hearts and minds.

The best way to find yourself
is to lose yourself
in the 
service of others.

If you're looking for ways to serve this holiday season (and all year!) here's a list of 15 things you can do.

1.  Ask your bishop, pastor, or minister what a family in need in your ward or congregation would like or needs for the holidays.  (Gift cards, dinner, specific clothing items, etc.)

2.  Do an advent calendar, but with service projects instead of candy or treats.  Ex. Day 1: Take a friend a plate of cookies,  Day 2: Take your neighbors trash can back to their house from the road, etc.

3.  Put together bags for families and children at the NICU at a hospital near you. There are other ways to help (here) at the Duke's Children's Hospital as well.

4.  A church in the area started a neat thing called "You Got Christmas'd" which is basically doing small acts of service for others.  If you're in the drive-thru line and pay for the person behind you, that person "Got Christmas'd" :).  If you put a dollar or two on a Red Box machine with a note telling someone to enjoy a free movie, that person got "Christmas'd".  Isn't that fun?

5.  Give your post-man a treat and a note thanking him/her for their service.

6.  Offer to babysit for friends or family so they can run errands, etc.

7.  Choose a child to help from Angel Tree.

8.  Instead of giving presents to extended family members, perform an hour of community service in their honor.  Great way to stay motivated to serve your community!

9.  Donate blankets to your local ASPCA for animals to stay warm during the cold season.

10.  Leave a really generous tip the next time you're at a restaurant.

11.  Make a special bag (some people refer to them as blessing bags) for homeless people.

12.  Donate to Operation Christmas Child.  The donation week is next week.

13.  Donate books, toys, food, miscellaneous items to children and families at a Ronald McDonald house near you.

14.  Participate in Light 'Em up or start a Light 'Em Up group (this is basically pushing pause on all the busyness of the season and focusing on serving others instead.)  This site comes with free printables as well!

15.  Take baked good to your neighbors and friends.

One thing that I think is really important about service this time of year (and always) is that our actions don't have to be large.  We ale don't need to exclude anyone from our service radar.  Just because people appear to have it all together on the outside, doesn't mean that they wouldn't enjoy a tasty treat or a thoughtful note or anything that says, "I'm thinking about you!"

A big, special thanks to these ladies who contributed to this post.

Carla, Jennie, LindsayKaylaJenny, Mirage J., Sharon, Mary Beth, Bethany, Megan, Meredith

Happy Monday, everyone!  I feel like it's going to be a great week!

Linking up with Funday Monday.


Anonymous said...

love this post, such great and heart warming ideas! :):)

Emily said...

My mom used to always take us to our local bookstore where you could pick out a book for a child in need. They had angels ornaments with the name and age and once you picked your new friend they wrapped the book and everything. So important and special to teach and show acts of service to children!

TheTinyHeart said...

So many wonderful ideas to give back during the holidays...thank you for sharing! Thanks for including my idea as well :)

The Tiny Heart

Megan said...

I love this post! I think it's great to incorporate these things into your Christmas traditions as a family. I think it will impact your children's world view. Thanks for the list!

Unknown said...

I love this post :) This has been something on my heart lately...thanks for the great ideas!

Helene in Between said...

we always do the angel tree but it's so important to really do more for others, especially during the holiday season. love the you got christmas'd holiday idea!

Because Shanna Said So said...

Love this, Ashley!! We try and do a Thanksgiving meal for a family in need. Our church provides all the turkeys. And we always do an angel tree. This is one of the best things about the holiday season...random acts of kindness and giving back what the Lord blessed us with.

Kayla MKOY said...

I just love this so much. Caleb blew me away last night with a giving idea for December for families in need. I'm really excited to implement it!! :)

Caroline said...

Thank you so much for this! Service is so important, and I always love finding new ways to help out or to brighten someone 's day!

Sybil@PeaceitallTogether said...

Lots of great ideas! Love the advent calendar idea :) There are so many needs out there.

Susannah said...

These are some great ideas!!!! :-)

RH said...

Thank you for posting this! I've been thinking about ideas to take my Beehives to do some service around our neighborhood so they can pass off some personal progress. These are so great! You are the best!

Ashley @ A Cute Angle said...

I love this post! Great blog. I found you through the Funday Monday link up. Stop by and say hi sometime!

~Ashley @ A Cute Angle

Jennie and Husband said...

such sweet ideas. Lovely post. and such a darling photo.

Rach said...

What wonderful ideas! I love this! One of my friends and I were brain storming on good ways to serve over this advent season. :)

Lindsay Erin said...

I love that quote. What great ideas!

Unknown said...

Thank you for these ideas, Ashley! This will be the first year that we'll involve the kids more in a service project during the holidays, and this has given me some inspiration.

Kelly said...

What great tips, thank you for sharing!

Sparkles and Shoes

Unknown said...

This is great! This is what the season is all about. I serve at my local church very fulfilling


Tiffany said...

Ash! These are great thoughts and advice and LOTS of IDEAS here! It is one of the greatest things to bless someone with something they aren't expecting. Thanks for making my TUESDAY even better...I'm a day late at reading but love this post! So.....Happy Tuesday to you! ;)

ALLIE NYC said...

What I like to do is when I go to the grocery store is to buy the premade bags of groceries. They have them at different price levels and they do the bag of groceries to families that need them. The chain of stores on the west coast that did this was QFC.

Allie of Dressing Ken

Janssen said...

These are great ideas. Thanks so much for sharing (going to check out the Duke Hospital ones now).

SpryOnTheWall said...

Such great ideas, love this post, and thank you for the shout out!

Heidi said...

I love all these ideas! Thanks! Going to check out the Duke page now. :)

B @ then there was we said...

what great ideas!

stopping by from funday monday. :)

rooth said...

I'm looking forward to doing an Angel Tree - one of my favourite parts about the holiday season

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