Its Thanksgiving week, so gratitude is on all of our minds. I like the daily posts where friends list the things they are grateful for. It’s such a good reminder for us to count our blessings, and hopefully it kicks us into the mode of thinking about those blessings every day all year. Although it is good to think inward like this, today I want you to think outward.
How great would it be if we made this time of year more fun by doing some kind of service project for someone else? Every year our family does a service for another family anonymously, and it’s the most satisfying Christmas tradition we have. I’ve learned that it’s really hard to feel sorry for myself when I am serving others. And it never fails that when I turn my attention toward others, my blessings seem to multiply.
Is there someone around you that could benefit from some extra help this year? How about the people we are surrounded by? Our coworkers, neighbors, family, people we go to church with, the girl who works at the coffee shop. Is there something we can do to make them feel more blessed?
My challenge for you this week is to come up with some kind of plan to help someone else this holiday season. If you have kids, include them in the planning, kids are great at noticing when others need something. If you really want to have fun, do this anonymously. That way the people receiving help feel no obligation; and if they don’t know who these blessings came from, they tend to look at everyone around them differently.
Here’s a list of ideas to get you started:
-Make cookies and take them to neighbors.
-Put a holiday meal together in a box for a family in need. Play ding dong ditch: leave the box on their porch one evening, ring the doorbell, and run. This is a blast!
-Provide Christmas for a family who is struggling this year. If you do this through your church or school, you can get a list of what they need, then drop the gifts off with them without the family knowing where they came from. Church leaders and teachers know who needs help, and it puts the holiday in perspective for your kids when they are choosing gifts for other children who are asking for basic items such as coats and gloves.
-Shovel the neighbor’s sidewalks early in the morning before they get up.
-Get a list of seniors that live alone from your local senior citizens center and go caroling at their homes. It’s even better if you bring cookies.
-Go caroling at a nursing home.
-If you see a project someone in your neighborhood is working on, stop and help.
-Leave an extra big tip for your waitress.
-Pick up some $5 gift cards and hand them out to people, like you barista, or the kid that delivers your newspaper, anyone who seems like they could use a boost in their day.
-Volunteer to help a group wrap packages in the mall.
-Serve a meal at your local soup kitchen.
-Donate blankets you aren’t using to a homeless shelter.
-Call a battered women’s shelter and see if there are people staying there that need gifts. Sometimes these places get donations of gifts, but don’t have basics such as school supplies and things you have around your house already.
-Send care packages or cards to military members who are deployed over the holidays. (This is a favorite project of mine to do all year)
Hopefully this gives you some ideas to get started. Pick something that fits within your budget. Make the time for it, it will be well worth it and teach your family an invaluable lesson. Make this a whole season of gratitude, sharing your time and resources in order to make someone else’s holiday a bit brighter.