Monday, December 4, 2023

18 Ways to Have a Meaningful Christmas

The holiday season is in full swing!

This year I want to challenge everyone to give your family the priceless and valuable gift of the memories of learning to SERVE and BLESS others at this special time.

There are only a few weeks until Christmas....if we plan accordingly there are many things we can think of doing to give our children a special legacy that they will remember for their entire life and teach your grandchildren as well.
And a quick note--don't feel overwhelmed by this list. That is not what it is meant for! Just pick and choose what idea(s) might work for you in this season of life and don't feel any guilt about how you celebrate. We just want to help inspire you because we know that some of you would love to participate in some of the ideas below.

Here they are:

1. Give your children less gifts. If you can't afford it, don't feel pressured. Less materialism, less clutter, less money spent, less self-centeredness, more appreciation for what they do receive. Remember, the gift of your love and time is way more valuable.

2. Serve at a homeless shelter. One of my favorite memories is going to a radio broadcasting center in Chicago with my family to help pass out a meal to needy people and giving gifts to their children. I felt so blessed being able to be on the giving end instead of the receiving.

3. Touch lives at a nursing home. We like to go with a homeschool group and go caroling while walking through the halls. The elderly there enjoy it and we are allowed to give them cards. My children LOVE this  and have are glowing after we do this.

4. Donate to Samaritan's Purse. Samaritan's Purse has an entire catalog/website of how to send money for food, water, homes, Bibles, medical care,etc. SP is headed by Franklin Graham, son of Billy Graham. Have your children pore over the catalog and select something you could contribute to.This is highly educational as they learn that families around the world do not have the basic necessities that they need.

5. Toys for Tots--these boxes are available in many stores. You can have your children 'earn' some money by doing jobs around the house and then take them shopping to pick something special to give away.

6. Care for a widow.Is there a widow that you know that could use some company, a warm meal, leaves raked, snow shoveled or help putting up their tree?

7. Make a meal for someone in need.

8. Help a needy family. Times are tough now and many people have lost jobs, homes and are barely getting by. Single moms are another good source of families to give a loving hand to as well. You can also help military families here. 

(Extra Tip: Help your children focus on the real meaning of the season
and let them play with toy nativities. Here are several great options for them.)

9. Christmas Mitten Tree--start a Christmas tree at your church of mittens and scarves so people can hang them on when they donate. When full, collect them and donate.

10. Work with a women's shelter to help provide gifts to them and their children.

11. Work with Salvation army to distribute goods to needy families.

12. Bake cookies for unsaved neighbors/friends and attach the message of Christ's birth and gospel.

13. Visit those in the hospital and bring them a special gift or a tree to brighten up their room.

14. Bring the gospel to others who haven't heard it. Our old church liked to go caroling at a big name store. The pastor worked with the manager and our children dress up like the nativity scene in the middle of the store. We sang songs about Christ's birth and passed out candy canes with the gospel attached and our church information.

15. Start a new tradition--read a Christmas Advent devotional every night leading up to Christmas Day. There are many books out there to help--here is a good list. You can light a candle at night and snuggle by the fire and read a short story to keep everyone's heart reflecting on what the true season is about or even start a special Jesse Tree tradition. 

16. Pray for more ways to decorate keeping Christ the focus. I know many people who instead of putting up a tree invest in a nice or large nativity scene instead. I have seen people use Christmas decorations that exalt God and bring more meaning to their celebration. I am not saying you have to do this entirely but it helps the children and ourselves to remember the real meaning. Our family likes to do a mix of both.

17. Visit a live nativity event. In the past a church near us did a Journey to Bethlehem every other year and it is an amazing thing to be a part of. It included a live marketplace, and scenes acted out from the Bible. At the end they give the gospel--what a great way for a church to reach out to the lost!

18.  Open your home and heart. If you are in a season where you need to stay home more and/or just want to be anchored there instead of rushing around--open your doors and show some love to people who are in need. Remember, one of the most valuable gifts we can give others is our time and love.

The holidays don't have to be only filled with parties, cookie exchanges and shopping. We can make the holidays a meaningful time by emphasizing helping others and remembering those that are needy.

The list above are some ideas to get your creative juices flowing,-- but don't feel pressured or feel bad if you can't do them, just pray for the Lord to show you what He wants you to do and then listen to Him.

"Command those who are rich in this present world not to be arrogant nor to put their hope in wealth, which is so uncertain, but to put their hope in God, who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment. Command them to do good, to be rich in good deeds, and to be generous and willing to share."

-----1 Timothy 6:17-8

And most importantly, remember to serve with your family all the time---not just once a year!

What acts of service or traditions do you do or are thinking about doing during the holiday season?

Share them in the comments below!

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Angie said...

Absolutely wonderful entry! I'm passing this along on my facebook!

You are so right--Christmas is so much more than shopping and partying--it's about Christ! Our world needs Him more than we need more junk and doodads...our world needs to know Him!

Farmer Mama said...

I needed this today, thank you for the ministry you do in keeping this blog! God bless

Far Above Rubies said...

June, we have been blessed not to have much financially this year. It has served many good lessons.

God has never failed to provide, nonetheless.

We are serving more as a family in nursing homes and women's shelters. What a blessing to be part of something more important than ourselves.

My greatest delight is to see my children serve God in such pratical and needed ways.

Thank you for this post.

Anonymous said...

Hi Mrs. Fuentes!
These are all lovely ideas! We are stationed overseas and I don't know where we could go to serve others outside of our military community. However, I am going to host a christmas dinner for a few families that have a deployed spouse and aren't able to travel home to be with family and friends.
Sarah Lownsbery

Connie said...

What wonderful ideas! I've been looking for something to do this year for our family that is less focused on material items and more focused on giving of ourselves and our time. Thanks for all the great suggestions!

God Bless,

Cheyenne said...

Thank you so much for compiling this, it has really mad me think about a lot of stuff--I really want to talk with my husband this evening about it and make some plans for this upcoming season. I will pass your list along! :)

Terra said...

This list is great as inspiration. I do the Operation Christmas Child shoebox each year with my church, and this program is part of Samaritan's Purse. Thanks for the ideas.

Kay K said...

I love your post I have choose to do the Samritians purse this year and enjoyed it so much
The simple things we take for granted others are so thankful

Lilly said...

Thank you Mrs. June for sharing with us. My family this year are visiting every Sunday night a nursing home. we will also be caroling with the children from church. I will show this list to my husband,so we could do more things together as a family. Thank you again.

Nanalifechoices said...

What a wonderful devotion like others said here this was such a blessing look forward to sharing your ideas with my friends especially my daughter who has a daughter of her own now...what the Lord really wants most of all same as oou family, friends our children our family most of all is our time. The Lord wants out time he recieves so little of it from now days too..I pray we all can learn here and get back to traditonal values. Thank you and may you have the start of a blessed holiday!!!
God Bless You

Angel said...

I made a jar, and we've been collecting money in it (by making and selling crafts, selling things around the house we can live without). For over a month now we've been almost daily looking through the Gospel For Asia catalog:
and choosing in what way we'd like to donate the money we collect. It's our gift to Jesus on His birthday.

Abounding Treasures said...

What wonderful ideas to make the season less about *getting* and more about *GIVING*!!!

Amber Noella said...

So amazing! I'm showing this to my Mom!

Anonymous said...

Wonderful, wonderful ideas. I am in the Salvation Army and it's a busy time of year for us! Thank you for all these great suggestions to reach out to others. :)

Raising Children Of Virtue said...

Great ideas June!! Lauren was very elated when I told her she did not have to dress up as an animal this year...somehow I do not think the Lamb size 6-8 would fit her at 14!!
We also picked a widow from church last year. It was a blessing to not only her but all of us, seeing her be blessed and the children learning the joy of giving. Ideas to give are foods they enjoy, especially things that are expensive they might not be able to purchase often. Nuts, crackers,canned meats,bath and body products, books, cd's, find out their hobby perhaps knitting or needlework get them a kit. So many in need so litle time!!

Jan said...

Thank you for this post! It is nice to read of a saner, my centered approach to Christmas. I wonder when we forgot what Christmas was about and became so focused on consumer goods?

tiffelijah said...

We just served the homeless Thanksgiving dinner and now we are making cards with the kids tonight for nursing homes. We will visit several homes and make cookies and sing to our neighbors. Can't wait!

Sally Ferguson said...

We are having a family party after Christmas, to let our kids chose decorations they want for their future homes (they're college age). Then we will pare down the rest.

Carolyn said...

Great article. New person in the blogging world. Have been a fan of yours for many years. Would love to learn the link party instructions. God Bless

Raggedy Cottage Garden said...

These things should be done all times of the year. Works if you are more interested in non-materialism-holidy/faith-only Christianity too.

Debby in Kansas said...

Our quilting group made about 100 scarves in Oct. & Nov. to hand out at Thanksgiving dinner at the free dining hall downtown. We do that every year. All kinds of fun fleece patterns for children and adults.

I hope it's okay for me to share a story about a dear woman from our church. Her family adopts a family every year for Christmas. Our church got a new custodian and as we all got to know him, we found out that he was mildly developmentally disabled and no family in the area. He was painfully shy, but just as kind as could be. This family adopted him for Christmas. They took him a tree, gifts, & goodies to eat. The woman said his apt. was terribly sad. It was poorly kept by management and his requests for assistance fell on deaf ears. So, they invited him to Christmas dinner with their family. Long story shortened lol....It seems he's adopted for life lol. It turns out that his parents left him money, but he had nobody to help him. Rather than tell anyone, he chose to live a sparse life, walking everywhere, etc. After a year, he asked this woman if she could help him find a financial person to help him, but that he wanted them to go along so they could help him know if he was being cheated. It's been about 5 yrs. now and he lives in a small, but much nicer apt., got his license and has a small car, & the last time I saw him, I almost didn't recognize him! He's completely come out of his shell, he was smiling, & it's so obvious that he's happy. He just needed someone to help him out!

Just a simple gesture can really change someone's life.


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