There's definitely magic found in the Christmas music, the beautiful lights, the fun Christmas movies and Santa Claus. However, if you want to make this Christmas truly memorable, you'll add something deeper and more lasting to your Christmas plans. Help your children experience the feeling of selflessness.
Start With A Family Meeting - You may already have established the tradition of giving service to others during the Christmas holidays. If so, build on those traditions. If this is the first year you'll be including service as a family tradition, here are some ideas. Whether it's small gifts or service or large ones, like giving tax-deductible car donations, your family will never be the same.
- Dress up as clowns and visit the children's unit of a hospital during the holidays. Be ready to sing Christmas carols and to just visit with the hospitalized kids.Bringing a small gift like a coloring book and crayons would be a very sweet gesture.
- Have your children ever been to a nursing home? Once they see the faces on the elderly people as they visit with your kids, they'll want to go back often. You don't even need to take gifts. Just visit with them and let them share their memories with your family.
- Take an entire meal to a shut-in friend and plan to stay awhile. Bring a Christmas movie that you can all watch together, or bring a board game that he or she might enjoy playing with your family.
- Your city or town has organizations that serve meals to the homeless. Volunteers are always needed, so your participation would be greatly appreciated. Not only will your children feel great about helping, but they'll come away with more gratitude for their home and family.
- Collect warm blankets and get them to the police who will know where to donate them to people who live on the streets.
- Take boxes of donuts to police stations and fire stations and sing to those who are present.
- Take an evening to write letters of appreciation to men and women who are serving our country.
- Donate unopened bags of food and toys to an animal shelter. While you're there, surprise your kids by adopting a pet. Talk about an inexpensive and wonderful gift!
Service On A Big Scale - This idea might be what you'd call a supreme gift because it involves a real sacrifice. Of course, you can't get rid of the car you depend on for your business and other family use, but you might have a second car that you could donate. Maybe you have a car that you have been thinking about replacing in the future. Donate it to a cause. The Veteran's associations, children's hospitals and other charities will turn those cars into cash that they can use to serve those in their care. You won't even have to drive the car to the recipient. Instead, free towing will be provided. And, although this isn't the focus of your donation, it's nice to know that the gift of your car is totally tax deductible.
Make service a year-round affair. Have a jar where each of you can put loose coins that you will donate to a cause next year. Buy gifts when they are on sale so that you'll have plenty to give to needy children next Christmas. Keep up your letter writing to men and women in the military. Start working on a second car to donate to a cause. And, remind your children that a warm smile and a friendly greeting are gifts in themselves.