The holiday season is closely associated with the season of giving; a time for people to give back. As we enter the Christmas season, it’s important to remember those who are less fortunate, who have lost family members, or are in the midst of other challenges. As Christians, those of us who are able to give of our time and treasure, we need to ask ourselves, how can we help our local community?
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In the Great American Pure Flix Original movie, “An Angelic Christmas,” we see sisters Delaney and Lauren work together with the angel Celest to spread cheer and joy in their small town in hopes of bringing holiday spirit to the community.
Then, in the Great American Original movie, “A Christmas Blessing,” Mandy decides to keep her late aunt’s food pantry open for one last holiday meal to serve the community. Mandy not only wants to honor her aunt this holiday season, but also support the local community that has relied upon the food pantry.
In both movies, the acts of kindness and serving their local community is an inspiration for us to do the same. We also find inspiration this season of giving from the Book of Matthew:
“The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’” - Matthew 25:40 (NIV)
So, how can we spread holiday cheer? Here are ways you can serve and give back to your local community.
Make Holiday Cards for Our Troops
Spending the holiday season away from family members, missing out on holiday traditions and memories can’t be easy, but our troops sacrifice these comforts to keep our nation safe. The least we can do is share joy and hope—and thank them for their service and sacrifice—by sending them Christmas cards. You can do it as an afternoon activity with your kids, invite your holiday party guests to bring them, or make it a group activity with your church or small group.
Need some inspiration? See the Bible verses we recommend for holiday cards. There’s plenty of organizations that can facilitate the mailing process, including USAOSA or the Military Holiday Card Challenge.
Organize a Food Drive
Holiday traditions often include presents and food. For struggling families, this isn’t always the case. But you can help. While organizing a food drive may feel daunting, (chances are your late aunt didn’t own a food pantry like in “A Christmas Blessing”!), there are ways to make this more manageable.
Feeding America has plenty of resources and step-by-step instructions on how to organize a food drive in your area. They even have a way that you can set up a virtual food drive! Feeding America’s resources makes organizing a food drive a way to give back this holiday season.
Another way to organize a food drive is to ask your holiday guests to bring cans for you to collect and donate to your local food pantry. This is a great way to get your family members and friends involved, giving you all the chance to give back and spread holiday cheer.
Set Up a Clothing Drive
The cold weather can leave families and homeless people without proper clothing for the weather. There are many organizations that can help you facilitate setting up a clothing drive for your local community to participate in acts of kindness this holiday season.
Trust in Education lays out the steps you need to take and how they facilitate the process. For additional organizations, check out tips to help run a successful clothing drive. And like the food drive suggestion, you can invite your holiday guests to bring items to donate to a local charity in your area. It’s a fun and easy way to spread holiday cheer this time of year!
Leave Cookies for Mail and Delivery People
The Christmas season is the busiest time of year from mail and delivery services. The cold weather doesn’t make doing their jobs any easier or enjoyable. What a better (and easy!) way to spread some holiday cheer than by leaving out cookies for these hard workers during their busiest time. Many families already bake (or have been given) Christmas cookies, so it’s an easy act of kindness to leave some out for your neighborhood postal man.
Don’t have cookies? You can leave out bottles of water, fruit snacks, candy, or any other snack or beverage to give the postal workers. They’ll not only appreciate you thinking of them, but also the sustenance while completing their route!
Read Also: 15 Christmas Activities for Children
Make Treats for First Responders
We may have taken this idea straight from Delaney and Celeste in “An Angelic Christmas” because it was too good to pass up! We can give thanks and acknowledge the hard work of our first responders. We don’t know the risks they’ve taken to keep our local community safe, but we can say thank you to them by giving them some holiday cheer during the Christmas season.
Looking for a great activity for the kids? They’ll love helping bake cookies or choosing something from the store bakery to take to your local firehouse, police station, or emergency-response center. The first responders will be grateful and the kids are sure to be excited to get a glimpse of the fire trucks, police cars, or ambulances.
Donate Your Airline Miles
Did you know you can donate airline miles to charity during the holiday season? Among the organizations you can donate them to are the Make-A-Wish Foundation, which helps kids and their families travel to destinations to help make children’s wishes come true, and the American Red Cross, which uses them to get volunteers and staff to get to critical areas facings disasters or tragedies.
Your airline might also have specific organizations their miles help. For example, American Airlines allows you to donate miles to military members.
Spend Time with Residents at a Nursing Home
There are some members of our community who may not have any family members to visit them during the holidays. Spread holiday cheer at a nursing home in your local community where you can spend time with residents. Maybe play games, do arts and crafts, or simply talk with them. Ask about their family traditions growing up and what they enjoy most about Christmas. What joy to lift their spirits!
Google nursing homes in your area and see if they have activities where non-residents are welcome to join. Feeling time crunched? Choose an elderly in need and write a heartfelt letter to them.
Volunteer at a Shelter
If you have some extra time this season of giving, volunteer at your local homeless shelter or rescue mission (just like Liv in "Divine Influencer"). Your church likely partners with these types of groups and can point you to volunteer opportunities this holiday season. Volunteering our time is a great way to give back while helping others.
Additional Ways to Celebrate the Season of Giving
Here are some additional ways you can serve your local community:
- Find a Toys-For-Tots drive near you.
- Ring the bell for Salvation Army or find another way to volunteer with the organization.
- Adopt a family through Family-to-Family.
- Adopt a teacher or support a local teacher by buying something off their Amazon classroom wish list.
- Take it a step closer to home and give your child’s teacher something special for Christmas—maybe a gift card to your local grocery store or coffee shop.
- Bring a hot chocolate to the crossing guard at your kids’ school.
- Bring a child some extra holiday cheer by participating in USPS’ Operation Santa.
- Donate blood via the Red Cross or OneBlood.
- Give a blanket to Philip’s Wish, the charity featured in the exclusive Great American Pure Flix movie, “5000 Blankets.”
- Donate to Miracle at Manchester, the nonprofit benefitting pediatric cancer patients started by Bryce Newman, who’s own brain tumor story inspired the exclusive Great American Pure Flix movie, “Miracle at Manchester.”
We hope this list has inspired you to find a cause close to your heart this Christmas and a way to serve your local community. For more inspiration and ideas, sign up for the Great American Pure Flix Insider email newsletter.