By Carrie Lowrance, Crosswalk.com
We have officially entered the hustle and bustle of the Christmas season. There is shopping to do, goodies to bake, activities for the kids and the list goes on. It seems like everyone is focused on what they want to receive. The kids go to see Santa and we as adults have to come up with lists for friends and family for what we would like to have this Christmas season. Not that there is anything wrong with this, shopping and giving presents is one of my favorite things to do. However, there are many ways we can give during this season too. Automatically people think money, but there are other ways to donate your time, talents, and belongings too.
If your gift is to encourage others, be encouraging. If it is giving, give generously. If God has given you leadership ability, take the responsibility seriously. And if you have a gift for showing kindness to others, do it gladly. Romans 12:8
1. The Salvation Army Red Kettle Campaign
2. Gleaning For The World: This ministry works in the U.S. by providing aid for families in disasters, food for impoverished Americans, personal care items for veterans, etc. They also minister around the world by providing positive solutions to families living in refugee camps who have been impacted by terrorism, by helping woman overcome the lack of feminine hygiene products and by providing sustainable job training and supplies to help lift families out of poverty,etc.
3. Matthew 25:Ministries; This ministry is a national humanitarian aid and disaster relief organization. They help the poorest of the poor locally, regionally, nationally and internationally no matter what race, creed or political persuasion. You can help by donating financially, donating products as well as several other ways.
4. Operation Compassion: This ministry serves all kinds of people through their various programs. Relief America responds to national disasters. Compassion America serves the poor and underprivileged in America’s largest cities. Dream America supplies Native Americans that live on reservations in the western United States with necessities that are hard to obtain (food, water, educational materials), widows and children are a priority. Hope America targets one of the four most extreme poverty areas in the U.S., the Appalachians by providing food, hot meals, job training, etc. Focuses on children, single parents, widows and senior adults. Global Compassion Network provides countries of the developing world with medical supplies, textbooks, clothing,etc.
Giving Of Time
5. Help an elderly neighbor decorate for Christmas. Many of our elderly are alone on the holidays and don’t always have the physical stamina to put up a tree or drag boxes from the basement and attic.
6. Help your neighbor or a friend put up their outside Christmas lights. It doesn’t matter if the display is big or small, this can be a very daunting task.
7. Have a wrapping party with a friend. Get together and help each other wrap gifts. Order in lunch or just have cookies and coffee for a treat. And don’t forget the Christmas music.
8. Go on a baking blitz with a friend. Each of you pick out 2-3 recipes that you want to make and when you are all done, split the goodies. You will have a lot of fun socializing together and have plenty of goodies to take home.
10. Offer to watch someone’s pets while they are gone. If your friend is going to their in-laws house for an early or late Christmas get together, offer to watch their furry companions. They will have peace of mind knowing they are in good hands and the animals will be glad not to have to be boarded.
11. Volunteer at your church. Make it a family affair and help with bake sales, Christmas pageants, etc. When I was growing up, my Mom and I used to serve coffee, cookies and hot chocolate to the people outside in the live nativity that our church had every year.
You must each decide in your heart how much to give. And don’t give reluctantly or in response to pressure. “For God loves a person who gives cheerfully.” >2 Corinthians 9:7
Other Ways To Give
12. Bake for friends and family.
13. Donate to Toys for Tots.
14. Adopt a single Mom or low income family. Buy them food for their Christmas dinner and some gifts. Even better, leave it on their porch anonymously.
15. Volunteer at an animal shelter. There are many wonderful, compassionate, caring people who work at animal shelters and even they need a break sometimes. Volunteer to walk dogs, clean cages, spend time with the cats and maybe pass out Christmas treats. (Check with your local shelter, sometimes you need to go through volunteer training.)
16. Donate personal items to a homeless shelter or veterans home.
17. Start a 'giving jar’ for next year. Recently we saved all of our change for an eight month period just to see how much it would add up to. We took an empty 3 quart Ice Mountain water jug and called it our jingle jar. In the end we wound up with $150. We are going to start again soon and save until sometime in November next year. Then we will use that money to give to charities or help those in need around us next holiday season.
There are many ways to give this season. Do some of these ideas appeal to you but you’re not sure when you will have the time? Let’s pray.
It can be so easy to get caught up in the hustle and bustle of all the things that need to get done and events to attend. Please help me be more aware of the needs of those around me. Please bless me with what I need to be a blessing to others this holiday season. Whether it be money or time or actual donations. Help me shine Your light this holiday season to those around me and those in the community who need it most. In Your name I pray. Amen.
Carrie Lowrance is a freelance writer and author. She has been featured on Huffington Post, She Is Fierce, Parachute, The Frugal Farmer, etc. She is also the author of two books of poetry, one children's book, and she writes her own personal finance blog at carrielowrance.com.
Image courtesy: ©Getty Images/Natalie_
Publication date: December 16, 2016