December 21, 2007
Have you ever wondered at Christmas how you could make a difference in a world where so many are afraid to give? Well, I am going to give you some ways that you could really make a difference in someone's live this year for Christmas if you are willing to try. It will take some researching on your part to find out where you can volunteer but I promise you that this can make this Christmas the best you ever had.
Christmas for the poor is not about fancy lights and Christmas Trees it is about food and heat and a job and winter clothes and boots for their kids, Toys are nice to be sure but this is the reality for some families. Take the whole family and your friends and get involved! Some of my ideas involve an adult version of Ding Dong Ditch'em but it was fun when we were kids; think how we used to hide and watch to see the expression on the neighbors faces when no one was there! You never want to make someone feel uncomfortable with your help. So this is a way to help and stay anonymous so people don't feel like they owe you. When hard times hit you, it is hard to ask for help! Even when it is your children who need help. The whole idea is here is to be a Christmas angel for someone in need. My favorite Christmas saying is "But there for the grace of God, go I" meaning it could be me.
First on my list is helping some one have a Christmas. Look around you; you will probably see at least couple of your friends or friends of your children that you could help.
Invite a family to dinner, someone who has lost their job or is seeking employment. Spaghetti, Salad and rolls and you have helped a family to survive one more day in this world of ours. Let them leave with some homemade cookies it may be the only ones they get.
Did you replace your Christmas tree this year? Seek out someone who could use your old one. Maybe put a big red bow on the box and place it on their doorstep ring the bell and run! Nursing homes, foster homes, and hospitals also may take them. Foster homes especially have a hard time decorating for the holidays.
Hire an out of work Dad to shovel snow or help clean up from this year's storm. Give him a little bit of Christmas in his pocket to help him provide. Hire a single mom to wrap your presents or decorate your house or bake some of your cookies, they will be grateful and you will have a less stressful holiday. Make them feel like you could not do it without them even if you could.
Donate good usable toys to foster homes or find a child you know won't have a Christmas and wrap them and play the Ding Dong game as before. That outgrown beautiful Christmas dress that got worn only once is another candidate for this. Or the suit your son wore to the wedding last summer and has out gown. Invite them to your church for that special Christmas program. Jesus is the reason for the season!
Buy something at a charity bake sale, you will be helping the charity, and you have a ready made gift for someone on your Christmas gift. That goes for craft sales too, a lot of the elderly participate in these to supplement their incomes and you can leave knowing you have a great gift to give someone and that someone else will not have to make the choice between medicine or food.
Do you know someone that helps to heat their house with wood and you just lost ten trees to damage last summer? Bring them a load of firewood keeping them warm for the winter.
Does one of your children's friends or a classmate look cold? Find a coat that your child has outgrown and box it up and gift wrap it and give it to the child's parents for under the tree or again leave it on the porch and run. If it is someone at your child's school wrap it up and give it to the principal to give to the child. Maybe add in a set of mittens and a hat.
Have a friend that is harried at work or with children? Bake an extra dozen cookies or a dozen cupcakes and make her day.
Some of the residents of New Orleans have never returned to their homes. They are scattered to the winds living in other states, but still they lost everything. If you know one invite them to dinner and if you have changed your decorating scheme for the holidays offer them your extra Christmas goodies so they can decorate this year too.
Offer to take your neighbor or an elderly friend Christmas shopping. Christmas shopping is always more fun with a friend.
Know someone who got laid off at Christmas and needs help with food? With turkeys on sale, buy an extra, throw in some potatoes and a box of Stovetop stuffing and some cranberries and you have just made sure your friend was fed for Christmas.
Guys can help too, Why not offer to give a tune up to someone who you know can't afford it or help them put plastic on the windows of their home to help insulate against high utility bills. Oil changes can help with gasoline usage and are not expensive unless you have no money do one. Do one for them, pay for one at the local Jiffy Lube, or get them the stuff to do it themselves. Fix a door or fix a window but help with something the joy will be great.
Now I must admit I was one of those people who drive by the beggars on the street who hold up signs that say "Will Work for Food" and think "get a job". But not any longer, I found out on CNN the other day that a lot of these are US veterans that suffer from injuries and mental illnesses. So today I bought a loaf of bread and some lunch meat at the local Walmart and gave it to him. Christmas is the time to put aside judgments and be a Christmas angel to who ever needs not just those we want to give too. I am going to try and remember this all year long. Not to judge a book by it's cover.
Take an elderly friend to lunch and to look at Christmas lights or just to people watch. Our older folks sometimes don't have family near and Christmas can be a lonely time.
Collect adult coats and blankets from your neighbors for the homeless. If you are a sample collector make small bags of soap, shampoo, toothpaste and put into Ziplock bags to give also, you will be helping someone and at the same time clearing out junk you don't need. Call your local police dept. or local churches as to where to drop this stuff off for distribution or pass it out yourself.
Find out which churches or soup kitchens need volunteers and volunteer to help serve food or cook. Here in Colorado Springs these events are usually planned for some day other than Christmas Day or Christmas Eve so volunteers can be home those days.
Be a leader! Organize a Christmas meal with your church for the elderly or sick church members. Make it a potluck with everyone bringing something. Put up a tree and have small dollar store presents. Make it a chili cook-off or chicken soup contest. Quick and easy and cheap.
Gather your friends and go caroling at a nursing home or hospital. Pass out Dollar Store Santa hats and watch the joy on their faces. This can warm the heart of a scrooge to see sick children laughing for a dollar a head.
Volunteer to read the Christmas Story or The Night Before Christmas at a nursing home. Bring cookies and coffee and tea. Bring the kids to just talk to the old folks. Ask everyone for their favorite Christmas memories.
Now the big one but only if you can afford it and not go into debt, Adopt a whole family for Christmas. Get them a tree, some food, some presents and give a Christmas to some one who can't. Clothes are always a good gift for the needy and who cares if they are in good shape if they are second hand. I am telling you a teenager would be grateful for some clothing that was in style. Who cares if the coat belonged to your dad before your friend got it; it is still the thought that counts.
I hope this has given you some ideas on how you can be a Christmas angel to someone who would not have a Christmas without you. If you do just one of these wonderful things you will have made a difference in some one's life. You will have given dignity even in a small way and that folks is what Christmas should be about.