Hey everyone! Can you believe that tomorrow is the 1st day of December? I am having a hard time wrapping my head around it. Every year I like to do an advent calendar, but this year I decided to do something a little different and add a service activity to each day of our advent.
It is easy to get caught up in the business of this Christmas season and I felt like this was a good way to bring our focus back to the real reason for the season and to help start habits of service with my kids.
There are so many different ways to get involved with your community and to serve those around you. Below are the activities we came up with to do as a family. This is simply the list we came up with and definitely not all of the activities available to us. Feel free to use them or sit down with your family and come up with your own. Let me know if you have any other great service activities!
25 Days of Christmas Service
- Write and send holiday cards for soldiers – Contact your local red cross for information in your area.
- Donate books to low income families – We are donating books through a program in our local community Startup Santa. If you are in the Utah County area you can donate money online, donate books through a company participating, or drop off books at a drop off location. The last day to donate is Dec 4th, so this will be one of our first activities.
- Pick an individual or family from an angel tree. I used to do this with my family when I was growing up and it is something I want my kids to experience. It always touched me so much to help provide someone with a Christmas they wouldn’t be getting otherwise.
- Thank you treats for your mailman. I thought this was a fun activity that the Carter could really get into.
- Pay for someone behind us in line.
- Make kits to hand out to the homeless. I think this is a great activity to do with your kids. Have them help you put the kits together and talk about why these items are important for those who are without a home at this time. Another thing you could do is get gift cards to McDonalds and hand those out as your service. There are a lot of good articles online (Pinterest) that give you an idea what of homeless people need and how to package them.
- Donate food to your local food pantry.
- Write thank you notes. I am going to have Carter write thank you notes to his nursery leaders at church.
- Deliver treats to a widow in your neighborhood or church congregation. We have a few widows, some recent in our area and treats and a sweet note are a simple way to help your children bring joy to someone.
- Prepare a care package for Operation Shoebox. These packages are delivered to service men and women overseas. For more information visit Operation Shoebox
- Donate to your local children’s hospital. We live in Utah and will be donating to Primary Children’s Hospital in Salt Lake City. They have a list online of donations they need / are accepting currently. Check your local hospital or children’s hospital to donate in your area.
- Make cards for children in the hospital. We will also be giving these to Primary Children’s.
- Donate to Salvation Army.
- Make and deliver cookies to someone.
- Send a care package to someone. We are going to send a care package to one of my neighbors back home.
Donate to a local organization – I got on United Way’s website and looked through the current projects and needs for organizations in our area and then picked a few that we could help with.
- We are going to donate food items to the crisis nursery at the Family Support and Treatment center in Orem, UT. I volunteered there as a college student and they are a wonderful organization.
- Donate supplies to CIRCLES. Circles is part of Community Action Services and they help local families in need. They are in need of supplies like dry erase markers, etc.
- Donate items for Welcome Baby Newborn Kits. Our area is in need of supplies for community well baby visits and I thought this would be a fun activity for Carter as we have had a new baby in our family in the last year and he loves helping out with her.
- Make dinner for someone in your neighborhood or church congregation who is sick.
- Go on a walk and pick up trash in your neighborhood. This is an easy activity that kids can really get involved with.
- Put together “Police Survival Kits.” I found a fun kit online that you can make and deliver to your local police or firemen. Carter loves police officers and I thought this would be a fun way to involve him in saying “Thank You” for everything they do for our community.
We are going to be out of town for the last four days of our 25 days, so those activities have not been nailed down yet, but here are a few more you could add to your list.
- Shovel snow for a neighbor. Carter loves using his kid snow shovel and this is a great way for him to help a neighbor.
- Make cards to take to a local nursing home. If you are a musically inclined family a fun activity would also be to go caroling at a local nursing home.
- Call or Facetime your grandparents or an Elderly person you know.
- You can also have your kids pick service activities around your house they can do. If you have multiple children they can do things for their siblings, etc.
These are not in any particular order. Some of them do have deadlines so we will make sure they will be first on our lists. Others like paying for someone behind us are great to save for a day you are traveling or out and about all day.
I realize that most of these activities will go over my kids heads’ considering they are 3.5 and 10 months, but I think there are still a lot of things they can learn even at their young ages and I hope they can see me and my husband being examples of service and kindness and it will have some impression on them. This is also something I want to make into a family tradition and as we do it each year I hope I can instill a sense of service and compassion in my children.
The LDS church is also doing a service campaign for the Month of December and they have service ideas that are related to the acts of service Christ performed during his ministry. If you would like to check it out visit LDS.org and click on their service calendar.
What are some service ideas you have? Please share and Happy December!