Yes, Christmas is still over two months away, but being the planner I am, m formulating a plan to do a Christmas project as a family.
I used to love to do volunteer work. In high school and college I went on several week-long mission trips to American Indian reservations and other areas of the US that were poverty-stricken. Meeting the people, playing with their kids, and breaking a sweat (we repaired homes) was personally rewarding because we were doing something for others.
A crazy grad school schedule, followed by my diabetes diagnosis, followed by having two babies in three years...well, volunteering took a back burner.
I did, last summer, work at a hospital in the Diabetes Management Center. It was rewarding, but juggling childcare was a challenge.
So, I'm figuring out other ways to "give back" or "make a difference" (or whatever cliche phrase fancies you) without sacrificing the well-being of my family.
Readers, what can you do, particularly during the upcoming season of abundance (for some) to give to someone else?
A friend of mine told me about a private school in East St. Louis, an area well known for crime and poverty, that does wonderful things for the community's children. They are in need of certain supplies. I immediately felt as if collecting and purchasing (with my new found couponing skills) items for this school would be an awesome family project.
How to pick a family project:
1: What is your family passionate about? Hungry families? Orphans? Education? People with disabilities? The list of needs is endless.
2: What can you reasonably do for your selected organization or person? Compare this to what is needed. (E-mail the necessary people to figure this out). Then ask: Is this project a good fit for your family AND the organization or person?
3: Contribute with joy! Recently, our church asked for school supplies for low-income school districts. This was a fantastic project for our almost-three-year-old who was giddy over picking out Lightening McQueen folders.
4: Deliver. Take your family with you when you deliver your contribution. Let them meet some of those who are being blessed.
Another option, particularly if you really don't have time to shop or volunteer for a cause, is to give a monetary gift in the name of a relative who you would normally buy a gift for. Then give your relative a small token to remind them of the donation. For example, last year we gave money to a maternity home, and then gave a baby ornament to the relative to symbolize the donation in her name. This is particularly beneficial if you have a hard-to-buy-for or has-everything-needs-nothing relative.
'Tis the season to share, give, bless, and be blessed!