It is the time of year where I am in the Christmas Spirit, as we call it in my family. It would be of no surprise to find me randomly burst out in Christmas Carols, donate extra time, give gifts, and consume more peppermint flavored coffee than the other 11 months of the year. While the holidays for me have always been such a special time to celebrate, it is also a time to remember that not everyone is as blessed as I am. I have been lucky enough to always have my family close, be able to buy the gifts I want to give, and have the ability to make a difference in someone else’s life. Some people take for granted that their parents live right down the street, their Grandma can make the best Christmas meal around, or that Santa has enough money to drop gifts down their chimney. There is no time better than today to not only be grateful for what you have, but take time to bless someone else who is maybe not as fortunate. There are so many things you can do to give a little holiday cheer to someone else. Here are just a couple of ideas that are impactful:
- Blessing someone doesn’t always mean handing out money – volunteer to serve or prepare food for a local shelter or soup kitchen. Here are a list of those in the KC area – http://www.homelessshelterdirectory.org/cgi-bin/id/city.cgi?city=Kansas%20City&state=MO
- Adopt a family or sponsor a child – there are places all over that have Angel Tree’s, but you can also go through local charities to adopt a family. My favorite to work with is – Catholic Charities of N.E. Kansas – http://www.catholiccharitiesks.org/page.aspx?pid=274 . They have an incredible program where families are selected based on income level, degree of need, and they have a lot of information about who you are adopting. They are so easy to work with and when I have adopted thru them I always get a personalized thank you letter from the family. Not meaning I do it for the thanks, BUT meaning you know the family is actually getting the gifts. That is a reassuring feeling.
- Find a local school and donate – many school counselors and principals (of schools or churches) usually are aware when they have families that are struggling. They will typically let you drop off gifts or meals for these families to them for delivery.
- Pay it forward – Nothing is better than ordering at Starbucks and someone in front of you has paid for your drink! So, pass on the favor.
- Give something anonymously – if you know of someone who is having a hard time – help them out. You can leave them a gift card, present, anything that will help them out a little.
- Invite the lonely over for the holidays – if you know of someone spending the holiday by themselves then ask them to come with you and celebrate. Most people just want to be around others on the holiday, especially if they don’t have family close.
- Donate needed winter items – there are so many people that don’t have socks, boots, hats, gloves, or coats for their families. Take time to clean out your closest and donate unwanted items, or if you have the money then buy new. Rather them giving them to the Salvation Army donate them to a school or church where people won’t have to pay for the items.
Gifts come in small and large packages! Don’t ever forget that what may seem like something small to you, might be a huge help for someone else. Be thankful, be thoughtful, and be caring. If you have the time, give it. If you have the money, donate it.