While a heart of thankfulness is something we should cultivate all year long, there’s no denying there are even more opportunities during the holidays.
There are several things you should always keep in mind when desiring to volunteer and work with those in need:
- an attitude of humility – you’re not a hero coming in to save the day, you’re just a fellow human who has the chance to bless others from the blessings you have received
- a teachable spirit – seek to understand and learn from those you are helping, everyone has something they can teach you
- do your research to make sure you’ll actually be helping
Here are 10 family holiday activities to cultivate thankfulness
2. Take food to your local food pantry or see about volunteering there.
3. Sign up to be a child’s angel through Angel Tree – “Founded in 1982 by an ex-prisoner who witnessed firsthand the strained relationship between prisoners and their children, Angel Tree has grown to become the largest national outreach specifically for the children of prisoners. One in 28 American children lives with the shame of a parent’s incarceration; that’s one boy or girl in every classroom. But together with Angel Tree, you can help these children feel loved and valued—unlocking their potential for a brighter future.”
4. Send gifts to a child in need through Operation Christmas Child – “Samaritan’s Purse is a nondenominational evangelical Christian organization providing spiritual and physical aid to hurting people around the world. Since 1970, Samaritan’s Purse has helped meet needs of people who are victims of war, poverty, natural disasters, disease, and famine with the purpose of sharing God’s love through His Son, Jesus Christ.”
5. Be a bell ringer – “The bell ringing season starts each November and runs through Christmas Eve. Volunteers are the difference between an empty kettle and one that raises about $30 per hour – enough to provide a family with two bags of groceries or shelter an individual for a night. Who can bell ring? Anyone!”
6. Make a card/care package to send to someone:
- military – soldier, marine, sailor, airman, and coastguard
- inmate – there are a lot of restrictions with prisons, be sure to check with your local facility.
7. Visit someone (or volunteer) in a retirement home or hospital.
Take a volunteer vacation – while voluntourism opportunities are numerous, they are of questionable benefit. There are, however, likely local families you can help and projects you can get involved with. Talk to your community center and local churches for more information.
9. Find volunteer opportunities based on your interests.
10. Pray for other countries and people groups.