Want. Need. Wear. Read: Ways to Serve

Our family has been working together to make Christmas purposefully different this year. With Want, Need, Wear, Read, we switched up gift-giving to look less stressful and a lot more intentional. But it’s our goal for that intentionality to reach more people than just our family. We want to help and serve others this Christmas. Yours too? Here are some ideas your family can try out:

Spend time with elders at a local nursing home. A lot of people do not have family over the holidays. Take the opportunity to share love, a meal, or your time this season to bring that Christmas joy. It is sure to warm you and your kids' hearts as well.

Give the cost equivalence of one gift to Preemptive Love. I know our family is definitely cutting down to make gift-giving more purposeful. In replace of a toy you would give your kids, send the equivalent amount of money to Preemptive Love. They are all about building up the lives of refugees and providing medical care for at-risk children. Now that is a meaningful gift.

Collect gifts for or a local jail or juvenile detention center. There are so many that don’t see family or receive gifts over the holidays. With your kids’ friends or Sunday school class, collect care packages for inmates at the local jail. Willow Creek Community Church collected about 70,000 gifts for each prisoner in Illinois in 2015. No matter the amount of care packages, you and your family can have the same influence this Christmas.

Give back to store employees. As holiday shopping finishes up, we can so easily become frustrated if the clothing size we want is out of stock or if someone grabbed that book we needed. Remember that it is not the associates’ fault helping you—they sacrificed their time to serve you better. Show them kindness, appreciation for working crazy hours, and even bring them coffee to help make it through the shift!

There are so many reasons to be joyful and give back this Christmas. We hope you and your kids find those reasons and serve together. And most of all, we wish you so many blessings of love, family, and joy at the birth of our Savior this Christmas.