The Christmas Spirit & Helping Children in Need
As we prepare to celebrate the birth of Christ, let us honor Him by honoring those in need. In this article, we will focus specifically on helping children in need this Christmas. What follows are some unique and practical ways to share Christ’s love, celebrate his life, and honor Him . . . all by helping children in need.
- Profit and non-for-profit organizations in your locale may be sponsoring programs to help children in need. At your favorite restaurant, you may see a Christmas tree decorated with paper ornaments, each hand-made by a child in need. Each ornament contains a list of items that child wants/needs for Christmas. At your area domestic violence shelter, you may find a “wish list” of items that the non-profit organization is seeking so that they can wrap and distribute the much needed gifts to the children staying in their shelters over the holidays. You may find a similar list at your community’s homeless shelter (after all, families can be homeless too). For each of these programs, you can usually donate money, contribute new or nearly new toys and gifts, and/or share your time (i.e., by wrapping or distributing gifts, etc.). If you choose to participate in any of these programs, it is faith-affirming to let your children participate as well. They will learn to give Christly love to others, experience the joy of sharing, and feel and exhibit compassion: by participating in these programs, your children will learn life lessons that will stand them in good stead the rest of their lives.
- Retailers and manufacturers may be offering specific items for sale that are tied to a specific children’s charity. For example, you may see a toy marked with a label that says, “Ten percent of the purchase price of this toy will be donated to “a local children’s charity.” By purchasing such items for your children or other children, you will be helping countless other children served by the designated charity.
- Military bases may have programs in which you can donate new or near-new toys for members of the military to distribute to needy children in the countries in which the military is serving (i.e., Iraq, Afghanistan, etc.).
- Absent a specific organization or program to which you can contribute, you may opt to forego family gift-giving and use the money that would have been spent on family gifts to host a community children’s function. For example, you can partner with your local newspaper, radio stations, and community organizations to sponsor a group of children attending a re-enactment of the Christmas story. Following the program, you can have refreshments and small gifts available for the children. As noted above, it is faith-affirming to include your own children in the planning and carrying-out of this activity: the life lessons learned by attending to children in need will stand your own children in good stead for the rest of their lives.
- If you are a creative person, you can sponsor a workshop for children in need. You can teach the children how to make small presents for their loved ones. For example, you can teach one little girl how to make a hot pad for her mom who cooks daily for their large family. You can teach a little boy how to make a tie-dyed t-shirt for his brother. Here again, having your children help in this activity is a faith-affirming life lesson for your children.
- You can anonymously adopt a family; find out their Christmas wants and needs; and purchase, wrap, and deliver their Christmas gifts. If you know a needy family in your neighborhood or through a workplace connection, that may be a great family to adopt. You can observe their needs and, through casual conversation with them, determine their wants. To deliver presents anonymously, you can deposit the wrapped gifts on their front doorstep, ring their doorbell, and depart before the door is answered. Many people who give gifts anonymously will wait a distance away, just out of sight of the recipient family, to ensure that they receive the gifts (rather than having them stolen off their front doorstep).
- You can invite a family in need to share in your Christmas meal.
These and a host of other opportunities await you and your family. Each community has its own unique offerings. Whatever you and your family choose, may the experience of helping children in need this Christmas enrich the lives of your family members as well as of the children in need.
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