This post was originally published December 5, 2011.
It’s no secret that people seem to come out of the woodwork to serve during Christmas (while, really, there’s plenty of work to do year round!).
As a Christian, my Christmas celebrations center around remembering Christ’s birth. Jesus came to serve, and He calls us to serve others, and it’s a joy to fulfill this command.
But I’ll be honest: I have struggled with serving since I became a mom.
Did she really just say that?
Yep, I did! While I spent my teen years and twenties going on mission trips, teaching various age groups of Sunday School, teaching immigrants English as a Second Language and translating for them during desperate times, I’ve found serving these ways with two little ones in tow is not only difficult…but it’s next to impossible.
Image by XenoLV426
Besides all that, some older, wiser mothers gave me this piece of advice when I was pregnant with my first: Your children will be your little disciples. Don’t rush to serve others to the neglect of them.
But the question remains: Are there ways to serve with little ones?
Yes! Check out these suggestions for serving with your little ones this Christmas:
Image by hortongrou
1. Make cards for nursing home or hospital patients
Once children hit age 2 (and sometimes younger), they can usually color on paper. And you can easily fold the paper into cards. Many sick and elderly people spend the holidays alone, and a simple card made by a little one can bring lots of cheer. If your children aren’t ill, take them with you to deliver the cards! If they are, I suggest sending the cards in the mail, as you don’t want to expose the most vulnerable to any sickness.
Image by fulco
2. Collect coupons for military families
Did you know military bases take expired coupons?! If you get the Sunday paper, it won’t be hard at all to set aside your unwanted coupons. I’m not an extreme couponer, so I am happy to pass along any coupons to those who actually use them more often.
Instead of chunking them in the recycling bin, have your preschoolers help you cut them out, stuff them in some envelopes with some homemade Christmas cards and send them to your favorite military family. This is sure to be a blessing! (Don’t know any military families? My friend and military wife, Nikki, at Christian Mommy Blogger, may be able to point you in the right direction!)
Image by shomedia
3. Make a meal together for a homebound individual
Little ones can start mixing and tossing in pre-measured ingredients when they are little more than a year old. While you’re cooking, talk or even pray together for the person for whom you are preparing the meal.
Image by hortongrou
4. Make a video and/or music recording for a faraway friend or relative
Does Grandma live 12 hours away (my girls’ does!), or do you have a special missionary friend who lives in another country (we do!), why not have your kiddos sing for the camera and/or voice recorder. It will be sure to bring smiles and cheers–and maybe even a few tears.
5. Bake some treats for your neighbors
This has to be my favorite–and one we will definitely be doing again this year. Last year, Little Girl and I baked banana bread for our neighbors, but this year I think we may make an assortment of treats, like pumpkin spice donut holes, healthy chocolate peanut butter fudge, coconut-cranberry peanut butter truffles and my triple chocolate peanut butter truffles from the Healthy Holidays eBook. We like to attach a Bible verse proclaiming Christ’s birth.
Last year, we delivered the bread on a rare white Christmas morning, and it was a blast getting to know our neighbors (most of whom invited us inside!).