Practical Ways to Reach Out to Others During the Holidays

I treasure the holidays as a unique time of year to really reach out to others in simple practical ways and display the love of Christ to a watching world. Many are lonely or wrapped up in the busyness of the holidays. One of my passions is that we would seek to be intentional with every opportunity to be a light, especially working together with our children and cultivating hearts of generosity. This is our number one priority when planning our holiday schedule. These are all different ideas that our family has participated in over the years and helped keep our priorities on serving others rather than just gift buying for ourselves. It definitely takes a little thought and planning but the results are well worth it.

1. Make a special treat for your neighbors.

Pumpkin bread, cookies, etc. I love making mini pumpkin bread loaves and sharing with the neighbors. I like to make them in early November, put them in the freezer for a couple weeks (which helps increase the flavor), and then deliver during Thanksgiving or before Christmas. Helps reduce the stress during the holiday rush. Whatever you are making for your family, make an extra batch and share with your neighbors or co-workers.

2. Make a little thank you gift for your mailman, trash collector, etc.

Leave a plate of cookies and a Christmas card for these service providers.

3. Host a Christmas party and invite your neighbors.

This year, we are focusing on reaching out to 3 young families in our neighborhood. So we decided to invite them all over for a Christmas party with warm soup, salad, bread, and have a meaningful fellowship time. I’ll have the kids recite their memory work of Luke 2 in a light weight but intentional way of sharing the true meaning of Christmas, and then facilitate some meaningful conversation around the question: “What’s your favorite Christmas memory?”

4. Go caroling!

Whether it be to your neighbors or to an elderly care facility, this is a simple way of sharing the joy and true celebration of Christmas.

5. Share a gift.

Operation Christmas Child, Angel Tree, donating gifts (using their Christmas gift catalogs) through Compassion International, or Samaritans Purse, are all easy ways to join with your children in ministering to the needs in your community and around the world. I am helping to facilitate an Angel Tree project at my church to provide gifts to children of incarcerated parents in our community. It’s so simple and yet meaningful. You even get to deliver the gifts to the children within their homes and share about Jesus. Pretty special.

6. Adopt a family in need.

One of my favorite Christmas memories was the year as a child we adopted a family in need in our church who was going through a serious health crisis, and we bought gifts for all the children and surprised them by delivering the goodies to their door. It has stood with me for memory years and inspired many more ventures to give some Christmas joys to needy families in our church.

These are just a few ideas we have found helpful to keep the focus on serving others and giving our children opportunities to serve as well and cultivating a greater picture of the true meaning of Christmas.

How do you  enjoy being a light during the holidays?

About Lindsay

Lindsay Edmonds is first a lover of Jesus, wife, mother of three, homemaker, and writer. She is the editor of Passionate Homemaking since its beginning five years ago. She loves inspiring women around the world toward simple, natural, and intentional living for the glory of God.

11 Responses to Practical Ways to Reach Out to Others During the Holidays

  1. Jen December 6, 2012 at 12:26 pm #

    When we are able, we enjoy anonomously granting wishes at the Wish Upon a Hero website. We also donate to our local food pantry. In order to reach out in person, this year I’m going to make goodies with my almost 5 year old son, and deliver them to a few neighbors that we’ve gotten to know a little over the past few years.

    If we ever get the updating done in our house (getting close!), I also like the idea of having a Christmas open house for the neighbors to stop by, enjoy easy appetizers, drinks and good conversation. Nice post, and a good reminder to reach out to others during the holidays.

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  3. Laura December 1, 2012 at 6:38 pm #

    I have been sponsoring a child through Compassion and this will be the 2nd year to give them a Christmas gift. I feel humbled when they bought rice and we spend so much on toys for our children. It is a great eye opener for me. It helps reminds me of the true meaning of Christmas.

  4. Candice November 30, 2012 at 6:34 pm #

    I love this post. I’ve really felt the need to be grateful for what I have and share it with others this Christmas season. The childrens sunday school group at our church just wrote letters to recovering soldiers and sent them to a VA hospital with scriptures and thoughts about Christ. It was so great! The kids loved it and it really got me into the Christmas Spirit early this year. Love the service ideas!

  5. Alyssa Faith November 30, 2012 at 4:11 am #

    Thank you for sharing these helpful ideas! We love caroling. Besides being just plain fun walking around outside singing, we can revel in the ‘excuse’ to sing gospel truths to neighbors.
    Another idea my husband and I are going to try is purchasing Voice of the Martyrs prayer calendars (attractively laid out wall calendars) for ourselves and as gifts to a few family members or friends. It is a way to support the VOM ministry as well as encourage our loved ones to join us in praying for persecuted brethren all year long.

  6. Kelsey K. Anderson November 29, 2012 at 4:45 am #

    Great post and inspiration. Neat ideas on connecting with neighbors.

  7. Christy Fitzwater November 28, 2012 at 6:41 pm #

    This is perfect for me today, because I’ve had this thought all day that I don’t share with people who need it enough. I have a great pumpkin bread recipe -maybe I can give that a go for the neighbors. Thank you so much!!!

  8. Leesa November 28, 2012 at 2:07 pm #

    I like the first one about treating neighbors with a little gift, especially BC we’ve only lived here 6 months. And it’s a suburb where people don’t interact that much so I think it’s a good opportunity.

    We also do the shoe box Christmas thing and angel tree for Christmas. My husband & I give Christmas gifts to our kids but not to each other or to other adult relatives. Instead we spend that money on giving to those in need. My 5YO son and I visit the animals at our local animal shelter so around Christmas we donate dog food and cat food.

    Last year a friend of mine organized for all of us to take kid home made cards to a local nursing home. Another time baked goodies and home made cards to the fire department and then the police department. So if you know maybe 2 or 3 other ladies, it really doesn’t take a lot of people just someone to call the places and set up a time. -Leesa

  9. sarah November 28, 2012 at 12:54 pm #

    i love this post! we are already planning to do a party and giving out cookies to neighbors.

    we live in a neighborhood where people don’t really interact that much as neighbors, so its been hard to keep putting ourselves out there… but i like the “excuse” of the holidays to interact with them by giving them cookies and inviting them to our christmas party. praying that some of them reciprocate!

  10. Shu-Hsin November 28, 2012 at 12:52 pm #

    Thank you Lindsay for these tips! We’ve been looking for ideas to reach out to our neighbors recently. This is great!

  11. Lindsay November 28, 2012 at 5:37 am #

    I love the way you keep inspiring us to serve in the context of our role as wives and mothers. Thank you!! <3