Today we got our first big snowfall of the season, and woke up to a nice dusting of 3 inches on the driveway. My boys and I immediately put on our snow gear, bundled up, and proceeded to clear the drive way and throw snowballs. My kids focused on the important task of snowballs! :)
When we came in Mom had made us frothy hot cocoa with marshmallows and whipped cream. All day we've been listening to Christmas music and just having a relaxing day.
With the snow, cocoa, and music it sure puts me in the Christmas season! The season of giving and joy for what we will celebrate on December 25th. (Isn't it funny how you don't feel the same way on a hot humid July day?) On ThreeThriftyGuys.com I feel like we focus a lot of our efforts “inwardly” and how we can help ourselves first (get out of debt, save more, etc). However, during the Christmas season I wanted to collaborate with our readers on ideas for giving. Asking one's self, “How can I be a blessing to someone else?” With that said here are few ideas to get ya started.
- Christmas Jar – a couple of years ago my wife read the book, “Christmas Jars“, by Jason F. Wright. The premise is to fill up a jar with your extra coins over the course of a year. Then come Christmas time you are suppose to leave it at a door step of a needy family.
- Random Act of Kindness – this is similar to the Christmas Jars with the focus on doing something for someone else that isn't expecting it. It's especially rewarding when you are able to witness the joy from this kindness.
- Donate to Goodwill – this time of year is a great time to donate all the unused items to Goodwill and remove a lot of unnecessary clutter from your home. Coats, mittens, and scarfs are in high demand at a lot of thrift stores during this season too!
- Christmas caroling – as a kid my local church had a tradition of caroling around town and bringing bags of goodies to people's homes. No matter how cold it was I always remember this, and felt so joyful to bring a light to folks who may have ailing health. I still remember caroling at the assisted living homes, and the smiles we'd get when they'd have singing visitors.
- Serve at a food pantry or soup kitchen – besides giving of your money, serving is another great way to give of yourself during the Christmas season. It's hard to explain the joy you feel from serving others, and it's a great reminder of how many people are in need.
- Tithing – have you looked at how much you have given to your church over the course of the year? Are you shooting for 10%? If you are short of your goal, then Christmas time is a great time to “true up” your giving to your goals. This will not only bless others, but help you come tax season!
- Shovel a driveway – do you have some older folks in your neighborhood who have a harder time getting around? Consider serving your neighbors in the capacity this Christmas season, and ask nothing in return.
So those are just a few of our ideas for sharing in the joy of giving during the Christmas season. What ideas do you have or plan on doing this year? I'd love to hear from some of our readers!
Love these suggestions Charlie. Right before Thanksgiving my wife and 3 kids helped feed the homeless through my Dad’s church. It was a great experience, especially for the kids. It was quite an eye opener for them as there were some kids their age in line to get the free meal. We plan on doing it more often.
Oh Charlie-You’ve done it again! Inspired me with great ideas! Thank you for your continued encouragement to be a good steward of what God has given us throughout the year!
Many Blessings Friend!
Mrs. Mess – you are such an encourager! Thanks. It sure brings a smile to my face when I get such positive feedback from a well respected lady like yourself. Thanks!
A few years back, I realized that it’s fairly disappointing how we give so much for a month of the year, but not the other 11.
The Warrior family has a set amount we deposit each month into a separate ING savings for giving. Then we give throughout the year from that. Sometimes, we will pay for someone else’s bill randomly and other we will donate to some cause.
Anyways, we just try to give a little throughout the year instead of just once per year.
Happy holidays to all!
Warrior – that is a fabulous idea! I think most people focus too much around Christmas and Thanksgiving and like you said not enough for the other months of the year. I know our local foodbank often asks for people to not come around Thanksgiving, because they have too many people and would much rather have people spreadout their serving time throughout the year. Great comment!
I spend time volunteering for the local children’s aid. It’s fun and warm and fuzzy.
Love random acts of kindness! Another simple one that will make someone’s day is to clean off the persons car next to yours at the end of a snowy work day. So easy!
Darcy – brilliant! I’m going to use that come the next snowfall! Thanks!
I really like the Christmas jar idea, too! It’s amazing how much change you can save up. It can really make a difference in someone’s life.
Ruser – That change does really add up quickly over the course of the year if you only pay with cash!
Every year I go through my closet and give a load of clothes, etc to Goodwill at Christams. We also buy dog and cat food to give to the local humane society, can’t forget our furry friends! Then we give food to the food bank at our church they usually are low this time if year. We really enjoy doings these things timbales the season more meaningful.
Anita – since I don’t have pets I don’t often think about how I can help out the local humane society. However, I keep telling my kids that when we buy a farm that we’ll get a dog. My oldest (who is 9) now keeps saying to me “we are never going to buy a farm are we dad?” I better get on buying a farm then!
Great post, Charlie. I love the Christmas jar idea. We are trying extra hard to focus on random acts of kindness this season. Even something as simple as a sincere smile to a stranger or letting someone go ahead of you in line at the cashier can bring lots of joy to an otherwise stressful day.
Laurie – I think it’d be fun to buy someone’s food at a restaurant or drive through. That might be my next random act of kindness!
Love that idea, Charlie!! You’ll have to let us know how that works out.
I’ve done that quite a few times. Once in Reno as I was waiting for my flight to Phoenix and the restaurant had a huge table of military personnel. I just gave the waitress a 50 and told her to cover whatever she could with that. Then another time there was a couple of elderly ladies – all widows around Xmas time – in a little dinner down the street from my house and I paid for their 4 breakfasts. As I left I went outside and watched through the window as the waitress told them all that their meals had been taken care of. The looks on their faces as they lit up like 5 years old was just amazing and more than enough thanks for me to know i made some people happy for a few minutes.