I love the colors, decorations, goodies, packages, and carols of Christmas. I’ll be the first to admit that I get caught up in the fun traditions. But along with all the colors and the fun, I know how much more there is for this season. I also want my family to be aware not just of WHY we celebrate Christmas, but also be able to feel its spirit. A Spirit of Christmas Family Night is the perfect opportunity to remind us of the reason for the season. During family night we talk about what Christmas is really about, and then we make plans. Big plans. We plan out the ways we will serve throughout the month of December. When we give of ourselves, we are celebrating the true gift – Christ is the gift. When we give to others, we are giving back to Him.
Gifts of Ourselves
Here are some things we’ve loved having as part of our Christmas:
- We always choose a family we know and surprise them with a secret gift or money for Christmas. We never tell them it was us. When we were a young family just starting out, someone did this for us one year, and ever since, we’ve paid it forward every single year.
- Often we’ve collected food for families in need (or sometimes for our local food bank when we didn’t know of specific families).
- We have made baby blankets for our local children’s hospital. They use blankets for kids who are staying there, and also for mothers who lose babies or children, so they can have a memento to take home at that especially difficult time. When I lost a baby I was given a beautiful, tiny afghan which I cherish so much. I have no idea who made it for me, but I will forever be grateful.
- We’ve collected coats and warm clothing to donate to local shelters.
- Each year we go through our closets and toy boxes and fill a Santa sack with the things we’ve outgrown. I arrange for the things that are in perfect condition to be given to families we know who are struggling financially so they can become gifts. We then donate the other items to a thrift store. It helps out other families and our community, and also helps us get clean and organized before Christmas.
- We’ve collected coins in a jar throughout the month and then donated them to the ringing Santas outside of stores.
- We’ve organized Sub-for-Santa gift drives and provided gifts for families who otherwise wouldn’t find things under their tree. If we don’t organize an entire one that year, at least we go find an angel tree or Sub-For-Santa to donate to.
- We have a little Christmas angel that is passed from person to person in our family. Whoever has the angel does a little act of service for someone in our family, and then leaves the angel there. For example, if I make Isabel’s bed, I leave the angel there and she knows it’s her turn to do a little act of service. This goes on all month long.
- Our kids save up to go buy gifts for kids they know who wouldn’t have much. They go shopping and buy something with their own money, wrap it up, and secretly leave the packages on the porch.
- We’ve gone to visit our local nursing home several times. We’ve performed for them, visited with them, and gotten to know several of the residents. There just isn’t a way to MISS OUT on feeling the Christmas spirit when you’re getting a hug from a sweet lady who is missing her family at Christmas time and gushing with joy that you’re there. No presents required. Just smiles and hugs and compliments for her tiny tabletop Christmas tree. Just some time to sit and visit.
Just an open heart. That’s all it takes to feel the Christmas spirit.
For Family Night tonight, give a gift of yourself somehow. Find a need this season and fill it. Never been to the local nursing home before? Just walk in. Give it a try. You’ll feel that spirit and will never regret giving a bit of yourself for Christmas this year. Of all the family nights we have, those in which we serve have brought us closer together as a family than any others. Take one night this month and make your own big plans. Then go out and give a gift of yourself.
Have a happy, joy-filled, full-of-service family night.