This time of year gives me all the feels. I love the unity that I feel as part of a community and the attitude of gratitude that is in everyone’s hearts. I love the spirit of giving and the sense that the world is bigger than what we see day to day. We look beyond our own needs to see what good can be done in the world. It’s magical and I cherish it.

Each year our family tries to give back in meaningful ways. I feel like I need to preface that with the fact that we are far from perfect, but we try and be proactive about serving. Each year my kids ask about serving and get excited for the opportunities. It makes my mom heart happy. I wanted to share some of the simple things we do each year to help give back. I would love if you shared some of the things you do with me in the comments that way I can grow our possibilities.

  1. Make bags for the homeless and leave them in your car. We often see people standing outside grocery stores etc with signs asking for help. When we see someone like that we give them a bag and wish them a Merry Christmas. My kids love it! Here is what we put in our bags: *Gloves *Fleece Blanket *Beanie *Socks *Food *Water bottle *McDonalds Gift cards *Notecard that we wrote a message on. I got everything on Amazon and spent about $160 for 12 bags

2. Volunteer at a local Food Pantry. Tabitha’s Way and the Food and Care Coalition are two food pantries close to my house. A simple google search would direct you to one close to you. Food Pantry’s need a variety of items as well as cash and volunteers to pack and hand out food. Grab some girlfriends and make an afternoon of it or bring your kids. Most pantries have an age requirement for kids, but it is worth looking into. I’m bringing my 10 and 12-year-old next time I go. Visit their website and schedule a time to go help. You won’t regret it.

3. Sub for Santa. There are so many families that are barely able to make ends meet, especially this year with covid. I have worked with the United Way in Utah for the past several years and I am always impressed with how well organized it is. When you sign up you can decide if you want to sponsor an individual or a family. If you choose a family you can even specify how many children. Once you are assigned a family you receive their contact information and can contact them about the ages of children and needs etc. United Way gives you a gift shopping outline that keeps things within a budget and fair across all families. It is so helpful. They suggest about $125 per person to spend on gifts and necessities.

4. Angel Tree. This is a great option if sponsoring an individual or a family is overwhelming for you. An angel tree gives you the option to buy one item for someone and drop it off at a neutral location. I know many churches do giving trees as well as grocery stores and department stores. Keep your eyes peeled I guarantee you will see one this holiday season.

5. Draw pictures and write notes for the elderly and drop off at an assisted living center. I can’t even imagine how lonely the elderly are right now being cut off from visiting and hugging their family. They could use some cheering up and cards/notes/pictures is a great covid friendly way to brighten their day.

I know there are a million other ways to serve. Will you share with me what you do in the comments? I would love to add to my list.