1. Spending time with seniors
Instagram: Cristiano Ronaldo
Some people may lack nothing materially, but be poor in human relations. Seniors are the generation that suffers most from loneliness. If you have seniors in your life, offer to play cards, play Scrabble, knit, read poetry or have tea with them. You can also take the trick one step further and go to a retirement home with a small team (in agreement with the management of course) to spend some time with these seniors.
2. An inverted advent calendar
I saw this great idea come through last year, and I got a booster shot again this year. Instead of getting something every day from December 1st to December 24th (you know, it could be a chocolate, a toy or a word to discover in a pouch), well, you give something every day. We can put the items in a box or a bag and once it is full, give it away (to an association like the Red Cross for example, to a resource center, to someone in particular). You can make an inverted Advent calendar by family, or why not, one per family member (which also allows you to clear the clutter, sort and tidy up as a family).
3. Biscuits to offer
If you have an oven, you can make pretty and tasty Christmas cookies, put them in small packages and offer them to your neighbors, co-workers, your child’s teacher or the homeless outside in the city. It’s a gift that will always be appreciated. And if you don’t have an oven, you can offer nuts, clementines, chocolates… There’s no shortage of ideas?
4. Serving the soup kitchen
You can give your time to serve soup kitchens, do marauding (serving soup or hot coffee to the homeless in your city), participate in food collections… Many local or national associations need volunteers who care about the most disadvantaged. They need help all the time, but even more in winter. So as the holidays approach, it’s a nice way to celebrate Christmas turned towards others.
5. Entertain the children
It is also possible to get closer to some children’s hospital services, in order to organize an afternoon or an evening to change the ideas of these little sick children who will not be able to be at home at Christmas. It is an opportunity to share games, manual activities, coloring, a snack, a moment of music or stories.
6. Handmade cards
Making your own Christmas cards and greeting cards allows you to take time for someone you love, but also to take a break from the stressful holiday season. And when you make them as a family, the children learn a lot by participating in the making of Christmas cards. I’ve made a complete video on this subject, which you can watch here.
7. Secret Santa Claus
Secret Santa Claus is a discovery for us this year, which we set up with a lot of excitement and joy. The principle is simple: you choose a person you know or don’t know well, but whom you want to please, and you give him or her a few anonymous gifts until Christmas. The quantity doesn’t matter, what counts is the gesture. It can be a handmade gift card each time (with a word signed “Secret Santa”), it can be Christmas decorations, it can be Christmas stickers to give a child something to do Christmas crafts with, but it can also be poems… Make room for your creativity and imagination. With Djanaé, we loved to do this this year, especially when the person across the street can’t find out who his secret Santa Claus is.
This idea can be taken up in class, imagine that each child picks another child from his class. All the children get something, but all the other children don’t get anything.
8. A New Year’s Eve with single people
If you have single people in your entourage such as a student whose family lives far away, a foreign friend whose family is in another country, a divorced person, or a neighbor who has no family (single people are numerous when you really start to look)… prepare a festive meal, invite them to celebrate Christmas in a friendly and joyful way, and put them in the spotlight. Happiness is felt when you share it?
9. Sponsor a child.
There are associations that allow you to sponsor a child who lives in another country. The purpose of the sponsorship is to give a little something each month that allows the child to have material to go to school, as well as clothes. A sponsorship is not a one-time act, it is a commitment. It is therefore not a decision to be taken lightly, it must then be kept every other month of the year. But at Christmas, it allows a child to also receive a gift and the hope of a better future.
10. One gift
What if, this year, the children agreed to receive only one gift? The goal is that the money spent on the other gifts will go to a cause chosen by the whole family. This way, the children will have a gift (that they have really chosen), and discover the joy of giving. If you would like to see how we work with Djanaé for gifts, to teach her to prefer moments rather than objects for example, I made a video that you can watch here.
Here are a few ideas to celebrate Christmas turned towards others, and with others. If you have other ideas, please share them in the comments, so we’ll have even more possibilities for all the next Christmas.