I don’t know about you friends, but I always start off every holiday season with the best of intentions. I tell myself, this year we’re going to do more. We’re going to help more families and show our kids what service looks like. And then to no avail, the same things always happens. We do our normal service activities within our church, but those best of intentions to do more end up falling by the waste side.
Maybe you feel the same way. Every Thanksgiving and Christmas you have the best of intentions. You want to get more involved and help others in a different way, but between the hustle and bustle of the season, things just always seem to be put on hold. So one recent evening I sat and made a list of all the things I could do with my children that would allow them the chance to serve others in a way that was age appropriate for them, but also spread the love of Jesus in a very tangible way. A list of ways to not only get them involved in missions and service, but things that we could do as a family within our own home.
If you’re like me and sometimes struggle with thinking of mission activities to do as a family around the holiday season, I hope this list will be helpful to you.
Here are 15 mission activities you can do with your kids during the holiday season:
- Pack a shoe box for Operation Christmas Child– This is a fun (and inexpensive) activity to do with kids because they have the opportunity to pack a shoe box for children in other countries around their same age. Shoe boxes can be filled with small toys, personal hygiene items, and candy. Children that receive shoe boxes also receive a booklet in their native language on The Gospel.
- Packages for Inmates– Similar to packing a shoe box for Operation Christmas Child, families can pack shoe boxes for inmates that may not receive anything for Christmas. As a family, you can put together a box with toiletry and personal care items in it to let the women and men know they are cared for and loved.
- Christmas cards to retirement homes- Spend an evening addressing Christmas cards and send them to a local retirement home. Residents will enjoy getting the cards and the kids will enjoy getting creative making the cards!
- Organize a neighborhood pot luck– This is a great way to get to know your neighbors more and build new relationships. Kids can help cook food or come up with a cute invitation to send out!
- Make holiday decorations for Thanksgiving and Christmas for a local retirement home- If your kids enjoy making crafts and decorating for the holidays, this is a fun option for them. Most retirement homes or assisted living facilities would welcome decorations to put up around their facility.
- Make and take small gifts to hospital staff or patients- It would be a great surprise to staff and/or patients to receive a small gift of appreciation just to let them know someone is thinking of them around the holiday season. Check out Pinterest for some fun ideas!
- Go Christmas caroling- If you or your kids love to sing, bundle up and go caroling! What a fun way to spread some joy to others at Christmas time!
- Adopt a family for Christmas- Offer to adopt a family for Christmas and let your kids take part in picking out the presents and wrapping them.
- Make soup and deliver to local elderly neighbors or church family- This is a mission activity that wouldn’t take much time, but something that would be so special to someone who receives it. Let your kids help pick the recipe and deliver the soup.
- Host a birthday party for Jesus- Let your kids invite their friends over for a birthday party for Jesus. They can send out invitations, help decorate a cake, and even share with their friends about the Christmas story and Jesus’ birth. This can be as simple as you want it to be and it doesn’t take much. Get as creative as you want!
- Volunteer to wrap someone else’s presents- Know someone who has difficulty wrapping their Christmas presents or doesn’t have the time to do so? Offer to wrap their presents for them. Kids love being involved in wrapping presents, so this is a great chance to let them serve others in a fun way.
- Let kids make or pass out tracts to other kids about the real Christmas story- Between gift giving, decorating, and all other things Christmas related, it can be hard to remain focused on the real reason we celebrate Christmas. Let kids make their own tracts or order some to pass out to kids in your neighborhood or community to remind kids of The Gospel and the real reason we celebrate Christmas.
- Collect coats for local homeless shelters- You can do this as a family or as a larger group within your church family. Kids can make posters to promote the coat drive and can help organize coats as they are donated.
- Decorate ornaments for others- a special and easy way to bless someone during the Christmas season. Get as crafty as you would like!
- Offer to help someone put up their Christmas tree or decorate for the holiday season- This activity would be great to do with your kids! Is there someone you know that has difficulty physically decorating their home or putting up their Christmas tree? This activity would provide a great opportunity to bless someone in a physical way.
This is just a small list of some things you can do. Ways to serve others in the name of Jesus are countless. Think about what works for your family. What your children’s interests are. Maybe they really enjoy animals. Maybe they really like singing or acting. Take a look at what interests them and see if you can find ways they can use their interests and talents to serve others around you. Many of the mission activities in this list are things you can do throughout the year, not just during the holiday season.
I hope this was helpful to you as you plan for the upcoming season. Remember, there are numerous ways to show others the love of Jesus. How will you be His hands and feet?
Share with us in the comments: what activities do you like to do with your family during the holiday season?