By Jennifer Hallmark
The holidays have arrived, dressed in glitter, bearing the aroma of pumpkin, cinnamon, and pine. Traffic has jammed around malls and supercenters. And who can forget the increase of events? Parties, special church services, and family gatherings, to name a few.
A time of joy, laughter, and togetherness.
But not for all.
During this time of pandemic illnesses, high inflation, and families uprooted from their homes due to job changes and fresh starts, people are lonely. Unsettled. Depressed.
Crying out for relief.
What can we do? Is there a way, as individuals, churches, or civic groups, that we can help?
Yes! We can make a difference in our community, state, nation, and world. From small acts of kindness to large charitable undertakings, everyone can do something. We just have to start. Over the years, I’ve had the blessing of participating in “good deeds” to make the holidays brighter for someone in need. Here are some ideas that you, as an individual, or your group can look into:
- Send Christmas cards. Who doesn’t enjoy receiving a cheerful card in the mail?
- Make a phone call. Brighten someone’s day with the sound of your voice.
- Bake or create a gift. People enjoy homemade presents.
- Deliver packages of socks to a nursing home or homeless shelter. An often-requested item.
- Smile while you shop. You never know what people are going through and what a smile might mean.
Church or Civic Group
- Invite the community to a holiday dinner. Look for people new to the area or who might be struggling and extend a personal invitation.
- Participate in an event to help children. Send shoe boxes of gifts (Samaritan’s Purse https://www.samaritanspurse.org), backpacks of food and school supplies (Baptist Christmas Backpack Ministry https://www.alabamawmu.org/christmasbackpack), or pick a child from an Angel Tree (Salvation Army https://www.salvationarmyusa.org/usn/walmart-angel-tree). For local outreach, check with your community’s child welfare services.
- Sponsor a drive-through or walk-through nativity scene or Christmas event. Offer fun games, photo opportunities, and free hot cocoa and provide a safe place for people new to the community to enjoy the holidays.
- Host a food drive for your local food bank or for specific needy families in your area.
- Create gift baskets for the elderly, those hospitalized during the holidays, and/or the military.
Whether you share a card, phone call, visit, homemade gift, or smile, you can make a lonely person feel loved and accepted during this special time of year. The blessing you receive in return will be worth it all.
What do you plan to do to make the Christmas season more meaningful? I’d love to know!
Gifts for you: How would you like to receive ten of my favorite cake and cookie recipes, read the first chapter of my debut novel, Jessie’s Hope, and sign up for my newsletter, all for free? Here’s the page with all the information https://www.subscribepage.com/x2e1j4. Thanks!
Jennifer Hallmark writes Southern fiction off the beaten track and her website focuses on her books, love of the South, and the unexpected in stories. Jessie’s Hope, her debut novel published by Firefly Southern Fiction, was a 2019 Selah Award nominee. She also hosts a podcast on persevering during chaotic times, “Determined to Dance,” and is a mentor with Word Weavers International.