I see I still have some followers here, so THAK YOU for sticking around. I have been horrible at blogging...obviously. I have been keeping up Dollars for Diapers and doing things locally but have not made a huge effort in the blogging world. I will try and do better with this!
As the holidays are getting into full swing I just wanted to jot down some ways we can all get out there and make a difference....big or small.
Have you been to your local mall lately? The Angels Trees are up and the tags are hung waiting for you to come by and adopt a child. This is one of my favorite things to do and has been a Christmas tradition of mine since I was in high school. If you are looking for a tradition to start I highly recommend that you consider this one. It is fun to do if you are single, as a couple, or a family. If you have kiddos let them pick a name off the tree of someone their age. Then take them shopping...they are experts at picking the best toys for kids their age!
My sister decided that instead of giving all of us siblings gifts this year that she would adopt an angel in our name. I think that is a fabulous idea!
I also like the Angel Tree because you can give what your budget allows. If you are running on a tight budget you can look through the tags and find an item that would suit your budget for the year and just cross one thing off the child's list....on the other hand...you can take the entire tag and fulfill all the needs and wants of the child...purchasing clothes and toys if you are working with a larger budget. And if you want to go all out you can call your local Salvation Army and ask for an entire family to adopt. You can tell them how many people you can buy for this year and they will place you with a family. When you do this you buy clothing and toys for the kids and can get a gift for the parents as well. You also provide them with food for a Christmas Dinner. Don't worry...if that seems like too much you can ask just to buy gifts and have someone else provide the dinner. Adopting an entire family is something that would be fun to do with your immediate family and extended family that would like to participate. If you all put your wallets together you could really make the dreams of a family come true this year!!
But wait! Now the Salvation Army has made it even easier to give. If you do not have a mall close by or dread facing the crowds then simply click HERE! Adopt your angel online, shop online even, then just deliver the gift to the address that the Salvation Army will send you once you adopt an Angel. The best part is that you can pick a child in whatever zip code you choose.
** A friend posted on Facebook that Toys for Tots is in dire need for more toys this year. This one is simple...if you go into a store and see the Toys for Tots collection bin...add a toy, big or small, to your cart and drop it in the bin on your way out...easy peasy! Not only are you giving a child a gift but you are supporting the Marines! You can be patriotic and have the Spirit of Christmas all at the same time;) Hate Shopping? Go HERE to donate online or learn more about Toys for Tots. A fun part about donating online is that you can donate in honor of someone. What a great way to honor a loved one by donating in their name! (note some stores have Salvation Army collection bins rather than Toys for Tots...but giving to either organization will be a big help)
**What would Christmas be without bell ringers? Make sure to have some change available when going to the store to drop in the collection buckets. This one is great because all of you TAMNs out there can be seen by all of your fellow shoppers being giving and loving...which is what Christmas is all about right? (for those of you who do not understand what just happened here...click HERE to be filled in.)
**12 Days of Christmas/Secret Santa. This is another fun tradition to start as a family, but also fun to do by yourself. Pick out a person or family. This is such a fun thing to do because you can pick someone who you think needs some cheering up, an elderly person living alone, a family in need, or just a friend or family that you really like whether they are financially in need or not. I think there is a lot of focus on financially needy people...which is great...but there are others out there too that would benefit from and love a surprise. It is nice to get noticed no matter what economic class you fall into. When I do this I like the last day of giving to fall on Christmas Eve...so that means that I start on Dec. 13th as the "1st day of Christmas" and so on. But you can choose whichever day you like to start and end. Some argue that if you were doing this correctly that you would actually start Christmas Day and go until New Years...that would be fun too because it would be totally unexpected and carry on Christmas Cheer a little longer. If you are new to this concept Google "12 Days of Christmas Gift Idea" and you will get a lot ideas to get started.
**No Money to give? No worries...lots of opportunities to serve and make a difference. Why not look up your local soup kitchen and get involved. Take your family in for a night to prepare a meal and serve it.
**Visit a retirement/nursing home. Sing carols, have hot chocolate, and pass out homemade ornaments or cards. If you are able to give monetarily call ahead and ask what some of the residents are in great need of...or ask to adopt a resident that does not have family that visits or gives gifts. You can also help serve dinner and eat with the residents. Have your talented children, grandchildren, cousins, friends, etc. perform in a talent show. Bring your well behaved pets to visit (make sure you call ahead for this one to make sure it is okay) but I know that residents living in these homes really miss seeing children and really miss pets. Have plans to watch a Christmas movie together...why not call ahead and ask the staff if you can come and watch the movie with residents. When I worked at a retirement center we had movie nights often. They would love for visitors (especially youth) to come and watch a movie with them. Serve microwave popcorn and drinks or another fun treat. If you can do any of these things this year DO IT!! Residents live for this kind of thing! Oh!...another idea...get some supplies and go and decorate a residents door with them. Put up wrapping paper and bows and maybe hang some Christmas lights. If you have one of those tiny trees help them set it up and decorate it then go back after Christmas and help them take it down. They really need cheer brought into their lives...so please GO and DO! ;)
**Make-up goody plates and deliver them to your friends...but then make a few extra plates to deliver to some unexpected people...ones who may not be getting any visitors or goody plates this year. You can take it in person or knock and run!
**Call your local hospital and find out what kind of help they could use. Other places to think about...your local food bank, schools (you can adopt a classroom and do a fun craft and have treats...that may be all that some of the kids get for the year), fire station, police departments, churches, and other non-profit organizations. The Salvation Army is always looking for volunteers as well.
** And of course ...if all else fails...you can donate to Dollars for Diapers...Woot!
OKAY I WILL STOP...I could go on and on...there is soooooo much good to be done! So many opportunities for us to serve. It does not have to take away from family time because your family can be right there serving with you! The benefits from serving are priceless...in fact I am sure I always get back more than I give. Getting out there and giving will surely make this holiday season one to remember...and who knows...maybe a new tradition will be started that can be looked forward to for many years to come!
If you want to share any of your ideas PLEASE leave a comment. I love hearing new ideas or experiences!