25 ways to give and serve others this Christmas

For Christians, Christmas is a time for celebrating the birth of Jesus.

Jesus came to die on the cross for us as an expression of God’s love for us. God loved us so much that He sent His only son to die for us, for our sins.

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. — John 3:16 (NIV)

Christmas is also known as a time for giving. God showed us how much He loved us by giving to us. He gave up His life for us. He gave us the gift of salvation, of eternal life with Him in heaven, through the ultimate act of selflessness — dying for us through Jesus.

We love because He first loved us. — 1 John 4:19 (NIV)

Let us follow God’s example of love. Let us give what we can to others like God gave to us, let us serve others as Jesus served us, and let God’s love shine through us.

It’s important to give and serve others whenever we can. But while we’re feeling slightly more festive, here are 25 ways we can give and serve others a little bit more this Christmas.

  1. Have Christmas lunch or dinner at your place. If you don’t normally hold festivities at your place, why not organise Christmas lunch or dinner this year? Invite family and/or friends over and prepare the entire meal, saving them time and money during such an expensive and busy time of year. Make sure to tell them not to bring a thing!
  2. Hold a Christmas celebration for family or friends you don’t normally celebrate with. Spread Christmas joy by celebrating with even more family and friends, that you wouldn’t normally celebrate with. It doesn’t have to be on Christmas day or night, it can be anytime during the lead-up to Christmas.
  3. Spring clean your house and donate all unwanted clothes, books, toys, etc. Not only will you be decluttering your house, you’ll also giving to the needy. It’s a win-win.
  4. Make Christmas hampers for people. This can be for family, friends, neighbours, acquaintances, co-workers, anyone. It may be someone you want to give something a bit extra to or someone you know may be in need at this time of the year. Fill it with items that people generally like during Christmas time, whether it may be for a Christmas meal or just a treat. Things like candy canes, biscuits, bread, crackers, wine, pudding, fruit mince pies, bon bons, jam, custard, gourmet oils and vinegars, nut mixes, the list goes on.
  5. Buy from local markets. Fruit, vegetables, clothes, handmade items, or whatever else they sell from local markets. You may even be able to find some Christmas gifts there. Either way, you’ll help provide a bit of extra income to the sellers during the busy season.
  6. Bake Christmas treats for your workplace, school, church or community. Who doesn’t love free homemade treats? Pull out the oven gloves and bake something delicious for the people you see everyday. If you’re not the best baker, you could always buy something for everyone to enjoy… it’s the thought that counts!
  7. Make handmade items for a person or family you know. If you’d rather steer clear of food, why not use your skills to make something special for someone instead? Knit or sew a nice piece of clothing or accessory for someone, paint someone a picture or print out photography you’ve taken for someone, make a candle or soap for someone… the options are as limited as your imagination (and, er, skill set).
  8. Buy a toy or book for a child you know. A niece, a cousin, a friend’s child, a co-worker’s baby, or any other kid you may know. Just the thought of their little faces lighting up should have you running to the nearest toy store.
  9. Volunteer for a cause or help out someone you know. If you can’t afford to spend any extra money this Christmas, spend some time instead. Volunteer for a local charity, church, community event, or just help out someone you know with chores or jobs around the house.
  10. Give money to homeless people. Next time you see someone on the street, give them what you can. Or if you regularly pass homeless people on the street, don’t pass them this time around and give them some much-needed money this Christmas season.

Australian charities

  1. Ask for people to donate to charity instead of buying you presents or vice-versa. Some charities to choose from include The Salvation Army, World Vision AustraliaOxfam Australia, Unicef Australia, CARE Australia, The Smith Family, Caritas Australia, Compassion Australia, to name a few. Choose your own charity or let them decide.
  2. Donate to the Mission Without Borders ‘Operation Christmas Love’. Just $50 will provide a parcel of essential food and Christian literature to the needy in Eastern Europe.
  3. Join the Variety, The Children’s Charity ‘Santa Fun Run’. Dress up like Santa and join the Santa Fun Run, held throughout Australia at the start of December. Join by yourself, with family, friends, or colleagues, and raise money to support kids that are sick, disadvantaged or have special needs.
  4. Buy a present and put it under the Kmart Wishing tree (partnered with The Salvation Army and Mission Australia). Some of you may have noticed the Kmart wishing trees but always ignored it in your hurry to get in or out of the shop. Here’s your chance to give back and buy a gift for a child in need this Christmas.
  5. Take part in The Smith Family’s ‘Toy & Book Appeal’. Buy a new gift online, donate, or register to collect/buy toys and books in your community. Toys and books will go to disadvantaged children this Christmas. There’s currently a shortage of gifts for 9–12 year olds but all gifts are welcome.
  6. Donate to the Australian Red Cross ‘2015 Christmas Appeal. Donate to the 2015 Christmas Appeal to help people in who might be facing homelessness or recovering from a devastating disaster.
  7. Donate to the St Vincent De Paul Society ‘Vinnies Christmas Appeal. Donate money to the Vinnies Christmas appeal and support much-needed assistance to struggling families, providing things such as hampers, play therapy for children, assistance with bills or food.
  8. Volunteer for the MS Australia and Federation Centres ‘MS Gift Wrapping’ in NSW and VIC. Become a volunteer gift wrapper at a Federation Centre and support people affected by multiple sclerosis this Christmas. The best part is that you don’t need experience to become a gift wrapper, everyone is welcome.
  9. Help families this Christmas through Wesley Mission. For every $60 donated, the Wesley Mission can provide a family with a food and gift hamper.
  10. Adopt a pet from the RSPCA. This Christmas, buy your family a gift that keeps on giving. Instead of buying toys or clothes, or possibly a pet from a pet shop, adopt an animal in need and give them a second chance in life.
  11. Hold a wishing tree drive for the Lighthouse Foundation. Hold a wishing tree gift drive in your workplace, school or community, and help support the Lighthouse Foundation in their mission to end youth homelessness.
  12. Donate to the OzHarvest ‘Christmas Lunch Appeal’The money you donate will help hungry individuals and families with lunch on Christmas Day.
  13. Buy a Christmas gift card or hamper from SIDS and Kids. Buy a Christmas gift card or hamper for family, friends or colleagues and support the work of SIDS and Kids. Cards can be bought online at Charity Greeting Cards and hampers can be ordered online from Charity Hampers.
  14. Donate to Barnardos Australia, ‘Barnardos Gifts for Kids’. Donate cash or gifts online to Barnardos Gifts for Kids and help one of the thousands of children around Australia who are suffering from abuse, neglect and homelessness.
  15. Write a letter to a survivor of human trafficking for the A21 Campaign. Although this isn’t specific to Christmas, help brighten up the holiday season for a survivor of human trafficking by writing an encouraging letter.

If you would like to add a Christmas giving opportunity to this list or if you would like to share how you like to give at Christmas time (or any time of the year), feel free to comment below or email contact@thefaithnotebook.com.au.

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