How to Be Generous in December (when you don't have a lot to give)
Do not neglect to do good and to share what you have, for such sacrifices are pleasing to God. Hebrews 13:16
This month we are praying that our kids would be generous. December is such a perfect time to talk about how God calls us to share what we have and to make sacrifices for others. Yet, it also seems to be the time of year that we are most strapped for cash!
Modeling generosity and helping our kids find a love for gift giving and sharing doesn't have to break the bank! Here are a few free or nearly free ideas that I have borrowed from friends over the years and would love to share with you!
About four years ago, I stumbled across Courtney DeFeo's amazing blog she calls Light 'Em Up. It is full of ideas for helping kids spread Jesus' light at Christmastime. There are cute printables and hundreds of ideas. I show my kids this video every year because it has so many fun ideas and shows real kids serving others. This gets us pumped out and excited to light up our world.
7 Nearly Free Ways to Show Generosity this Christmas
1- Poster Thank You: One year my kids decorated a huge poster and taped it on our trash cans for the trash collectors to see. It said "Thank you for all you do," "Merry Christmas," and "We appreciate you." Luckily, we were home when the trash truck pulled up and my kids also got to run out and give the drivers a few cupcakes we had made! You can also make a thank you poster and put it on a neighbor's door or front porch.
2- Donate: This year, my kids each picked out a few things from their rooms that they don't play with anymore, but that they know another friend would love. They wrapped the gifts themselves and now they are extra excited for Christmas to come so that they can give away these gifts. This works for grown-ups too! It's perfectly ok to regift if you were given a gift that you know someone else would just love and appreciate even more than you do! Or, do you have something you no longer need that someone else would just love? There is no shame in wrapping it up and letting them know you were thinking of them!
3- Blessing Bags- These can get pricey if you are making a bunch. If money is tight, try making just a few. (That is what we are doing this year!) Head to the dollar store and buy a few warm items like a soft blanket, a pair of socks, mittens, and a granola bar. (All that for only four dollars!) Add a handwritten note and give to someone in need. Write down their name and make sure to pray for that person together as a family. This activity has transformed our hearts and brought our family together more than any other tradition we've ever done. We thought about skipping it this year, but our kids wouldn't let us! You can read all about how to do it here.
4- Video Christmas Cards- Make a little video as a family letting someone know how much you love them. You can pray as a family about who might need a little encouragement and then send a little video their way. This is totally free and makes friends and family feel so loved! This is a great way to teach kids to be generous with their time and with their encouragement.
5- The Gift of Coffee or Hot Cocoa- Next time you are driving through a fast food restaurant or a Starbucks, grab an extra cup of coffee or hot cocoa. As you drive, pray that God would show you just the perfect person to give it to. Give it to a cold parking attendant or someone outside that looks like they might need some warmth.
6- The Gift of Service- Ask a neighbor if you can take their trash out or pull their trash cans out. Clean a neighbor's car. Sweep a front lawn. We will be sharing more ideas for serving as a family soon!
7- Christmas Love Notes- Buy a big pack of candy canes or another bulk treat. Tape them to encouraging notes and keep a big stash in your car. Hand them out to store workers, teachers, friends, church staff members, your kids' doctor, etc, etc. Here are some free Christmas printables! You can also write specific notes telling the recipient why they are special.