Originally posted Dec 8th, 2008
"God loves a cheerful giver," are words spoken often in our house. i think it is important to cultivate a spirit of giving in our children, and in each other.
typically when one thinks of giving they immediately consider their wallets, but in all honesty our wallets are pretty bare. because of this we have looked for creative ways to give over the years. i hope that regardless of how empty or full our wallets are we will always seek creative ways to give.
a creative way to give to the community:
free hot chocolate stand- for 5 years we have served free hot chocolate to our community. first, we get permission from a local small business, and use of an outlet. next, we set up a table complete with 2 large coffee pots (we borrow these from our church) filled with hot chocolate (enough for 160 cups), toppings of whipped cream, and marshmallows, and add a candy cane. then, we put the kids to work, inviting passers by to receive their free hot chocolate.for an individual or family:
the 12 days of christmas- we have had the opportunity over the years to surprise families in need of christmas blessings on the 12 days before christmas.
first, choose a family that needs to blessed! may be a family new to the community, a family facing financial difficulty, or a family struggling with health. there are many who need a bit of light to shine on them and their circumstances. many who need tangible love from their community (or even strangers) poured on them.
next, find 12 families (including yourself) to be gift givers for the 12 days leading up to christmas. assign a day to each family, give a gift tag to accompany their gift, and directions to the recipients house.
then, deliver gifts! gift deliveries are top secret. deliver early a.m. or in the p.m., be creative in your deliveries, send someone dressed as santa, or in camouflage. this is the one time a year it is okay to doorbell ditch (accept don't ring the doorbell)! finally, with the last gift delivered on christmas, send a card with everyone's names, wishing them a very merry christmas! this years gift tags have a #1-12 on one side, with this saying on the other. for family:
with as many as 7 families filling the jones house, and a grand total of 23 family members, well, that is a lot of gifts! we decided to get creative to find a way to blesss family members. how do we do it? breakfast in bed!
on christmas eve. morning families are served breakfast in bed. the night before we leave a door hanger on each door (just as you would find in a hotel), asking family members to tell us the time they'd like their meal delivered, beverage choices, and other special instructions.
on christmas eve. morning we wake early and get to work. michael does most of the cooking, while i serve as assistant. we ready the meal, ready the trays, add a special note accompanied by the christmas story of jesus' birth, then deliver the breakfast trays.