Christmas is a time of year that is filled with magic and wonder for children. In today’s social makeup, it is very easy for our children to get distracted by the sights and sounds of shiny toys seen on display in every store and what seems like every third commercial on television programming. Our consumer based society seems to encourage greed around every corner.
One of my favorite ways to remind children that Jesus is the reason for the season is by focusing on kindness and service during Advent. Although kindness and service are equally important throughout the year, the lessons received from these acts seem to become particularly meaningful in December when our children are surrounded by constant temptation.
They get the “I wants” and the majority of their conversation surrounds the loot they might find under the tree, all the while losing focus on what really matters. Jesus came to teach us all how to love and take care of each other. These 24 small acts of kindness for Advent will help your children remember that Christmas is a time for bestowing kindness to others. There is no better way to honor the gift God gave us when He gave up His own Son for our salvation.
Service during Advent is a wonderful way to walk intentionally as we walk through the busy holiday season. The intention of Advent is to interrupt our schedules and make time to prepare and calm our hearts for the true meaning of Christmas and help those in need.
Teaching your child about the ADVENTure of services during Advent can be incredibly rewarding. It is easy for a child to lose sight of Jesus in the midst of distractions that the holidays bring. They can be consumed by what toys to add to their Christmas list, wrapping gifts, and more than that they forget about Jesus’ birth.
Leading up to Christmas, we can incorporate teachings and taking time to serve others while creating wonderful family traditions. We can capture the true meaning of this season and celebrate Christmas in a big way.
Advent is not meant to add a burden to your lives. It is meant to consciously be aware of living out how Jesus came to serve others rather than being served (Mark 10:45). Schedule in some time to create activities that your child can help serve others and learn about giving back and helping others.
The Adventure of Christmas: Helping Children Find Jesus in Our Holiday TraditionsUnwrapping the Greatest Gift: A Family Celebration of ChristmasWe Light the Candles: Devotions Related to Family Use of the Advent WreathAdvent StorybookJotham’s Journey: A Storybook for Advent24 Christmas Stories to Welcome JesusHumphrey’s First Christmas
Try to make deliberate choices to bless others. Sit down with your child and let them help pick out ways to serve others. Blessing others needs to be a deliberate choice and requires a servant’s attitude. Teach your child that it is a reflection of God’s kindness to us. Developing a servant’s heart points to Christ.
Taking the time to make time during your busy schedule to give back during the holidays is a beautiful thing and very rewarding. I love making time to give back to others and create projects that help people in our community. Below are some ideas of ADVENTures of service you might consider doing this season.
Nursing Homes| Spending time with folks in their twilight years and listening to stories is the best gift many of them will ever receive. Create Christmas cards and present them to help brighten their day.
Homeless Shelter| If you live near a homeless shelter, consider volunteering and cook and serve meals to those who need it.
Salvation Army| Be a bell ringer by donating a little bit of your time. These are volunteers who are standing in sometimes frigid temperatures to make a difference to those in need. Talk to your local church to sign up for this.
Donate| Look through your clothes, food in your pantry, and anything else you may not be using and donate. Give to your local church or food bank to help out.
Sponsor A Family| Whether it be an angel tree or just a donation, sponsor a family. This is a great way to help out a family with a holiday meal, Christmas gifts like winter coats, clothes, toys and so forth. If there isn’t an angel tree near you, check out The Box Project.
You can find so many ways to take time to help someone else in need. By taking the time to take a break from our busy schedules to give to others, you will be amazed how rewarding it is!
Create A List
Make a list of gifts and services your child wants to offer. I think it is a good idea to offer examples and then let your child sit down and help come up with what they want to do to serve others.
1. Choose a toy (or three) to donate to a children’s hospital or homeless shelter.
2. Create pretty notes to leave in random places to brighten someone’s day. Something as simple as “Just remember, Jesus loves you!” or “You are important!” might be what someone needs to see.
3. Tell someone you love them and tell them why.
4. Do some yard work for a neighbor.
5. Eat lunch with someone who looks lonely or sad.
6. Create cards for military members and others and send them out through an organization like Caring Kids Cards.
7. Read to someone who can’t. If your child can’t read yet, make up a creative story to tell them. This works especially well at a retirement home or veteran’s home.
8. Give cookies or a candy bar to your bus driver.
9. Share a favorite book with someone.
10. Pick up trash in your neighborhood or in the park. Be sure to have an adult with you and to wear gloves.
11. Surprise your class with cookies or candy treats.
12. Smile and compliment people randomly throughout the day.
13. Help bake and deliver cookies and other treats for police officers or fire fighters.
14. Do a chore for someone in your family.
15. Help someone at the grocery store by helping to unload their groceries (ask permission first!) or taking their cart back to the cart corral.
16. Let someone else take your place in the lunch line or during an activity (even if you’re homeschooled).
17. Surprise your teacher (or leader if homeschooled) with a small treat and a thank you card.
18. Prepare a meal for your family.
19. Walk a neighbor’s dog or do another small chore of their choice.
20. Tell someone you love them and tell them a joke to make them smile.
21. Offer to take out your neighbor’s trash or bring their garbage cans back from the curb.
22. Help a friend or sibling with their schoolwork.
23. Take an extra treat for lunch and share it with a friend. If you are homeschooled, take a treat to a friend at an activity.
24. Help your school teacher or Sunday School teacher clean up after class
25. Sign carols at a nursing home or read books. This is also a great suggestion if you have a Veterans home near you.
26. Pick a child on an angel tree.
27. Be a bell ringer for Salvation Army.
28. Let your kids create a handmade gift for neighbors
29. Pack a box for Operation Shoebox.
30. Clean up your local park or neighborhood of trash.
31. Donate school supplies to your local school.
32. Make bookmarks and give to the local library.
Although these 24 Small Acts of Kindness for Advent are geared toward children, they can easily work for adults. The more we share the gift of kindness with each other, the more we spread God’s Love out into the world – not just at Christmas, but all year-long.
I put together a calendar for you to use throughout Advent that reminds you to do a Random Act of Kindness each day! 🙂 Get it here.