Serving as a Family in the Season of Giving

There are plenty of things I have mom-guilt over: I’m not volunteering in the classroom this year, it’s been years since I’ve made each kid their annual scrapbook, and our youngest got two cavities because we let him brush his teeth independently (#thirdchild). But one of the things I’m most proud of as a mom is that our kids think it’s normal to give and serve others, at Christmas and year-round. There are ample opportunities no matter where you live, to jump in and give to a person or family in need. This holiday season is the “season of giving” and is the perfect time to get the kids involved in service.


Over the years, we’ve shopped and sent shoeboxes to children across the world through Operation Christmas Child. Our kids felt a special connection to their sponsored child as they walked through Target, choosing specific toys and clothes to pack into the shoebox. National collection week is mid-November, but visit the website for online purchases or to find a local processing center. 

Angel Tree, a program within Prison Fellowship, is a ministry that provides gifts to children on behalf of their imprisoned parents. Over 2.7 million children in the United States have an imprisoned parent, and Angel Tree is one way to share love and hope in a tangible way during the holiday season.  

If you are looking for a military-affiliated agency, check out Soldiers’ Angels, who provide opportunities for sponsorship of veterans, military families, and deployed service members.

Have you seen the cardboard boxes at local businesses collecting toys for tots? Taking your kids along to shop and drop off a new, unwrapped toy in any box labeled Marine Toys for Tots is one of the easiest ways to start a discussion with your kids about giving to others who might not have as much to open on Christmas morning.

Shopping online more your style? Now you and your family can serve communities in need from the comfort of your couch. Have your kids gather around the World Vision online gift catalog, and choose from goats, chickens, ducks, soccer balls, medicine and more. Technology is an amazing tool when it comes to connecting givers and those in need.


Local churches and community organizations offer many opportunities to sponsor families in need during the holiday season. All you have to do is a quick Google search to find a community agency or check with your local church.

Buying gifts for an entire family is, admittedly, one of the bigger financial commitments you could make during the season, but is there anything more rewarding this time of year?

The need is there, and sponsoring a family is one of the coolest, most memorable things we’ve done as a family.

We each had a family member to shop for, and our family spent such meaningful time together loading up the cart, scouring Amazon to find the perfect gift, wrapping a ton of presents and delivering to the agency. Our kids were absolutely giddy thinking about how surprised the sponsored family would be on Christmas.


Don’t forget those extra acts of generosity that go a long way and can mean so much to others:

  • Leaving a note and cookies for the mailman
  • Visiting a nursing home (bring a group of kids to sing or play instruments)
  • Pay for the person in front of you in the coffee drive thru line
  • Ringing the bell for the Salvation Army
  • Assemble a “dinner in a box” for a friend who could use a lift. This links to “breakfast in a box” but sub in dry pasta, jarred marinara, a wedge of parmesan, bottle of wine….you get the idea.

Giving and serving can certainly become a wonderful lifelong habit, and what better time to introduce this concept to our children than during the holiday season.