UPDATED for 2023. Gift giving is one of my favorite things to do. So some of my cherished memories of family service ideas are the ones where we created or bought a gift for someone in need. Here are some simple Christmas service projects for families that your whole family can join in and participate together. Bless others as well as your own family with these Christmas community service ideas!
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Simple Christmas Service Projects for Families
When you are raising children it is important to demonstrate giving in visible ways that they can see and experience. And that is what I love about these simple Christmas service project opportunities!
Create an Operation Christmas Child Shoebox as a Family Service Project
Little Red and I LOVE Operation Christmas Child! It is so much fun. Operation Christmas Child is a gift giving opportunity through the humanitarian relief organization Samaritan’s Purse. Operation Christmas Child delivers shoeboxes filled with toys and toiletries around the world to needy children.
Since we have been doing this for many years, we have gotten in the habit of shopping for shoebox items throughout the year. We love to shop after holidays or during seasonal sales.
It is very simple. First you need a shoe box. You can use any shoebox or you may purchase a clear plastic tub from Wal-mart or the dollar store. You may also look online for your local collection center and pick up red and green Operation Christmas Child shoeboxes from them.
Next, decide if you are going to create a shoebox for a boy or girl and for what age group (2-4, 5-9, 10-14).
Shop for Your Operation Child Shoebox
Now comes the fun part, filling your shoebox! Start by purchasing a few toiletries and clothing items. Toothbrushes, bar of soap, washcloth, brush, deodorant , socks, t-shirt, underwear or shoes are all great items to add to your box.
Then pick out some school supplies such as pencils, crayons, pencil sharpener, glue sticks, markers, paint set, and paper! Who doesn’t like new school supplies?
Finally, pick out what is referred to as a “wow” item. Barbie dolls, stuffed animals, flashlight with batteries, balls, jump rope, craft items, trucks or a watch are all great surprises to include in your box!
Once we have purchased all the items needed for our shoeboxes, we love to sit down as a family and “pack” our shoeboxes. If you are on a tight budget you can make one shoebox. But if you are able, you may also choose to make a shoebox for every child in your family. The kids always enjoyed picking out special items for “their” shoebox.
Please do NOT include liquids, toothpaste, candy or chocolate!
You may also include a note with a picture of yourself. We have never heard back from a recipient, but we do know families that have.
Or Build a Shoebox Online
You may now build a shoebox online. Too busy to shop, but want to do this shoebox project as a family. Head over here to build your shoebox online.
Your family can pick out the gifts that will go in your box and build your box virtually. This is also a fun way to include an elderly grandparent that has trouble getting out of the home!
PIN for Later!
Shipping Labels and Dropping Off Your Box
Once your shoebox is packed, it is time to drop off your box locally.
You may include $10 to help with shipping costs for your box. You can simply slip the cash inside your box. Or you may wish to donate online here and print off scanable “Follow Your Box” labels. In a few months, you will receive email notification of where your box went! We have had our boxes go to Africa, South America and other locations! It is always fun to see how far they traveled!
Pro tip: If shipping is hard on your budget you may ask a grandparent if they would like to be a part of your gift giving project by donating the shipping online:)
Once your shoebox is completed it is time to take your gift to a drop off location. Go here to put in your address and find a drop off location near you! Collection Week is November 13th-20th, 2023.
Teen Red and I really look forward to volunteering during Collection Week and meeting families and organizations as they bring in their shoeboxes!
Send a Soldier a Stocking Through Soldier’s Angels as a Service Project
Another opportunity for some Christmas family service projects are available through Soldier’s Angels. Your family can become a Holiday Community Partner and pledge a stocking to a soldier.
Once you pledge your stocking here by November 2nd (or until the need is met), work on collecting items for your stocking! Items such as puzzle books, slim jims, hard candy, hat, gloves, hot chocolate or apple cider packets, notebook and chap stick all make great little gifts to add to the stocking. Read here for a complete list of useful and requested gifts!
Then mail your stocking to the designated address you are given by December 8th!
Soldier’s Angels also has other family service projects ideas! You can create a baked good package, adopt a military family during the holidays, support a caregiver or adopt a soldier while they are deployed. First go here to register as a Soldier’s Angel to be eligible for all these opportunities!
Our family has not done this through Soldier’s Angels but we have sent packages to family or church members that are overseas. And they were always so appreciated!!
Give Gifts to a Child with a Parent in Prison as Christmas Community Service
Prison Fellowship has been around a long time. I remember participating in their Angel Tree Ministry when I was a girl. Through Angel Tree your family and organization can purchase gifts for a family that has a parent in prison. It is a unique opportunity to show love to a family that is going through a really hard time. It also sends the message to the parent in prison that people care about them.
Angel Tree is a bit more involved then the other two holiday charitable projects. But it is a great holiday family service idea that your family can invite your church or local faith-based organization to participate in with them.
Then you will be connected with a family. Once you have reached out to them you can create gift tags listing the family’s needs and sizes. If you are doing this with your church you can hang or post the Angel Tree tags in a prominent area for other families to take so they know what to purchase. Request if you want the gifts returned wrapped or unwrapped.
After the gift items are all returned, you may choose to deliver them or host a Christmas party for the family or families to come and receive their gifts!
Simple Christmas Service Projects for Families
Does your family have a way you enjoy working together and serving your community or those in need? Comment below! I would love to hear about it!