Resources › For Educators 11 Ways to Serve Others This Christmas Share Flipboard Email Print Steve Debenport / Getty Images For Educators Homeschooling Spelling Geography Becoming A Teacher Assessments & Tests Elementary Education Secondary Education Special Education Teaching By Kris Bales Education Expert Kris Bales is a long-time homeschool parent. Since 2009 she has reviewed homeschool curricula for providers like Alpha Omega, Apologia, and All About Learning Press. our editorial process Facebook Facebook Kris Bales Updated August 09, 2019 Christmas is the season of giving; since our schedules offer so much flexibility, homeschooling families often have the availability to give back to their community during the holiday season. If you and your family have been considering service opportunities, try any of these 11 ways to serve others this Christmas. Serve Meals at a Soup Kitchen Call your local soup kitchen or homeless shelter to schedule a time to go serve meals. You might also inquire if they are low on any specific supply needs. This time of year many organizations host food drives, so their pantry may be full, but there may be other items that need to be restocked such as bandages, blankets, or personal hygiene items. Sing Carols at a Nursing Home Gather your family and a few friends to go sing Christmas carols at a nursing home. Ask if it’s okay to bring baked goods or wrapped candy to share with the residents. Spend some time before you go making homemade Christmas homemade cards to deliver or buy a box of assorted cards to share. Sometimes nursing homes are overwhelmed with groups that want to visit during the holiday season, so you may want to see if there are other ways that you can help or better times to visit. Adopt Someone Choose a child, grandparent, single mom, or family who is struggling this year and purchase gifts or groceries or deliver a meal. If you don’t know someone personally, you can ask local agencies and organizations that work with needy families. Pay Someone’s Utility Bill Inquire at the utility company to see if you can pay the electric, gas, or water bill for someone who is struggling. Due to privacy factors, you may not be able to pay a specific bill, but there is often a fund to which you can donate. You might also check with the Department of Family and Children’s Services. Bake a Meal or Treats for Someone Leave a little snack bag in the mailbox with a note for your mail carrier, or put a basket of snacks, soft drinks, and bottled water on the porch with a note inviting delivery people to help themselves. That’s sure to be a greatly appreciated gesture during the busy holiday season You can also call your local hospital and see if you could deliver a meal or snacks and drinks to the ICU waiting room or hospitality room for the families of patients. Leave a Generous Tip for Your Server at Restaurants We sometimes hear of people leaving a tip of $100 or even $1000 or more. That’s fantastic if you can afford to do that, but just tipping above the traditional 15-20% can be greatly appreciated during the holiday season. Donate to the Bell Ringers The men and women ringing bells in front of stores are often recipients of the services offered by the organization for whom they’re collecting. The donations are typically used to operate homeless shelters and after-school and substance abuse programs and to provide meals and toys to needy families at Christmas. Help the Homeless Consider making bags to give out to homeless people. Fill a gallon-size storage bag with items such as gloves, a beanie, small juice boxes or water bottles, non-perishable ready-to-eat food items, lip balm, facial tissues, restaurant gifts cards, or prepaid phone cards. You might also consider giving blankets or a sleeping bag. Perhaps an even better way to help the homeless community is to contact an organization that works directly with the homeless and find out what they need. Often, these organizations can stretch monetary donations farther by purchasing in bulk or working with complementary organizations. Do Housework or Yard Work for Someone Rake leaves, shovel snow, clean house, or do laundry for someone who could use the extra help. You might consider a sick or elderly neighbor or a new or single parent. Obviously, you’ll have to make arrangements to do housework, but yard work can be done as a complete surprise. Take a Hot Beverage to People Working in the Cold Police officers directing traffic, mail carriers, bell ringers, or anyone else working out in the cold this Christmas season will appreciate a cup of hot cocoa, coffee, tea, or cider. Even if they don’t drink it, they’ll enjoy using it as a hand warmer for a little while. Pay for Someone’s Meal at a Restaurant Paying for someone’s meal in a restaurant or the car behind you in the drive-thru is a fun random act of kindness any of time of year, but it’s often especially appreciated at Christmas when money is tight for many families. Whether you're investing your time, your financial resources, or both to serve others this holiday season, you'll likely find that it's you and your family who are blessed by serving others.