I have Christmas lists running constantly in my mind this time of year and find myself scanning my Amazon cart every evening to see if prices have changed that day. One afternoon, one of my children interrupted my gift-purchasing thoughts with, “What does Jesus want for Christmas?”
Just before that I had read an idea in my wonderful Advent/ Christmas planner to hang a Christmas stocking for Jesus along with the rest of the children’s and fill it with gifts for the poor. Whatever you do for the least of these, you do for me.
We’d already done our stockings on St. Nick’s Day, but we just may add that to the traditions list next year. Here are few more easy, last-minute ideas for giving beyond the pile beneath your own Christmas tree.
1. After you bake Christmas cookies, take a small plate to an elderly neighbor.
2. Have your kids choose a gift from the Samaritans’ Purse catalog, such as a flock of hens or a milking goat to a family in a developing country. (This would be a great project to do on the feast day of St. Francis Xavier, patron of foreign missions, but that was on Dec 3 and long past 🙂 ).
3. Fill paper sacks with a few packets of hot chocolate mix and a couple candy canes and deliver them to a shelter for women and children. (Our co-op did this one this month, and I still need to make the delivery.)
4. If your parish has a prison ministry, perhaps they could also use some hot chocolate/ candy cane sacks.
5. If your parish has an Angel tree, choose a child the same age as your child, so they can pick a good gift! My boys like to pick out a Lego set to give for this every year, and this year one of them offered to pay for it with his own money. The gifts are due next week, but thanks to Amazon Prime we’ll still make it.
6. Have your kids pick out some mittens and hats the next time you go to Target or the Dollar Store, and drop them off at a local shelter or street ministry.
7. The works of mercy include caring for the resting places of the faithful departed. Buy an extra Christmas wreath and donate it to a local cemetery. Tomorrow, military cemeteries around the country are hosting wreath-laying ceremonies. Anyone can come and help lay the wreaths!
And that makes 7, so I’m linking up with the exciting, inspiring, and hilarious new host of 7 quick takes, Kelly.