Every year, around this time, I start thinking about Christmas.
It isn't just because it's blazing hot and humid outside and I'm wishing for cuddly sweater days and hot chocolate.... mmmmm.... sweater days and hot chocolate.....
Oh, uh--no. That's not why I start thinking about Christmas at the beginning of summer. It's because, every year, my (incredible) in-laws ask for their children and grandchildren to do a service project as their Christmas gift to them. In an effort to make it something truly meaningful, both for them and for us, I need to get the wheels turning about 6 months beforehand.
I want it to be something worthwhile, but do-able. Do-able gets trickier when you want to involve your three tiny kids, which I do. I want them to remember the experience and how they felt. I want it to be a true service--something needful--that hopefully will bless people in our community.
I'm on the hunt for this year's project, but in the meantime, definitely finding lots of great ideas. Would you like to get into the spirit of Christmas, with us? Here are a few of my favorite volunteer websites:
http://www.volunteermatch.org/ "Where volunteering begins..."
I love VolunteerMatch because you can put in your zip code, and search for opportunities close by. You can choose to see service opportunities for groups, teens, kids, families, or by type of opportunity--education, special needs, elderly, women and children, etc. This is where you can go to sign up to help with Special Olympics, volunteer for an Avon or Komen cancer walk, or even find volunteer opportunities that you can do from your home.
http://www.colorasmile.org/ "Our goal is to make people smile..."
I love this one, because it's PERFECT for kids. You have your kids color a drawing and write their name and age on the front, then send it in and they distribute these pictures to rest homes, shut-ins, and care facilities. They have coloring pages you can print out, or let your kids use their imaginations. Easy!!
http://www.doonenicething.com/ "Every Monday do at least one nice thing for someone..."
This is a brilliant idea. Every Monday, they post something for you to do that day, or just take on the challenge and do an extra service for someone that day. If everyone in the world were looking to serve someone on Monday instead of thinking about themselves, how different would this world be???