Kindness, charity, and extending good will to others well defines what it means to participate in the Santa Helper’s Project. You do not need to worry about registrations or assembling a group to participate. This project occurs when families, friends, or individuals actively step into the role of spreading happiness and cheer during the Christmas season; perhaps a few of the following suggestions will speak to you in a meaningful way.
Spontaneous Acts of Kindness: The best moments of kindness often occur without planning. They involve reaching an item from a tall shelf or waiting for an extended period of time to hold a door open; and what about leaving a box of donuts in your work room, or a cup of coffee on a colleague’s desk? Ask your children how they, too, can engage in an act of generosity by being kind and thoughtful. These wonderful moments will be remembered and mimicked in positive ways in future days and years.
Writing Letters: Christmas is a time of year to offer gratitude to people who provide a service throughout the year, such as a mailman, garbage man, librarian, barber or hairdresser. One group you may not consider is our service members. It would be a welcomed gift to receive a letter from a stranger offering thanks, and wishing him or her safety. The following website, www.operationwearehere.com/IdeasforSoldiersCardsLetters.html, can help you find the right organization to which to send your letter, and perhaps a small care package.
Volunteering: While donations of food, clothing, and gifts are needed during the holiday season, please consider donating your time through the act of volunteering. Based on your interests, there are numerous organizations, from shelters to a food bank, a local animal rescue agency or shelter, a hospital or nursing home, and those forming at your place of employment and church. This Christmas gift is not necessarily intended to be a short-term offer of service, but a starting point.
A Handmade Angel Gift: Think of how you can brighten a neighbor’s day. Baking a pie or leaving groceries at the door are possible suggestions. You could also gather a few recycled items and design a Christmas angel. Please leave a card, whether it is signed or unsigned, too, with a Christmas greeting and well wishes. (Children and grandchildren would love to participate in helping.)
Charity: Thinking inside the box, you may provide a charitable donation to a few organizations; however, also think outside about the organizations in our community, such as our fire stations, police forces, food banks, public libraries and schools, the Ronald McDonald House, Hospice, and our local hospitals, including Brenner Children’s hospital. While these organizations appreciate monetary donations, find out if they are also having a drive to benefit a particular cause.
Donations of Books, Food, and Clothing: Use this time of the year to gather books in good condition, and donate them to a children’s center, shelter, elementary school, or local library. You can also donate clothing and shoes to Big Brothers and Big Sisters, which has a donation pick-up service.
Giving is rarely one-sided. You may discover helping others not only gives you a good feeling, but connects you with something larger. Perhaps this project may provide an ongoing opportunity to volunteer, or connect you with a new friend. If the Santa’s helper project has been a positive experience, it doesn’t have to end. Paying good will forward is a beautiful, life-long endeavor. Merry Christmas!