By: Brittney Baily

Christmas time is here!! It’s truly magical as you see, hear, and experience some of the very best in others.

Such as THIS man who grew up very poor, but is now fortunate enough to spread Christmas joy with $12,000 in toys for children in his old neighborhood!

In the darkness of cold, crisp winter nights, the glow of Christmas lights brings an unexplained joy to my heart! I know I’m not alone, and I probably wasn’t alone when I was listening to Christmas music around Halloween! 😉

Black Friday totals are in from the 2019 shopping weekend and it’s toppling over $7.6 BILLION. Billion with a “B”. That’s a lot of shopping for LOTS of presents! Christmas lists are tough because you want to make sure it’s NOT about the gifts……but….. isn’t it the BEST feeling when you give that one surprise present and there’s shock, delight, excitement, and happy dances in the living room?

I firmly believe that if I took a 23& Me test I would be a distant relative to Mrs. Claus. I LOVE buying gifts and it’s not just at Christmas time. All year round, I stockpile gifts and have a supply on the ready. My husband is very understanding, but I’m also very good at hiding them. 😉

This year I decided I wasn’t going hog wild, AND I wasn’t buying anything that would be donated to Goodwill within the year, or anything that I was going to spend too long picking up. (I’m looking at you “indoor play sand”…. created by the father of ALL evil gifts.)

We’re creating our own family traditions that continue throughout the year. If you’re thinking of unique ways to create memories, begin traditions, and instill incredible life lessons:

  • Become an Elf for an Elder in your community
  • Adopt a family through Salvation Army 
  • Donate a shoebox full of gifts for needy children around the world
  • Visit local nursing homes and ask the volunteer coordinators if there are particular games, crafts, or stories you can share with residents. Keep in mind that if you’re interested in handing anything out there are limitations on food and candy, but they are very welcoming of little handmade crafts or small gifts.
  • Volunteer at a local Food Bank. There are hungry people EVERY DAY. Not just at Christmas time, so if you choose to visit and participate check and see if this is something your family can do on a regular basis.
  • Together create a giving pile of gently used toys, clothes, or bikes that are no longer used and donate them to a local Foster Closet so new foster families can feel supported and ready as their family grows!
  • Donate to Toys for Tots
  • Be secret in your giving! Pay for the coffee in front of you, buy someone their groceries if your budget allows, or pick up someone’s check at a restaurant!
  • Finally, there are lots of ways to make this season so special that won’t cost you a penny! Your TIME is the most valuable gift you can give someone else. Call your grandparent, shovel someone’s driveway, or leave sweet notes for your loved ones. Little ways of expressing your love will make a huge impact on their holiday, and YOURS!

May we remember that it was God’s Love for US that brought Christ to Earth as a baby on that first Christmas, and it’s His Love we share every Christmas after!

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