Four Ways to Shake Up Your Christmas Routine and Bless Others

12/20/12

At Christmas, as we celebrate Jesus’ birth, most of us take time to be with our loved ones and give gifts to those who are close to us. But it also can be fun to add some Christmas activities that bring blessings to others. Here are four ways to shake up your Christmas routine and bless children in need!

 
1. Find alternative ways to shop!
Flood Church in San Diego, a longtime Children of the Nations (COTN) partner, just wrapped up their annual Christmas Concert and Shoppe. With good music, an array of gifts available for purchase, and a great atmosphere, the event provides a wonderful alternative to the usual hectic Christmas shopping experience. And all the proceeds benefit nonprofits like COTN. “It’s an inspiration for people to make conscientious decisions when Christmas shopping,” says Flood’s impact administrator, Emily Hawkes. She says the shop helps people discover “the power of using their money for a good cause.”
Even if you don’t have an event like this in your neighborhood, there are plenty of opportunities to give gifts that will bless others this Christmas. Check out COTN’s Gift Catalog for more than 40 gift ideas. Or, do your shopping through a nonprofit like One Purse (onepurse.org) or Market Colors (marketcolors.org). When you buy a purse, handbag, or other items made by African artisans, a portion of the proceeds go to organizations like COTN.
 
2. Get crafty!
For a second year in a row, Heidi Hearn—a former volunteer who is now launching COTN’s Boston area office—and her family are making more than 200 “lolly crops.” Made by pouring cinnamon-flavored candy into flower-shaped molds, these lollipops have a very special purpose: the Hearns use the money they make to buy seeds from COTN’s Gift Catalog. They dress the lolly crops in cellophane and decorate them with a tag that introduces COTN. The family sells the suckers for a dollar apiece through venues like their school fair. “It feels really tangible for the children,” says Heidi. The family also uses the lolly crops as gifts for teachers and makes a donation in their honor toward seeds.
Other families have baked and sold Christmas cookies to raise money for COTN’s programs. Get creative with your family to help children this Christmas!
 
3. Turn giving into a game!
The Good News club of Washington Elementary School in Valparaiso, Indiana, played games to raise money to purchase items from COTN’s Gift Catalog this year. The club members were invited to participate in a series of three challenges, including wearing promotional T-shirts the day of a club event, inviting friends to a school event, and memorizing Bible verses. For each completed challenge, a sponsor committed to give a specific amount toward the Gift Catalog purchases. The club has a long-standing history in the community and Jill Woodsmall, leader of the club, had no problem finding people willing to donate to the cause. The club ended up with $200, which they used to purchase an animal, underwear, and a medical checkup.  “You could tell there were prayer warriors behind this,” says Jill.
Other partners invited friends to a game night and asked them to donate $25 at the door. The money they raised will go toward COTN’s University Program. Come up with a creative game idea of your own to help children in need!
 
4. Add a new member to your family!
There are many children in COTN’s programs who need sponsors.  For $32 a month, you can transform a child’s life. In addition to ensuring a child receives nutrition, medical attention, and an education, sponsorship provides both sponsor and child with the opportunity for a relationship through letter writing and in-country visits. This Christmas, add a new member to your family and start a relationship that will change a child’s life—and yours!