What does Christmas means to you?

 God prepared the world for Jesus and he will prepare your heart to celebrate this Christmas in a new and lasting way! In the days leading up to Christmas and between Christmas and New Year, churches come alive almost daily with singing of carols, Christmas Plays, several worship services, so much more!

One the life changing memories of Christmas that I have when I was younger with my family, staying on a remote Island, off one of the main islands in Tonga, Christmas was not at all like I was use too! No big shopping malls, no takeaway shops, no Christmas movies on every night on tv (as their was no tv on the island) and no Christmas Parties. There was no pine trees, so many trees around the community are decorated with balloons, candy and paper chains. I woke on Christmas day disappointed to see there was no Christmas Presents ‘left from Santa’ and no opening of Gifts that year. My brothers and I did not understand why didn’t we get our standard gifts till our Grandfather sat us down and told us the real meaning of Christmas. And that Christmas we started a tradition of buying and sharing gifts for others especially the community kids.

In Tonga, Christmas was all about family, food and church. The only form of gift-giving is when some families exchange food, so families will enjoy several different meals throughout the day. It can be a nice break from consumerism and be a reminder of the things that matter. Since that year and being 7years old, sharing Gods present of Jesus with others becomes a wonderful instilled memory that brings us always back to Jesus!

I encourage us to get our young people, family excited with offering a fresh way to prepare for Christmas. Have you ever made someone’s day and seen their face light up? Some of the most important Christmas gifts can’t be wrapped—like giving of your time and helping fill someone’s heart with joy. A few ideas that creative and simple ways to spread the true spirit of Christmas and share the warmth you have at home with others. These random acts of kindness may take just minutes to do, but the memory of helping others will stay with you (and those you help) for so much longer.

  1. Buy a coffee for the person behind you in line. What could be better than a surprise of free caffeine?
  2. Donate to a toy drive. The holidays can be an especially hard time for struggling families. Connect with your and make a child’s Christmas dreams come true.
  3. Donate Clothes to a local shelter.
  4. Make a batch of Christmas treats and bring them to the office class room for everyone to share.
  5. Send a postcard to sick children in the hospital. You can send mail to 
  6. Give you children’s teachers a gift. Take a few minutes to give them a small gift of appreciation for everything they do for your kids, be it a $5 gift card for coffee or a signed card from your kiddo (or both!)
  7. Find opportunities to give compliments. Compliments are free and take no time to deliver!
  8. Sing an employee’s praises to a manager or on a comment card. Did an employee help make your experience better? A little recognition goes a long way.
  9. Put sticky notes with positive messages in public places.
  10. Sing Christmas Carols, play board games, or just visit with senior citizens at a nursing home.
  11. Offer to babysit for new parents. Give the gift of time and take care of their little ones so the new parents can enjoy a date night or take care of holiday shopping.
  12. Purchase extra dog or cat food and drop it off at an animal shelter. While you’re picking up food for Fido, buy an extra bag for those animals who are waiting for their forever homes this season.
  13. Donate clean, new socks and underwear to a local shelter or local congregation that may be helping an orgainsation?
  14. Offer to take someone’s group photo. It’s the holidays and many people are out celebrating together or sightseeing. See a group that’s struggling to get everyone in one selfie? Lend a hand.
  15. Donate coloring books and boxes of crayons to the pediatric wing of a local hospital.
  16. Give a hot drink to the person that has been using their gifts and skills in your context! Show those volunteers some love.
  17. Start your own tradition! In what ways can we assist the community?!
  18. Serve meals at a local homeless shelter or soup kitchen. And consider signing up for a shift in January or February, after the holiday volunteer rush is over.
  19. When you’re in line at the grocery store, buy a gift card and hand it to the person checking out behind you. If you want to be more anonymous, give the gift card to the cashier and ask them to give it to someone in line who needs it.
  20. Participate in a blood drive. Visit the Red Cross to find a blood drive nearest you and help give the gift of life.

These acts of kindness don’t need to be big. A simple act that shows you care and wanting others around to experience the glimpse of Hope that Christ reminds us especially when we celebrate Christmas.

Remember you can keep in touch with PULSE by signing up for our monthly newsletter, or for further information contact our team via email, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, or TikTok.

Joyce Tangi is the Children’s/Family Ministry Lead and Field Officer (South) within the PULSE team.

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