17 Christmas Family Service Ideas for 2021

It’s been a tough year for many people, both financially and emotionally. With the 2021 holiday season upon us, there is hope we can give to those in need. Spoonful of Comfort was created to send loved ones a warm hug from far away, but we shouldn’t forget that we can also reach out to those nearby

We’ve created a list of 17 Christmas family service ideas for getting out there and spreading good cheer, as well as some suggestions on how to encourage your friends and family to make providing service a habit all year round. For starters, check out some of the many benefits that can come from serving others.

The Many Benefits of Serving During the Holiday Season

When deciding on a Christmas family service idea, remember that whether you are the giver or receiver of a good deed, there’s no denying its positive impact. A simple smile and a bowl full of warm soup can make a big difference in somebody’s day; a helping hand can lift a person out of a stressful situation, and finding a trustworthy friend is a wonderful benefit for someone in need. 

While we provide service with the hopes of making someone’s day, we are often the ones who benefit the most. Serving others can bring new opportunities and experiences, and it forces us to look outside ourselves and make friends from all walks of life. Keep these benefits in mind when you might feel a little awkward stepping out of your comfort zone to care for someone else. 

2021’s List of Christmas Family Service Ideas

There are hundreds of things you can do to help others, but here are 17 simple Christmas family service ideas that will get everyone in the spirit of the season.

  1. Deliver cookies. Make your favorite homemade cookies, or send store-bought treats to brighten anyone’s evening.
  2. Mail cards to military service members. Many servicemen and women don’t receive much for Christmas while stationed overseas, so send them a card to thank them for their service.
  3. Leave a $20 bill. One fun family Christmas Eve service idea is to drive to the parking lot of a discount store on Christmas Eve and place some cash (in any amount) on a car windshield. Chances are, the car’s owner could really use it. Another option is to drop some bills in an unsuspecting person's shopping cart when they’re not looking. 
  4. Help someone put up a Christmas tree. Many people don’t have the time or ability to set up and decorate their own evergreen, so pitch in and do it for them.
  5. Do a secret service in your own home. There’s no need to look outside the house for service ideas when there’s likely plenty of need at your own home.
  6. Adopt a grandparent. Visit an elderly adult care center and spend a few hours getting to know someone special. 
  7. Donate a winter coat or two. Many organizations have warm coats at the top of their “needs” list, so help them check it off before it gets too cold.
  8. Foster a pet. Plenty of pets need a safe, temporary place to live while convalescing or waiting to be adopted by a forever family.
  9. Buy a tank of gas. It seems like a small gesture, but maybe some fuel will help someone get to work or visit their loved ones for the holidays. 
  10. Ask to babysit. You could be a real help to a parent who needs to work, shop for Christmas presents, or simply needs a well-deserved break. 
  11. Give a generous tip. Whether for your package delivery person, hairstylist, food service member, or lobby greeter, ’tis the season for tipping more than usual. 
  12. Throw a “collection” theme party. When inviting others to family or neighborhood parties, include a caveat about bringing a canned food item, new socks, or a new toy for a collection drive. 
  13. Sponsor a newly immigrated family. For some, this may be their very first Christmas in their new country, so make them feel welcome with the items (and friendships) they need to get settled in.
  14. Volunteer at a crisis helpline: For someone on the calling end of the emergency phone call, having a person answer the line quickly may just save their life. 
  15. Shovel driveways and sidewalks (or pick up trash). Just take a few minutes to clear the way for others to drive or walk without having to do it themselves (which can be especially helpful for new and/or single moms). 
  16. Host a Christmas dinner. For a Christmas Day family service idea, add a few more people who could use a friend to your guest list when planning your holiday meal.
  17. Send some soup. If you love someone who happens to be sick this season, a bowl full of hot soup will always be a welcome present.

How to Make Service a Habit for Your Family

Family service project ideas during the season of giving are great, but think how much better it would be to make service a regular habit for your family? After all, there’s never a shortage of need! 

We have a couple of tips to help you and your family make service a part of your everyday life:

  • Budget for it. Allocate a certain amount of money every month for charitable purposes. You can either make consistent donations to a specific charity or use the money for somebody else's spur-of-the-moment rainy day. Inevitably, someone will have a last-minute need, or your child will come home with a fundraiser. Since you already have money set aside for such a cause, giving it away will be easy and almost instinctive.
  • Make it a monthly goal. Set aside a few hours each month to dedicate solely to service. Again, you can spend the time consistently volunteering with one agency or mix it up by letting each family member take turns choosing a project with special meaning to them. 
  • Consider being an anonymous giver. While it’s nice to be thanked for doing a good deed, sometimes this can be awkward for the receiver of charity. There’s something to be said about people who give without wanting any recognition in return. 
  • Turn it into a lifestyle. Train yourself and your family members to keep their eyes, ears, and hearts open for opportunities to serve. Then when something comes up, act! This teaches to always have a giving attitude. And remember, small acts of kindness are just as important and appreciated as large ones.