When we get into the holiday season, the biggest challenge is trying to stay present with the people that you love. With all the gifts and running around you might think you have to do this holiday, here are 6 extravagant ways you can love your friends, family and neighbors, without having to go shopping at all!
1 Handwritten Notes: Have you noticed how much more valuable a words tend to be than most gifts? A handwritten note chronicling the reason why someone is great, or why you love them is a simple and time-honored tradition that has become more cherished as time passes. There’s something about taking the time to put pen to paper.
2 Singing Telegrams: I was walking in my neighborhood and happened along a car for singing telegrams here in Austin. Of course we would have them! If you’re looking for a little creativity or a way to surprise someone in your life with some words of affirmation, getting them a singing telegram will do the trick. And make a memory too.
3 Donate Money to a Non-Profit of Your Friend’s Choice: Want to show someone you love that you’re listening? How about making a donation in that person’s name to an organization they care about? In Austin we celebrate the work of thousands of nonprofits, and giving to a cause that your friend or family member cares about demonstrates the kind of solidarity that makes a difference in more ways than one.
4 Make a Meal and Bring it to a Friend or Neighbor: This practice is common for those in need (see Care Calendars) but what about people who are just busy, or happen to live nearby? Nothing is nicer than to come home to a home-cooked meal, but how much better is it to know that someone you love made it just for you … and brought it over?
5 Offer to Babysit for a Family in Your Community: As loveable as most kids are, their parent (s) will tell you, a night away is a welcome respite. Especially around the holidays. So get with a family in your community and choose a night where you can give them a date, a night out, or the chance to just relax. If you’ve got parent (s) in your community who have young ones, this will be a huge blessing, and an opportunity to invest in that couple’s marriage or the community of a single-parent. Step up and give someone the time to invest in themselves!
6 Gather with Friends, Pool Money, and Meet a Need of Someone You Know: Get together with friends for a Generosity Dinner. This Advent Season, commit to blessing someone extravagantly with your community. Being able to share needs over a meal and let someone in difficulty know they’re not alone is a way to practice the generosity of Advent in real time. It’s also the perfect way to keep the spirit and hope of Advent throughout the year.