Christmas Countdown Day 21: Give ... to Make a Difference!

Give to Make a Difference

Is your holiday giving only about "stuff"--or is it a reflection of your heart? To express your deepest holiday values, plan to make a gift of yourself this holiday season!

This week in the Christmas Countdown, we've focused on gifts and giving. 99% of the time, we've seen this effort in terms of "things." Stuff. Boxes and parcels and bags. Stocking stuffers. But have we considered making a true gift: a gift of ourselves?

In the days to come, we'll begin planning the American Thanksgiving holiday. Will we also begin to ponder those things for which we are thankful? Out of gratitude comes grace, and from abundance comes true giving. How will we reflect this gift?

To Do Today

Plan family service projects

Challenge yourself and your family to make a difference: to make a true gift of yourselves. Today, plan service projects or volunteer activities.

Service doesn't have to be regimented. Even small efforts can reap big rewards.

Teach someone a new skill. Tackle a service project as a family. Visit an assisted living center, or take part in a church ministry.

Don't just share your stuff this season: share yourself! The real secret? When you give of yourself, you are returned blessings tenfold!

Complete holiday scheduling

Calendar in hand, review holiday season activities and events.

Consider adding a no-event "family night" to the calendar to provide stress relief during the height of the season.

Schedule family service projects, or sign up for church charity efforts.

Reserve baby-sitters for December's nights out.

Keep tabs on the holiday budget

As you shop, record expenditures on your holiday budget. Keeping your budget in the front of your mind helps prevent impulse purchases and over-spending.

To Read Today

Simplicity. Frugality. Great holiday gifts. Find a way to serve all these values with clutter-free consumable gifts:

Clutter-Free Gift Solution: Think Consumable!

Today's Recipe

apricot bread recipeApricot Nut Bread is a sweet addition to holiday gift baskets. One of Cynthia's specialties!

To make ahead, bake this quick bread recipe in small loaves, then double-wrap with plastic food storage wrap. Place wrapped loaves in a freezer storage bag; they'll stay fresh for up to 2 months:

Apricot Nut Bread Recipe

Holiday Plans: