The only thing you REALLY need this holiday season is...

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Would you believe us if we told you that this could be the BEST CHRISTMAS you’ve ever had?

That’s right, friends. It’s possible. 

Even if all your holiday plans get canceled, even if you’re stuck inside your house with nowhere to go, even if your packages don’t arrive on time (GASP), you can still make this the most memorable and meaningful season yet.

How? Well, it’s easy. Focus on fun ways to serve and lift others this holiday season.

Yeah, yeah, yeah, we know -- you hear this every year. But if there was ever a year when you really should put this into practice, 2020 is it. If you haven’t figured it out already, service not only blesses the recipient -- it blesses the giver as well. Maybe even more so. 

(And if you want to hear this directly from Brigitte’s and Jason’s mouths, check out their most recent podcast episode where they talk all about how service has blessed their lives.)

Maybe this is already part of your regular routine (good for you!). But if you need a few ideas, we’ve got you covered right here.

Here are six simple, fun ways you can serve others and truly make this “the most wonderful time of the year.”

Join the #LightTheWorld campaign

#LightTheWorld Jason and Brigitte Shamy Family

We are firm believers in the power of using social media for good, and this is one of the easiest ways to participate in a positive social media campaign.

For the past few years, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (of which Brigitte and Jason are members) has invited people to #LightTheWorld by performing simple daily acts of service, just as Jesus would.  

This year, most of the ideas center around sharing goodness online -- whether it’s by posting a picture of a family service project, sharing a link to your favorite charity, or highlighting one of your personal heroes. 

It’s super easy -- and the feel-good effects are immediate! Plus, you’ll be joining families all over the world who’ll be doing these simple acts of service with you. 

You can download a service calendar or sign up to get daily service prompts through text or email. Who knows? It might just become one of your new favorite traditions.

Create your own service advent calendar

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If you prefer to do things your own way, you can always create a customized service calendar for your family. (Including chocolates is entirely optional, but highly recommended.) 

This can be especially meaningful if you have young children at home. Here’s what you do: write down a simple daily service activity on a piece of paper for every day leading up to Christmas. Ideas can be as easy as “hold someone’s hand” or “say hi to a stranger.” (If you really want to spread some holiday cheer in your home, you could even write “help Mom with the dishes.” :))

Instead of ending the day with your advent calendar, try doing it first thing in the morning so your kids can be looking for opportunities to perform their daily service. You can take things one step further by opening up the calendar in front of the lit-up Christmas tree every morning and maybe singing a holiday song or two. (If your kids are willing.) What better way to start the day?

And here’s the best part -- it doesn’t have to cost a thing. Simply use that extra construction paper you’ve got lying around, grab a few markers, and BAM -- instant advent calendar. You may even want to post it on Pinterest. 

Doorbell ditch presents for your neighbors

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Oh, this one is so fun -- and SO easy! It doesn’t require any elaborate planning or expensive purchases. Just a little creativity.

It’s always fun to bake cookies or some other seasonal treat for the neighbors, but what if you gave them something they weren’t expecting? 

Remember that stash of gift cards you’ve been keeping in your junk drawer? Maybe the single mom on your street could use one of them.

Did you find a screaming deal on Christmas pajamas? Why not pick some up for the neighbor kids while you’re at it? 

Got a surplus of disinfecting wipes? Share the love with other young families who want to keep the germs at bay this holiday season. 

Leave your “random” gift on the doorstep with a simple anonymous note like, “Just a little something to make your Christmas brighter.” 

Really, the possibilities are endless here. Have fun!

Order takeout

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We know what you’re thinking. “Wait, what? That doesn’t sound like something that counts as service…” Well, it kind of does -- depending on where you order your food from. (No, we are not talking about McDonald’s here.)

This year, a lot of small businesses have been hit hard by the effects of the global pandemic -- particularly in the food and beverages industry. More than 100,000 restaurants across the nation have closed their doors in just six months.

So what if you could help prevent that from happening for someone else?

When you order dinner once or twice a week from a small business or mom-and-pop shop, you’re helping them stay afloat during an exceptionally difficult time. They get much-needed revenue and you get a belly full of delicious food without the kitchen clean up afterward. Definitely seems like a no-brainer. 

If you aren’t sure where to go, ask your social media friends for referrals, or search for “best family restaurants near me” on Yelp. 

Give a “thank you” gift to the mailman (or Amazon lady)

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Let’s be honest, this is a really tough time of the year to be a mail carrier. Can you imagine the pressure of having to be the person delivering tens of thousands of greeting cards, letters, and packages? The stress level has got to be high.

You could make your mail carrier’s day by leaving them a small treat or inexpensive gift. We say “inexpensive” because there’s actually a federal limit to what you can spend on a gift for them (no more than $20). 

While they’re prohibited from accepting cash, checks or gift cards, they might appreciate a packaged treat, some warm gloves, or a thermos. (Bonus points if you can buy these things from a small business. Double the service!)

Or you could forego gifts entirely and simply wish them a heartfelt “thank you!” next time they come rolling down your street. It might just be the lift they need that day.

Share a laugh

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As George Bernard Shaw once said, “You don’t stop laughing when you grow old, you grow old when you stop laughing.”

There are very few people who couldn’t use a good laugh this year. We could cite a million different studies about the positive effects laughter has on your health, but you already know this is true. Just think about the last time you had a good belly laugh. (If it’s been a while, we recommend you tune into the @mrmodestshoppin reels STAT!) 

Laughter really is “the best medicine.” Unless you’re sick. In which case, the best medicine is actual medicine. (Ha!)

Share a funny meme or social media, text a joke to a friend, or watch a comedy with your family. Sometimes lightening the mood through laughter is the best service you could provide. (Just use it wisely.)

Tips for spreading some holiday cheer this season:

  • Pay close attention to social media. You may pick up on clues about friends and family who could use a little extra love this time of the year.
  • Set a “Service Reminder” on your phone. Many of us want to give back during Christmastime, but it’s easy to get distracted by the day-to-day routine. Setting a reminder to focus on service will ensure you start getting in the habit of doing it daily. 
  • Involve the whole family. You don’t have to be the one making all the cookies, doing all the shopping, or coming up with all of the service ideas. Get your kids (and your husband) in on it!
  • Do the easy thing. No, you don’t have to sacrifice hours of your time or a chunk out of your pocketbook to do some good. Some of the most powerful acts of service are the little things like texting a friend, smiling at a stranger, or just saying a prayer for someone who needs it.
  • Take care of yourself FIRST. This is going to sound selfish. It’s not. Sometimes the person you need to serve is yourself. Take a break. Stop shopping. Sit down and breathe. Say “no” if you need to. Taking care of yourself puts you in a much better position to help those around you. 

Share your acts of service with us!

Shamy Family service

How are you spreading holiday cheer through service this year? Share your comments below or tag us on Instagram @modestshoppin or @mrmodestshoppin

And if you want to perform a simple act of service for this small business, share this post, follow us on social media, download our app, or leave us a review. We are so grateful for your support -- we couldn’t do what we do without you!

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