These were the cutest homemade Christmas cards and so easy to make. Some of the cards they made had a snow theme and they used blue paper and white and silver or foil snowflakes. Some of the cards they made had a gift theme with presents and trees and red ribbon. Some of the cards they made had an angel theme and they cut out white angles and glued them onto red paper.
It usually takes a few afternoons cooking and making cards to share. For several of the gifts, we made chocolate chip cookies and no bake cookies.
For the no bake cookies we put them into clear plastic cups to protect them from breaking.
Then we covered the cups with small clear plastic bags and tied on ribbons and foil snow flakes. We used white ribbon on some, and red ribbon on others. The kids enjoyed making gifts to share.
Remember Your Community Helpers
Community helpers get to know many families in a local area, in different ways by providing services families need. For example, a community extension agent helps families gain life skills for a better quality of life like teaching nutrition, leadership, and sewing classes, 4H clubs for kids, helping you raise a garden, or identify trees or plants in your yard, etc. a garbage man collects your trash and recyclables each week, and a mail carrier brings a family their personal mail and packages five or six (out of seven) days a week. Doctors and nurse help those who are sick. Hospice helps with those who are dying. Red Cross, Salvation Army, local churches, and food pantries help with financial difficulties and disaster relief.
Each community has lots of community helpers, many are paid positions, but many are volunteers too. Even though you may not encounter all of the community helpers in your local community, and if you do their contact with your home might be very brief, it is still significant. You certainly would spend a fortune to thank them all with cards and gifts and that is not practical, and I am not suggesting that. But I am suggesting to pick a few, perhaps the ones you have had a lot of contact with over the past year, or even for a few months, and let them know you appreciate them.
Sometimes it might be easy or sometimes it might be hard to get to know your community helpers. For example, when you live where you can easily see your mailbox or trash cans from your dwelling, it is easier to get to know your mail carrier or garbage man. It is much harder to get to know them if you live where you can’t see them when they are ate your dwelling, such as if you live in an apartment building where there is a community mail box on only one floor, or if you live down a long lane where you may seldom see the mail carrier or garbage man, or if the garbage man comes at night. It is not always possible to get to know some community helpers.
When we lived in NC, our mail carrier’s name was Robin and she became a sweet friend over the five years we lived there. We could easily see the mail box from our front door and the kids were so excited when they would see her coming down the road and delivering mail to all the mail boxes in the neighborhood. Robin loved the children and always greeted them warmly. She loved learning about them and their homeschool projects. Many of the packages she brought to the house included curriculum or project supplies for things the kids were making in their school work and she was always eager to learn what they were doing. She even gave them candy on a regular basis. You can read more about our mail carrier Robin in the story P Is For Postcard. The kids were thrilled to bless our mail carrier with their homemade Christmas project. They left her gift in the mail box so when she opened the mailbox she would get a special surprise!
Check out what the kids did for the garbage man, one of their most favorite community helpers. They also made gifts for the local 4H and county extension agent, their clubs and activity leaders, youth pastors at church, and many neighbors too.
An activity like this is beneficial in so many ways. Besides the social skills aspect of talking with people and thanking them, there are lots of other skills one can practice too. The kids get to practice creativity, fine and gross motor skills while creating their cards (cutting, gluing, folding, drawing), they practice writing skills too. My kids also practiced math, reading, and life skills baking and following recipes.
It is important to teach kids to appreciate community helpers. It is important to teach kids about showing gratitude and hospitality too.
Appreciation and Gratitude Are Skills Too
This Christmas was very different for us, as the funds were tight and we have had to rely on the generosity of others. We could not buy supplies to make fun stuff this Christmas. We also came down sick in the weeks leading up to Christmas, and while having fevers and respiratory issues, we honestly didn’t feel very cheerful or excited to make lots of things. But we are grateful for what others have done for us, for what we have, and for each other. We wanted to convey our gratitude.
Even if you only have a little, you can double (multiply) or cut in half (divide) something your are making for your own family, and you can give it to others and let them know you appreciate them.
We did not buy any special ingredients, but used only what we had on hand. Some of these ingredients were given to us to feed our family, and some of the ingredients were things we had on hand in the pantry (like cocoa, yeast, sprinkles, and food coloring).
We made a list of possible things we could make, and we also had some apple butter we made earlier in the fall from the trees on our homestead that we could give. Finally the kids voted and decided to make homemade sugar cookies, chocolate chunk cookies, hot cocoa mix, and homemade bread to give away and thank people in our community (community helpers, pastor, family, and daddy’s coworkers).
One thing I wanted to convey to my kids was that there are many community helpers that are probably seldom appreciated. It really makes their day to receive appreciation from families they have served through out the past year.
Do you know your community helpers? How do you feel about giving cards or gifts to your mail carrier, garbage man, or other helpers in your community? If you do related activities, please share examples of what you do to show your community helpers you appreciate how they serve your family.
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