With the Christmas holiday fast approaching, it is easy to be caught up in the hustle, bustle, and stress of it all. Last-minute presents to buy, grocery shopping to do, cookies and candy to make, and the ever-present crowds as you try to fit it all in; not to mention a stretched-to-the-limit budget.

All the stores and TV commercials try hard to tell you what you need to buy – that you NEED all this STUFF – to make it a good holiday and show your love; it is easy to lose sight of the meaning of Christmas and what it really is all about.

Regardless of the actual origins of Christmas and tradition of gift-giving for this holiday, Christmas has come to be known for most as a time to remember and celebrate the birth of Jesus and live within his teachings and principles. It is a time of celebration of our God-given family, relationships, and many, many blessings.

Moreover, while we celebrate the season with the giving of gifts, we need to remember that giving is not just about packages and presents. It is about giving with your heart, your time, and your love. Remember there are those who continue to struggle in our community, whether they lack the money to provide a nice meal and gifts for their family, or they do not have anyone at all to share the holiday with.

An uplifting word, a genuine smile, asking about someone’s day, a small random act of kindness are all things each of us can do in the spirit of the Christmas season whether giving these “gifts” to family, friends, or strangers.

If you find yourself becoming caught up in the stress and losing sight of what Christmas is all about, here are a few simple things you can do to find and spread the holiday spirit again:

  1. Sit down and write out everything you are grateful for. This can be anything from having a nice, warm home to having food on the table, to having the family and friends to share it with.
  2. Donate your time to organizations that help others. It does not have to be more than an hour or two that you might have to spare, but helping those who are less fortunate than you has a way of bringing things back into perspective.
  3. Pay it forward to a stranger with no expectation of thanks or getting anything in return. Going through the drive-thru or maybe visiting the local coffee house? Buy the meal or drink of the person behind you. You really can make someone’s day unexpectedly amazing!
  4. With each Christmas shopping purchase, round up your change and donate it to a worthy cause that helps people struggling during the season and all year long.
  5. Make a short visit with your single or elderly neighbors to see if they need anything over the holiday.
  6. Schedule a little bit of time to visit a senior center, senior living community, or nursing home to visit those who have no family to share the lonely holidays with.
  7. Give out hugs…they are totally free and are known to reduce stress and keep us healthier!
  8. When purchasing your Christmas dinner fixings, if your budget allows, purchase double of everything and donate the extra to your local food bank so others who struggle with hunger can also have a nice holiday meal.

Each holiday season, MADF strives to gives away food, meal, and toys to neighbors in need in Pierce County for a special holiday. Each meal box is filled with all the traditional holiday items needed for a family of four, something we can do only because of the generous giving our community does all year long. MADF is truly blessed to be a big part of this area that gives big and does good for those who need it most.

If you would like to help us make a difference in someone’s life, there is still time! Items like canned vegetables, frozen turkeys, hams, stuffing mixes, and other items are always welcome donations. We also always welcome volunteers to help us prepare and handout these meal boxes within the community, so if you aren’t able to donate food and goods, you can always donate your time.