As the season of Advent comes to an end, it is time to take a deep breath and experience the joy of Christmas, a joy for all. One way to experience joy is to spread the love this Christmas. As we show love to others, our hearts will be filled with joy. Even though you might think time is running out, there is still time to love on our family, friends, neighbors, and community.

Here are three simple ways you can spread the love this Christmas.

Make a Prayer Garland

Prayer is one way to spread the love this Christmas. There is nothing like the power of prayer. And prayer garlands can be a Christmas decoration that brings meaning to your holiday gatherings.

When your family and friends gather on Christmas Eve and Christmas, each person can write a person’s name, ministry, or a specific prayer request on a strip of construction paper (or a couple of strips). As each person fills out a strip of paper, staple the strips together to create a prayer garland. After a few people have filled out strips, assemble the garland and start hanging it. You can make one long prayer garland or several smaller ones. At the end of the night, have each person take turns pulling the garland apart and praying for each request.

To be prepared for your guests, have strips of red and green construction paper cut out along with a few sharpies (or washable markers for the children) to write their prayer requests. To assemble the strips, you will need a stapler with plenty of staples to staple each strip of paper to the garland.

If this craft is a hit, next year you can make homemade prayer garlands at the beginning of the Christmas season. Then, every day of the Advent season, you can pull one (or a few) strips of paper from the garland and pray over the person, ministry, or situation.

Collect Donations for Local Organizations

Throughout the holiday season, many people donate toys to help families in need provide Christmas presents for the children. But toys are not the only types of donations people need during the holidays. It is also a great time to collect clothing, toiletries (e.g., combs, toothpaste, and shampoo), baby products (e.g., diapers and baby wipes), and canned food.

For your Christmas gatherings, ask family and friends to bring items that can be donated to local homeless shelters, food pantries, children’s advocacy centers, and shelters for domestic violence survivors. Many times, donations decrease after the holidays, and your donations could help these organizations after the holidays are over.

You could even collect donations through the New Year. A New Year’s Eve party might be another great night to accept donations from family, friends, and neighbors. After the holiday season is over, pack up the boxes of goods and distribute them to one or a few local organizations. These donations will continue to bring people joy all year round.

Love Your Neighbor

Another great way to spread the love this Christmas is to bring a special treat to your neighbor on Christmas morning. After your family has opened your presents, bring some homemade muffins or a small gift to your neighbor. To make the occasion more joyous, make it a surprise. Your neighbor will be thrilled that you thought of them on this special day.

If your neighbor is not the type to like surprises, invite them to your dinner on Christmas Eve or on Christmas Day. Let them know they do not need to bring anything. They just need to show up to enjoy great food and fellowship. This is a great way to connect to your neighbors and spread the love this Christmas.

To spread the love and joy this Christmas, we invite your and your family, friends, and neighbors to celebrate Christmas at Chase Oaks. We have five campuses and 16 services this year! To find the true spirit of Christmas, participate in Advent for our final week. Merry Christmas from the Chase Oaks family to yours!