When is the last time you opened your door to a group of Christmas carolers singing your favorite Christmas songs? When is the last time you opened your door to receive a bag of treats that made you excited to open? When is the last time you opened your door to a neighbor reaching out to you in some way? The truth is many of us are too afraid or too busy to leave the comfort of our homes to reach out to the neighbors around us.
But loving our neighbors is exactly what we are called to do in a world that revolves around ourselves rather than others. Since “neighboring” might sound scary or too time-consuming, we have come up with five simple ways you can show love to your neighbors this Christmas.
1. Go Christmas caroling.
To bring the holiday spirit to your neighborhood this season, get together with a small group of friends and family and go Christmas caroling.
Over the last few decades, Christmas caroling has become a tradition of the past. Therefore, singing Christmas songs to your neighbors will be such a surprise and will put a smile on their faces.
If you have stage fright, be sure to have enough people to join you, and you can lip sync if you want to (we won’t tell, we promise). Also, bring some invitations to our Christmas Eve services with you and hand them out after your performance.
2. Host a hot chocolate and s’mores night.
Bring out the fire pit to the front yard and offer a special treat to your neighbors. Have a Crock-Pot of hot chocolate ready to go along with all the yummy ingredients for s’mores (i.e., marshmallows, graham crackers, and chocolate).
This can be a surprise event on a cold evening when your neighbors might be walking their dogs or putting up last-minute Christmas decorations on their homes.Or you can make this a planned event where you invite your neighbors to come and join you for a night of warm beverages, sweet treats, and great company.
If there are a lot of children in your neighborhood, this could even be a celebration for the beginning of winter break. You could host it on the first night or weekend that school is over for this semester.
Try this simple homemade hot chocolate recipe–it will be a hit in your neighborhood!
3. Bake homemade goodies.
What is a better reminder of Christmas than the smell of homemade desserts baking in the oven?
Rather than just keeping the sweets for your family’s gathering, share some with your neighbors. You can bake cookies, pies, muffins, breads, or even cupcakes. Cookies are simple to make in large batches for your neighbors.
You can put together goody baskets for a couple of neighbors that you might not know very well. Or you can place a few cookies in a small bag and take it to several neighbors.
No matter how many goody bags or baskets you may have, deliver them in person. This might give you time to get to know a new neighbor or an old neighbor you just haven’t had the chance to connect with yet.
Try one or two (or a few) of these simple Christmas cookie recipes. Not only will they make delicious treats to share, but they will also get you in the Christmas spirit.
4. Deliver Christmas cards with a special treat.
The holiday season is a busy season for all of us, but we always make time to take family photos. Most of us are busy right now mailing out Christmas cards to our family and friends.
But this year, what about buying a few extra cards to give our neighbors? You can personally deliver the Christmas cards. If you want to include a special treat, attach a candy cane to the envelope.
Family Christmas cards provide great conversation starters. When people open the cards, they will make comments about the pictures of your spouse, children, or pets. This is a perfect time to ask questions about their family and to get to know your neighbors.
5. Throw a Christmas block party.
If you are feeling a little adventurous this holiday season, organize a Christmas block party. It can be a simple party with appetizers, desserts, and hot beverages where everyone socializes. Or you could set up an arts-and-crafts area where neighbors can decorate Christmas ornaments. Have your neighbors dress festive and give out a prize for the tackiest holiday attire.
If you live in a small, close-knit neighborhood, you could plan a themed white elephant gift exchange such as “something red,” “tacky gifts,” and “house décor.”
If you live in a large neighborhood, you could always set up a toy drive where you collect toys for local nonprofit organizations or for needy families in your community.
Hosting a block party can be as simple or as extravagant as you want it to be. The important thing is to organize a block party that creates a fun and safe environment for your neighbors. If it is a hit, think about organizing a block party every year during the holiday season. Or you could pass the baton to the next neighbor to host next year’s holiday party.
No matter how long you have been a part of your neighborhood, there are many ways you can engage with your neighbors this holiday season. Whether you keep it simple or get creative, the important thing to remember is to show love to and to build relationships with our neighbors.