As we head into the holiday season our focus turns toward ways to show our love and appreciation for others. As you give and receive gifts this year, it is important to recognize that physical gifts are not the only way to be of service to others. When you are of service to others they gain the benefits of your generosity and love, and you gain a feeling of purpose and satisfaction. No matter who you are, there are plenty of opportunities to serve others.
Here are just a few of the many ways to be of service this holiday season:
- Most of us know that you can make monetary donations directly to charitable organizations, but did you know there are passive ways to do it as well? Check with your bank or credit card company to see if they offer charitable giving cards that make donations to non-profits every time you use them. Now you are helping those in need while you do your holiday shopping!
- It is common to tip the service people in your life over the holidays. You can bless your mail delivery person, hair stylist, sanitation workers and more with tips that will put a smile on their faces. Now is the time to overtip the people in the service industry who may be working especially long hours over the holidays.
Don’t Forget Your Furry Friends
- Do you have an adorable and well-behaved pet? Check with your local senior centers and hospitals to see if they allow visits from fur babies. You can brighten up the day of someone stuck in a hospital room over the holidays.
- Don’t have a pet of your own? Donate your used towels and blankets to a local animal shelter. They are frequently needed to keep the animals comfortable and warm.
In the Community
- Do you have a specific skill that could be useful to people in your community? Volunteer to help people write resumes, learn to code, or create an art project at your local library. Donating your expertise is a wonderful way to pay it forward in your community.
- Soup kitchens frequently serve special meals over the holidays. Volunteer your time, money, or non-perishable foods to help in these worthy efforts.
Think of the Children
- Children’s hospitals have many volunteer opportunities that range from rocking newborns in need of a cozy cuddle to adding to the hospital’s arsenal of inexpensive art supplies and games.
- Parents of small children are especially busy during the holidays. Why not offer to watch your friend’s children for the evening so he or she can do some holiday shopping or have some quiet time to decompress.
Close to Home
- Acts of service don’t only have to take place outside of the home. Choose a few hours of each day over the holidays to unplug all phones and laptops and spend some quality time with your family. Your loved ones want your presence more than they want presents under the tree.
- Remember the joy of receiving a handwritten letter in the mail? Give that same feeling to someone else this season. Break out the good paper and a real ink pen and write a letter to a friend or family member.
- When you are looking for someone to bless this Christmas, you don’t have look farther than your own neighborhood. Shovel a neighbor’s driveway, bring in their mail while they are on vacation, or bake and hand deliver your famous pie to their front door.
Pies for Heroes
In April of 2017, I began baking delicious pies and delivering them to a variety of local service organizations. My fourth stop was to my local Fire Station #31 in Pasadena, California. As I delivered my pie that day, the captain immediately made a request for a blueberry pie the following week. From that point on I have made a different pie for them each and every week. It’s extra special for me to serve these firefighters because I have a number of them in my family.
This simple act of service has been a wonderful blessing in my life, and I hope in the lives of these brave firefighters as well! I was able to turn something that brings me immense joy into a way of serving others.
JuliAnn’s Blueberry Pie
This recipe is a favorite at the fire station, and I think it will be a hit in your home as well!
Blueberry Pie Recipe
- 5 1/2 c fresh blueberries
- 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 1 package of refrigerated pie crusts
- 1/2-3/4 c sugar (taste for desired sweetness)
- 1/2 c all purpose flour
- 1/8 teaspoon of salt
- 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon
- 2 tablespoons of unsalted butter
- 1 large egg lightly beaten
- 1 teaspoon of sugar
- Preheat oven to 400°
- Fit one piecrust into a 9″ pie plate
- Combine berries and lemon juice in a large mixing bowl
- In a separate bowl mix sugar, flour, salt, and cinnamon thoroughly
- Evenly coat berries with sugar, flour, salt, & cinnamon mixture
- Fold berries into pastry shell and dot with small pieces of butter
- Unfold the remaining pastry shell onto the top of the pie and cut slits for venting
- Brush top crust with egg and sprinkle with 1 teaspoon of sugar
- Cover pie edges with a silicone pie crust shield or aluminum foil to prevent over browning
- Bake at 400° for 15 minutes
- Remove the shield or foil from the edges and bake an additional 15-20 minutes or until golden brown
- Cool and serve with vanilla ice cream. Enjoy!