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Paul once wrote "serve one another in love." As we celebrate Christmas this year, here are a few ideas beyond exchanging gifts to share Christ's love with your neighbors.

Christmas is coming, and the holiday is an excellent time to join God at work in your neighborhood and share Christ's love. As you celebrate the season, here are a few ideas beyond exchanging gifts to express your “love for one another” in your neighborhood:

  • As you enjoy special times around the table with neighbors, family, and friends— whether as host or guest—express your gratitude for one another and all that you're sharing together.
  • Make space and time to “just” be with a neighbor, perhaps a person or household who has experienced a loss or other difficult time this year.
  • Sock’em—your neighbors that is! (Type “You’ve Been Socked” into your favorite search engine.)
  • Offer to babysit so those parents next door can go gift shopping or on a date!
  • Remember your furry neighbors too (which is also a great way to meet their owners). Do you have old towels you could give to your neighbor who provides foster pet care? Could you offer to walk a neighbor's dog or take care of a neighbor’s pet while they’re on vacation? 
  • Drop off notes of appreciation and best wishes to those who support your neighborhood: mail carriers, teachers, community volunteers, etc.
  • Add some books to your neighbor’s Little Free Library or set up your own if there aren't any nearby.
  • Give the gift of “clean and bright” by cleaning up litter and brightening up your streets with lights or environmentally-friendly decorations.
  • Instead of just dropping off those homemade goodies, enjoy them together. Have a cup of tea or Christmas cheer with your neighbors! Or how about a “crappie dinner”? (You can search that too.)
  • Invite a few neighbors to help you plan some “reason for the season” gatherings on Sunday evenings during Advent. It could be potlucks, wine and cheese, candles and carols, or something else. Focus on the traditional themes of hope, peace, joy and love. Who doesn’t want more and to celebrate those? 
  • Support local. You likely have many talented neighbors who are showing and selling their beautiful wares at local craft shows and artisan’s markets. Encourage them by your presence and purchases!
  • Be a Secret Santa. Leave a treat or shovel the walk. Just do something nice for your neighbors secretly
  • Make greeting cards for neighbors, especially the elderly and others who may feel especially alone at this time of year. 
  • Host or help organize a gingerbread house making night. Every household brings their own house and one decorative item to share (like peppermints). You can enjoy a fun afternoon or evening together—and everyone goes home with a holiday decoration and treat!
  • Plan and enjoy watching a Christmas movie with neighbors. Talk about it afterwards!
  • Contribute to fundraising and donation collections in your community. There are so many opportunities!

As an ancient saint summed it up, “Serve one another in love.”

Karen Wilk is a Go Local catalyzer with Resonate. Learn more about Go Local and joining God at work in your neighborhood here.