Monday, December 1, 2008

It’s Christmas Time! Social Networking in your own Neighborhood

Most people love Christmas, but let’s face it—there are plenty of Scrooges around when it comes to neighbor gifts and getting them ready. I think the solution to this is to eliminate the stress of the neighbor gift (not the gift, just the stress) and re-discover the joy of the holiday season.

So maybe this year, we can find a way to keep it simple. There are tons of easy holiday neighbor gift ideas to be found, but maybe you’re tired of the same ol’ same old. I want to give a few suggestions of unique, inexpensive and fun things you can do for your neighbors this year instead of the King-size candy bar with the poem about “Here’s my version of Christmas fudge!” Okay and if you haven’t heard that one, then I guess you can use that this year. Hee hee!

Keep in mind that you don’t have to do the same gift for every neighbor. Why not mix it up and give each person a little something different? A thoughtful gift just for them. This idea is coming from the person who will be giving all her neighbors a treat of homemade candies, but hey—if you don’t like hand-dipped chocolates and homemade caramels that’s not my problem. I’m just trying to give you a few more ideas to share the love this Christmas.

An act of service—I’m not sure what the weather is like where you live, but here in Utah we still have leaves on the ground that need to be raked. There’s also bits of trash that get blown around our yard and a few dying weeds that need to be pulled. It would only take about ten minutes to rake and bag a pile of leaves. If you want you could make a little card to leave with your neighbor with a cute (or corny) Christmas jingle like, “We wanted to “leaf” a little love this year. Merry Christmas!”
If you’re already into the snow season, then by all means break out the snow shovel and ice melt and leave a note, “We’re clearing the way for Santa’s sleigh. Merry Christmas!”

Homemade Christmas cards made by you—I love to make cards and I know there are many out there who enjoy doing the same thing. You might enjoy creating cards on your computer, with scrapbook supplies, or stamps. Have you ever thought about making a little bundle of cute cards to give as a neighbor gift? Who can’t use a card sometime during the holidays?
How about homemade gift tags? If given early in the season, they’ll be handy for wrapping up presents.

Homemade Christmas cards made by your children—Do you have some elderly neighbors who might enjoy a little piece of Christmas magic created by your young children? Have them draw a magical Christmas scene or make a card and then sign it “With love from our family” The picture/card will still be there long after the treats are gone.

Throw a neighborhood Christmas party complete with white elephant gifts. Depending on what kind of area you live in, this could be a real hit.

Plan a Musical night of Christmas—I have great memories of the times when we got together with our neighbors, the Bodily’s and a few elderly folk in our area. We created our own mini-Christmas program. We sang songs, played instruments, had Santa Claus come for a visit, and just enjoyed talking and laughing together.

Forgo the neighbor gifts and sponsor a family in the Sub for Santa program. You could do this as a neighborhood or just your own family.

I might have to continue on with some more ideas in another blog post. I’m especially having lots of fun with the corny Christmas lines! Even if you don’t use any of these ideas, hopefully it’ll get your mind spinning with a few simple and new things you can do for your neighbors this Christmas to spread the holiday cheer.

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