And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him. Colossians 3:17
I know it’s not quite Thanksgiving yet, and I certainly don’t want my favorite holiday overlooked, BUT, when you are a musician or someone who makes things by hand for Christmas, you sometimes have to get started early! I have been working on Christmas activities for a little while now. Shhh, don’t tell anyone my Christmas secrets! Would you like a sneak peek?
Have you ever wished that you could make a difference in other people’s lives during the holiday season? Maybe you are more of a quiet person who is not comfortable with talking to people, especially people you don’t know. There are still many ways that you can reach out to the people around you.
As we have therefore opportunity, let us do good unto all men, especially unto them who are of the household of faith. Galatians 6:10
This year, God has opened up a new opportunity in my life. My sister Hannah and I have both been making Christmas cards for local nursing homes. Even under normal circumstances the holiday season can be lonely for the elderly, and I know that this is far more true this year. Also, our faithful brothers and sisters in Christ are in many of these homes, and we have an obligation as well as the privilege of ministering to them. It has been so exciting to us to have the Lord lay this project in our laps, and I thought that this might be something that others would be interested in doing. So, I’m going to take you through the process, and tell how you can start a Christmas card ministry too!
Call a nursing home.
It’s really that simple. My dad has been calling one nursing home at a time as we are ready to plan cards for them. He asks them if we can bring Christmas cards for the residents, and we have yet to be turned down. They give him an approximate number of how many cards they can use.
We have been waiting until we are sure that we can get enough cards made for that home before we contact the next one. If you want a smaller project, you could easily just do one nursing home, but we enjoyed it so much that we wanted to keep going!
Make cards (and make cards and make….)
The next step is learning how to make cards in bulk. Making Christmas cards is actually a little bit time consuming, especially when you multiply it by a lot of cards. We have worked out a system that helps us make progress more quickly. Working on one step for a lot of cards saves so much time.
For example, I may sit and put pretty pictures on 25 cards at a time. Then the next evening I can add the embellishments to those same cards. Another couple of nights covers writing in the cards. Once you have taken those cards all the way through the assembly line, you can repeat the process on another batch.
If you have several family members working on the project, you could even give each person their own job on the assembly line, and then switch up if you get bored.
Make simple cards
The more simple your cards are, the more you will be able to make, and the more people you can reach. Now, simple doesn’t mean that they can’t be pretty. We have found a few tricks to make pretty cards that are less time intensive.
One trick that saves us a lot of time is to use the fronts of Christmas cards on our cards. If you don’t have any for this year, start saving your cards as they come in, and use them next year!
We were blessed to be given a lot of fronts off of Christmas cards from a friend this year. You could ask friends and family to save their Christmas card fronts for you. A lot of people would be happy to do this rather than just throw them away after the holiday season.
We have also printed vintage holiday illustrations that we have found online and used those on our cards. Cute pictures of festive little children should put a smile on the faces of the recipients.
Once you have your picture fronts on, you can add the pretty details. We like using washi tape, wooden cutouts, printed clipart, and other small embellishments. This makes your card personalized and shows that you gave it a personal touch rather than just sticking on a picture.
Write in your card
Another thing that makes your card personal is to write a message in it by hand. To make it easier, you can write out a message and then copy it into each card. My sister and I each have our own message, which means that all of the cards will not say the same thing.
If there are children or young adults helping with the project, they might want to write in their ages as well as their first names. Older people love to know that young people care about them, so this will make the cards more meaningful.
Include a gospel message
I typed up some Bible verse pages that we have been printing and cutting to put in the cards. One page is Christmas verses, and the other is salvation themed ones. I added both of those options to my free printables library. If you subscribe for blog notifications, you will receive an email with the code. Then you can access the library and get your free Bible verses by clicking on the graphic below!
We add one verse from each page to every card. Not writing out the verses by hand makes it go much quicker so that we can do more cards, and it also adds a nice touch having them typed. I used a plain font for these verses so that they will be easier for people with poor eyesight to read.
There are others ways to add a gospel message. We are adding a creation animal card to each card. If you have Christmas themed gospel tracts, that would be great to add too, but we didn’t have any on hand this time.
One Christmas themed thing we are adding is Invitation to Listen Cards from BBN radio (Bible Broadcasting Network). They have Christmas themed cards available right now, since their station plays a lot of Christmas music the month of December. I have known of more than one elderly person who loved listening to BBN, so I am happy to spread the word to others who may benefit from it. If you have a BBN station in your area, you could also order their free ITL cards to add to your Christmas cards.
Once you have finished your cards, put them in envelopes to take to the nursing home. We leave our envelopes unsealed in case the staff need to look in them for some reason. If you have any instructions, you may want to leave a note for the nursing home. We made 2 sizes of cards, and we are planning to put in a note asking them to give the larger cards to people with poor eyesight.
I think it is important to make working on this project an enjoyable part of your Christmas season so that you do not get burned out or overwhelmed. My sister and I usually work on the Christmas cards in the evening. It is something we can do while relaxing on the couch. Sometimes Mom reads aloud while we work. Other times we listen to an audio drama or just enjoy being together as a family. Hot tea has been on the menu quite a few evenings. Some other ways to make it fun would be to listen to Christmas music, eat a special snack, or sing Christmas carols together.
Oh, and don’t limit yourself to nursing homes. These little gospel filled Christmas cards would be great for sending to neighbors, handing to the cashier at the grocery store, or giving to your mail and trash workers, etc.
Now it’s your turn! What ideas do you have for making a difference in your community and the kingdom of God this holiday season? Are there any ministry projects that your family is traditionally involved with this time of year?
Until next time, keep making a difference right where God has placed you as you continue, “Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God. For consider him that endured such contradiction of sinners against himself, lest ye be wearied and faint in your minds.” Hebrews 12:2-3