The 10 Best Ways to Spread Christmas Cheer for Kids and Families

Updated: December 9, 2020
We could all use a little holiday cheer this year. Help get your children into the holiday spirit by trying these 10 ways to spread Christmas cheer, whether it be with family, friends, neighbors or strangers.
Christmas Cheer_Featured

One of the best parts of the holidays is being able to spread a little Christmas joy everywhere you go. Help get your children into the spirit by trying these 10 ways to spread Christmas cheer, whether it be with family, friends, neighbors or strangers.

More: 12 Days of Fun (and Cheap!) Christmas Activities for Kids and Families

Simple acts of kindness are the best way to spread Christmas cheer, and can also show your children that the spirit of Christmas is more than just gift receiving. These hands on experiences will give them special activities to look forward to as well as the joy that comes from bringing a smile to others' faces.

1. Bake Christmas Cookies for Friends and Family

Christmas Cheer_Cookies

Everyone loves cookies! A simple and sweet way to make people smile is to offer them a tasty treat. Block out a day in your busy holiday schedule to bake Christmas cookies and deliver them to friends, family, and neighbors - and ask the kids to help! To make the experience more memorable, share special family recipes with your children, take pictures to document the experience, and tuck them away to share when your children grow older and one day have a kitchen of their own.

Get the kids excited with fun shapes including classics like Santa, snowmen, stockings, Christmas trees and more. Younger children can help pressing shapes into rolled dough, older kids can help with the decorating.

2. Donate Spare Change

Christmas Cheer_Spare Change

When the holidays approach, the bells start ringing. Familiar rings include those of the Salvation Army's Red Kettle Christmas campaign. On your way out the door, be sure to fill a pocket with spare change to contribute to a good cause. Your children will feel special being able to drop coins into collection jars, and you’ll bring a smile to the volunteers who are spending their holiday time ringing bells. The Christmas spirit will come alive with this simple way of spreading cheer.

Another option is to save your spare change in a jar throughout the year, and to make an activity out of counting it during the holidays. You can give your children the choice of which charity they’d like to donate the money to. This is a great way to teach kids about giving and get them involved.

3. Sing Christmas Carols

Christmas Cheer_Carols

Nothing says "holiday season" like Christmas carols. Spread some cheer this holiday by playing Christmas carols in your home for family and guests. As Christmas Day approaches, take family and friends caroling to help spread the holiday spirit. You’ll be sure to make neighbors smile when they answer the door to a gathering singing Christmas Carols, children will enjoy picking their favorites and singing loud for all to hear!

*2020 might not be the year to gather large groups and sing, but that doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy spreading cheer to your neighbors with some carols. Take your family on a car ride, roll down the windows and blast some special tunes for your neighbors as you drive by. They can stand in their doorway as your family sings loudly from the car!

4. Decorate the House

Christmas Cheer_Decorate House

Remember the feeling you had as a child when you saw houses lit up with Christmas lights and bright decorations? Share that cheerful feeling with your children and others by decorating the outside of your house with festive lights. Neighbors or people who drive or walk by are sure to get a smile when they see your outdoor decorations. Once your house is decorated, take a drive through your neighborhood and share in the holiday cheer they are also spreading.

Outdoor inflatables and house projectors are great ways to bring some extra special Christmas cheer to those walking or driving by.

5. Donate Toys

Christmas Cheer_Donate Toys

Many places accept gently used toy donations for children in need, have your children pair down their toys before receiving new ones this Christmas. You will be helping to teach your children the true spirit of giving by sharing with other children. The Toys for Tots foundation brings cheer, happiness, and hope to disadvantaged children who might otherwise be overlooked this holiday. If your family has the means, you could also purchase new toys or adopt a family and fulfill their needs this Christmas. Have fun playing Santa Claus or an elf and deliver Christmas gifts. Filling a child's heart with happiness is sure to fill yours and your child's, as well.

6. Volunteer Your Time

Christmas Cheer_Volunteer

For a special gift, give a little of yourself and your family. Helping others is a great way to spread cheer and love. Taking time out of your busy holiday schedule to volunteer at a nursing home, orphanage, women's shelter, or homeless shelter is good for the soul, and can also be a wonderful bonding experience for your children and family. Smiles are contagious, and is a free gift you can share with those who may not be able to spend as much time with their loved ones during Christmas time.

7. Gift Service Providers

Christmas Cheer_Service Providers

Giving small gifts from the heart to those who provide services to you is a sure way to spread cheer and make others feel good. It also lets them know that you appreciate what they do for you all year long. Show your mail carrier, garbage man, dog walker, house cleaner, children's teachers, secretaries, and other service providers how much you value them. Get your kids involved and have them create a homemade Christmas card or ornament paired with a generic gift card for a more meaningful and sentimental gift.

8. Organize a Fundraiser of Food Drive

Christmas Cheer_Fundraiser

Want to make a real difference this holiday season? With a bit of effort and some reliable friends, you can organize a successful fundraiser or food drive. This is a great way to help the underprivileged in your community, and it will surely make you and others feel good. Have your children help make signs for advertisement, they will get to enjoy the gift of giving back to others and even as young children can make a difference.

*These days community food pantries, similar to little free libraries, are popping up in communities. If the pandemic is making it difficult for you to hold an in-person food drive, consider collecting donations and bringing your children along to fill the community grab-and-go pantries that are available in your community.

9. Smile and Wish People a "Merry Christmas" or "Happy Holidays"

Christmas Cheer_Merry Christmas

It may sound simple, but what better way to spread holiday cheer then to show it and say it? While on your way to work, at the grocery store, or out shopping for family and friends this Christmas, be sure to smile and wish others "Happy Holidays" or "Merry Christmas." This can only inspire others to follow your lead and spread the holiday peace and happiness with total strangers this Christmas Season.

*Mask wearing makes it difficult to smile, but a special wave or a thumbs up from little children is definitely going to bring a smile to people's faces as they pass by. This is a great opportunity to teach children about kindness and how it is felt from the inside out. We can smile with our eyes and still find ways to show others we care about them and wish them a Merry Christmas.

10. Teach Your Kids the Meaning and Spirit of Christmas

Christmas Cheer_Meaning of Christmas

As the saying goes, our children are our future. Help them grow up to be generous and thoughtful adults by taking the time to teach them the meaning of Christmas and impart the spirit of giving and goodwill. This is good practice at any time of the year, but is especially relevant during the holidays. If you’re looking for a lighthearted way to do this, settle in for a family holiday movie night with Elf, a good-natured holiday comedy that follows Buddy the Elf, who discovers he’s not really an elf, but a human, and travels to New York City trying to track down his biological father. He spreads Christmas cheer and spirit along the way as disaster strikes.