How to Add Social Impact to 5 Favorite Classic Christmas Traditions


Happy Holidays

Here’s a little story for you…

“During the holiday season, I could count on seeing my cousins at a party & sleepover at my aunt’s home right before Christmas. This was no ordinary holiday party since my aunt is a baker! She’d invite all my cousins over for us to bake and decorate cookies together. To this day, I can clearly see the slightly bent cookie cutter I used for a star shape and smell the buttery snickerdoodle scent I waited all night for with flour still smudged across my cheek.”

Most people have similar stories to the one above of holiday traditions that mean so much to them over the years. Whether it’s a new tradition or classic holiday tradition, you may have a favorite that you always make sure to do no matter what. These kinds of memories are already meaningful, and can only be made that much more meaningful when you mix in social good.

Don’t worry! There’s no need to feel pressured in doing a grand gesture. You can add social impact in small ways and engage the people around you to contribute in their own way.

The main goal is to spread holiday cheer and a positive mindset. You’ll be surprised at how a small twist could have such a profound impact on everyone’s holidays. Let’s see which classic traditions we can transform with social good in mind.

1. Baking Cookies with Loved Ones & Friends

Since we talked about it first, let’s use baking cookies as the first example!

Warm cookies are a sure sign of sharing and holiday cheer. When baking with loved ones, you feel a sense of togetherness and teamwork. You can use this tradition with the following ideas:

  • Invite local neighborhood kids/families to bake together so people don’t feel left out of the holidays.
  • Have a baking party and have an optional task to bring canned goods or clothes to donate later as a group.
  • Bake cookies and eat them while playing an inspiring social impact podcast in the background (like the People Helping People podcast).

2. Viewing the Christmas Tree Lighting Downtown

One of the iconic end of the year events is to go downtown (or to a town’s center) to watch the Christmas Tree lights turn on for the first time of the season.

Walking around the town while lights are all around creates an enchanting atmosphere. The holidays probably wouldn’t feel quite the same without the magic of decorations. You can blend this tradition with the following ideas:

  • Buy a stranger something warm to drink from a local vendor.
  • Hide an envelope of money and an encouraging note for a stranger to find.
  • Ask someone how their holidays have been so far.
  • Leave a small tip for buskers that may be performing that day.

3. Singing Christmas Carols

“Deck the halls with boughs of holly!”

“All I want for Christmas is you!”

In a chorus of voices and laughs, we all can feel included. Actually, that’s something the holidays provide many people: a chance to feel seen. You can blend this tradition with the following ideas:

  • Grab your favorite “vocalist” friends and volunteer to sing carols around a senior home or foster home.
  • Host a local talent show at your home or community center for young and old to share their hidden talents (like singing carols).
  • Busk at a Christmas Tree Lighting event and donate the tips you get to a charity or social enterprise of your choice.

4. Writing letters to Santa (and the North Pole Crew)

Santa’s making a list and checking it twice until the very end.

Letters allow people to share their deepest wishes, especially when the letter is being sent to someone so important. If your loved ones typically write letters to Santa, here’s a few ways to add social impact.

  • Have children (and family) write a letter to Santa requesting a gift for someone else.
  • Have children (and family) write a letter to Santa suggesting how to solve a world problem and have an inspiring discussion about what everyone wrote.
  • Have children (and family) write a thank you letter to Santa to practice showing gratitude to people who serve the world. (P.S. You might also want to include letters to Mrs. Claus, the elf helpers, and the reindeer)

5. Wearing Interestingly Unforgettable Sweaters

Of course “Interestingly Unforgettable Sweaters” is a fancy name for Ugly Sweaters.

“Ugly Sweater” has become like a term of endearment for the gifted sweaters we receive that have a good intention, but aren’t very stylish. Well, someone may make a case that they are stylish. Either way, you can turn the tradition into social good with these ideas:

  • Have an upcycle party with family & friends to turn the sweaters into new clothing.
  • Have an Ugly Sweater contest with a contestant entrance fee and the winner gets a 1st place money prize to donate to a charity or social enterprise of their choice.
  • Take a group picture with your ugly sweaters, place the picture on a personalized card, and send thank you notes to local organizations thanking them for their efforts in the community.
Happy Holidays
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