Edna's Story

I started incorporating service projects into our family’s holiday traditions a few years ago after I read a book that emphasized the idea that rituals are about passing down your values and beliefs to your children. And it hit me that even though I always tell my kids that Christmas is about giving, it had really become more about baking and wrapping and singing, with a token volunteer project thrown in. Although these family rituals are still important to us, I realized that I also wanted to establish service as an important part of what we do during the holidays.

At first, the hardest thing for me was making volunteering a habit, especially during the holiday season when routines are often a bit out of whack anyway. What works for my family is to take down the big family calendar and actually write in the service projects on the days we plan to do them. Because we cannot function without our calendar, it is a constant reminder of our goals. Moreover, I don’t just write down the project on the day. I also write things like “Buy bird seed” two days before the actual project date. Without those kind of reminders, it’s just not going to happen in our house.

— Edna