Creating Family Traditions and Outreach Opportunities for each American Holiday
Here are some fun ideas for you to use with your family this year. For each American holiday, you will find a new tradition you could try as a family and a way to use the holiday to reach family and friends who don’t. yet, know Jesus. The outreach ideas are service projects and just ideas for including people in your celebrations. We hope at least one of these ideas will fit your family and enrich your celebrations!
January 1st – New Years Day
- Celebration and Prayer
- Sit together and thank God for all the cool blessings He gave your family in the previous year. You could start a journal to update each new year.
- Ask for God to help you see what He’s up to and take the opportunity to be a part of it.
- Family Goals
- Make one family goal to achieve in the month of January (collect food for the Task Force, make encouragement cards for people in a Senior Home, pray through your neighborhood).
- When you accomplish that goal, make another one and keep it up through the year. Make sure to keep a list so you can celebrate what God has done through your family next year. You could record that in the journal mentioned above.
January 21st (3rd Monday in January) – Martin Luther King Jr. Day
- Proud to be Americans
- Spend some time talking about the rights we have as Americans because of the sacrifices of others.
- Tell the story of Martin Luther King Jr.’s ministry and public education about Civil Rights.
- Serve those who are Different
- Serve a group of people of a different ethnicity and talk about how God’s creativity comes out in the beauty of each of his creations.
- Serve or support a church that is different than the one your family attends. God gives us the freedom to serve others!
February 3rd – Superbowl
- Talk with your children about what accomplishments are worthy of celebrating and honoring. Make a list of unsung heroes and how to honor them (teachers, librarians, spiritual leaders, those who fight and defeat cancer) then choose someone from that list to honor and celebrate.
- Host a Superbowl Party and invite people from your neighborhood as well as your church to help your neighbors know Christians like to have a good time, too! Make sure that someone from your church invites your neighbors to church besides just you! Spread the love!
February 18th (3rd Monday in February) – Presidents’ Day
- Pray for the president and his family. Pray for him to use his influence for God’s glory.
- Talk about the importance of using your influence for God’s glory and not your own. Talk about the different presidents America has had and the good they have done or not done.
April 21st – Easter
- Be intentional about preparing your children to celebrate Jesus’ resurrection.
- Invite your friends and neighbors to your church’s Easter celebration.
- Host a neighborhood Easter Egg hunt and do a potluck brunch… or at least provide food!
May 12th – Mother’s Day
- Mamas can write a list of all the wonderful things about being a mama to your specific children. Daddies and kiddos can write a list of the things you appreciate about your mama (and wife as a mother to your kids).
- Celebrate Motherhood
- Write encouragement notes to the mamas in your family’s life.
- You can also deliver flowers and chocolates to the older mamas you know who don’t live near their kiddos or to women in your life who are unable to have children of their own.
May 27th – Memorial Day
- Visit a military cemetary together as a family and pray for the families of the fallen heroes. Remember that this holiday is to commemorate fallen heroes unlike Veteran’s Day which is to honor those who have served in the military and are still living.
- There are some great ideas of how to honor fallen military heroes here.
June 16th – Father’s Day
- Do something your Dad wants to do on Father’s Day. If he likes to fish, go fishing; watch his favorite movie, go camping, or whatever he would like. Make sure he knows you appreciate who he IS for your family as well as all he does.
- Celebrate fathers you respect in your church and neighborhood communities by writing them thank you notes or just telling them face to face.
July 4th – Independence Day
- As you celebrate America’s freedom, thank God that you can live in a country where you can freely practice your faith and for all those who sacrificed so that you could live in freedom. Thank Jesus for His ultimate sacrifice to give you spiritual freedom and hope!
- Celebrating freedom.
- Write a letter of thanks to any military personnel you know.
- Host a 4th of July party for your neighbors and talk about why you are grateful to live in America.
September 2nd – Labor Day
- This is an awesome blog to introduce your children to Labor Day and it has great ideas about how to serve others in special ways on this holiday.
- A good old-fashioned BBQ is great as a close to summertime and to kick off fall. It’s a great opportunity to invite your neighbors and those your family is trying to reach into your home and to build stronger relationships in a relaxed environment!
October 14th – Columbus Day (2nd Monday in October)
- This is a fabulous blog explaining Columbus’ faith and providing some activity ideas! It’s super fun!
- You could make some cookies and take a plate of them across the street to a neighbor you have not met – like Columbus took his journey to the new land!
October 31st – Halloween
- My family LOVES Halloween. They love dressing up, trick or treating, and especially carving pumpkins with Daddy! This is a fun way to present the Gospel using a pumpkin…. Similar to the way my husband presented it a couple years ago!
- You could invite a family in your neighborhood or from your child’s class to come to your home for pizza before heading out to trick-or-treat together. It’s a great night to reach out and invite others into your family traditions!
November 11th – Veterans’ Day
- There are many ways to honor Veterans on Veterans’ Day. This blog was written by the granddaughter of a Veteran with her Papa’s help and gives 10 ways you can teach children to honor Veterans.
- Attend a Veteran’s Day parade together and show your children how to respect those in uniform. You can also take “Thank You for Your Service” cards to the Veteran’s Hospital and hand them out to anyone the nurses allow you to connect with!
November 28th – Thanksgiving Day
- This is a blog post I wrote giving ways to prepare for, enjoy and continue the Day of Thanks for families.
- This is a wonderful time to bring people who aren’t living near family to celebrate Thanksgiving with your family. You can also make turkeys out of handprints and give them out in your neighborhood or at an assisted living center to brighten people’s days!
November 29th – Day after Thanksgiving Day (Black Friday)
- Many people like to put up their Christmas tree on this day (or the next). When we put up our tree, we like to have Christmas music, give everyone their own ornaments to hang, and we drink hot chocolate (with whole milk, a fun-size Hershey’s bar, and some baby marshmallows)! We also love to watch a Christmas Movie that evening to kick off the Christmas season. Though our family does this tradition MUCH earlier in the month!
- You could offer to babysit a single mama’s kiddos while she goes shopping that day or bring a slow cooker meal to someone you know is going to cut down their Christmas tree that day!
December 25th – Christmas Day
- One of our family’s favorite Christmas traditions actually starts December 1st. You can read all about our Jesus Storybook Bible Jesse Trees. How to Plan the Party The Ornament Exchange
- You can spend time as a family praying for those you know you are in the hospital this Christmas and send them a quick text or facetime them to let them know they are important to you on this holiday!
December 31st – New Year’s Eve
- We like to get together with friends for an early countdown. We could celebrate Santiago Chile’s New Years… happening at 8:00pm our time! We like to have sparkling cider and fun appetizer foods and watch one of the cute Netflix cartoon countdowns.
- You could pray for a non-believing friend to come to know Jesus this year right at midnight! What a good perspective to start the year off right!
Bonus Service Project Ideas for your Family:
- Operation Christmas Child boxes
- Our Church collects Operation Christmas Child boxes that we get back to Samaritan’s Purse to distribute to children in need all over the world.
- It’s a fun project to do as a family. We like to do one boy box and one girl box and we choose an age closest to our children’s ages. We collect small, fun items throughout the year to put in the box (toys, crayons, packs of stickers, coloring books, toothbrush and travel size toothpaste… see the list of appropriate items here: https://www.samaritanspurse.org/what-we-do/operation-christmas-child/)
- Make Blessing Bags for the Homeless.
- Our church did an assembly line with the children in our Sunday school classes to create gallon bag sized Blessing Bags. This is a very simple way to serve someone as a family. You can go to Walmart or the Dollar Tree and fill a gallon sized bag of all sorts of helpful things. This is a cool blog post from a mom who has actually been there and what is most helpful.
- What to do with the Blessing bags?
- Keep them handy in your car
- Deliver them in person (with older children) downtown Denver at Civic Park or to the Douglas/Elbert Task Force