With millions of people worldwide laid off from their jobs due to the pandemic, chances are you may know someone in your own life who is struggling to make ends meet.
If you are blessed to still have a job, or a nest egg to fall back on, you may be wondering how you can show them you care.
Many years ago, I went through two separate, two-year layoffs (all while as a single mom), so I’m hoping some of the examples will prove helpful to you as we all navigate the Christmas season during the first pandemic of our lives, together.
1. The first and most important thing you can do is continue to pray for the individual and/or their family—and, on a regular basis, let them know you are doing so.
2. If there are children involved, discreetly let the parents know how much it would mean to you if they would “let” you be a blessing to them this Christmas by providing a gift or two for each child (regardless of their ages). Speak to them in lovingkindness and without a condescending tone. Assure them that you do not wish to be repaid in the future.
3. A suggested conversation may go something along these lines: “We know things aren’t easy for you right now, especially with the pandemic and we’d like to help. It would mean so much to us if you would allow us the privilege of picking up a few gifts for your kids and delivering them to you wrapped, as being “from Santa” or “from you” (depending on the ages of the kids).
We know if the situation were reversed, you would do the same for our family, and who knows? What has happened to you, could happen to us next week, so please let us be a blessing to you and your family—no strings attached.”
4. If such a conversation makes you cringe with discomfort or you feel it would not be well received by the couple, you may consider mailing gift cards from various stores to them (anonymously) and if possible, from different zip codes so they won’t be able to figure out who they were sent by. This is actually quite fun!
5. Should you also be laid off and without extra cash, offer to babysit each other’s kids to give you and your spouse some much-need time to decompress, cry, make love, etc.
6. If you feel comfortable doing so, invite your friends over at some point during the holidays, and remind them the best gift of all is Jesus—and their friendship—and that no gifts be exchanged this year. Doing so would help them feel loved and valued without any expectations or pressure.
7. Another idea would be—if possible— to help their kids write a letter or draw a Christmas card for their parents to give to them, letting them know they are loved unconditionally just like Jesus loves us unconditionally!
8. Invite your friends to join you and your family to celebrate Christmas by attending a worship service or virtual service together.
9. If either or both father/mother are very proud and you know they will not accept handouts, maybe think of something they could do for you with the understanding that they be paid for their time and services.
Suggestions could be helping you update your computer’s software programs, or organizing photos on your desktop. Or, doing the yard, helping paint the house, discover the mysterious car problem and fix it. The possibilities are endless. My brother and sister-in-law paid me quite well to babysit their daughter, which helped give me some level of dignity.
10. Look for ways to volunteer in your community together with others, and let that time spent together be the gift of a beautiful memory.
If you or someone you know is laid off, while you are sharing time, prayer and gifts, please remember to share with them the good news of the gospel and God’s free gift of salvation.
May God bless you and your families now and in the years to come; but more importantly, may you each, bless Him.