Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Ten Creative Ways to Thank Your Volunteers This Christmas

 Here are ten simple ways to say "thanks" to your volunteers and coworkers this Christmas. Choose one or more to try with your own group. (You may want to save some for the new year.) But remember, a simple word of encouragement or a handwritten note during the year can go a long way toward boosting your volunteers' spirits while showing your appreciation for a job well done.

Ten Creative Ways to Thank Your Volunteers
 1. Send each of your volunteers a Christmas card (add a few jewels or sparkling Christmas tree stickers to give your store-bought cards a hand-made flair). In addition to your hand-written greeting on the card, type a special note of appreciation highlighting the contributions of each volunteer.

 2. Print a personalized Christmas certificate for each volunteer. Come up with a list of characteristics to describe each of your helpers such as, "Most thoughtful, quickest diaper changer, most organized, best hugger, most grandmotherly, calmest rocking chair moves, most soothing singer, craziest, most fun-loving, best hat-wearer, most prayerful, best game leader, fastest runner, best air-guitar player, most artistic, best finger-painter, etc.) Decorate the certificates with Christmas stickers, and have the children's director and pastor sign them. Present each certificate along with a handshake as you read the description for all to hear.
3. Have a "Build Your Own Taco" night. Provide sides of tomatoes, cheese, olives, cilantro, salsa, onions, sour cream, guacamole, and lettuce. Brown ground beef or turkey and warm up flour and corn tortillas (soft and/or hard shells). You may want to ask some parents of your students to supply beans, corn, rice, and brownies (or churros) for dessert. Say a prayer of thanks for your team before letting them fill their plates. After they eat, say a brief word of appreciation about each volunteer.

 4. Purchase an inexpensive Christmas mug for each volunteer. Use a gold pen or green permanent marker to add the person's name to the mug. Fill it with a tea bag or individual coffee and a few candies.

 5. Purchase a large box of inexpensive Christmas glass ball ornaments. Use a gold pen or red and green permanent markers to add the person's name to the ornament along with the word THANKS! You may want to have your church's children's director or pastor sign it. Wrap it in an attractive gift bag and tie it with a festive ribbon.

 6. Have a Christmas tea for your volunteers. Serve muffins or scones along with various flavors of tea. Provide lemon, honey, cream, and sugar cubes. Borrow tea cups and saucers from church members. Let your parents decorate the tables with a festive centerpiece or small Christmas tree. Have each person at the table print his or her name on a slip of paper and place the slips in an envelope (one envelope per table). Draw one slip from each envelope and let the winners take home the centerpieces.

 7. Let your students trace their handprints onto green paper and cut them out. Glue 7-8 handprints into a circle (overlapping, with the fingers pointing out) to form a wreath. Have the children print THANKS on each of the wreaths, add a red bow, and tape a ribbon hanger to the back. Have the children sign their names on the back and present the handprint wreaths to your volunteers.

 8. Collect small fabric bags with ribbon drawstrings. Let your students fill each bag with chocolate Hugs™ and Kisses™ and pull the drawstring (or tie the bag with a ribbon). Have the children make small cards that say, "Hugs to you, our wonderful volunteer." Punch a hole in the corner of each card. Help the child tie the card to the ribbon. Present the candy bags to your volunteers with a word of thanks.

  9. Ask your church members and parents of your students to donate $5.00 or $5.00 gift cards to your local coffee house, music store, Christian bookstore, or department store. Use the money to buy additional gift cards so you have one for each of your volunteers. Place each gift card in an envelope labeled THANKS. Let your students decorate the envelopes with drawings and stickers of Jesus' birth or nativity scenes.

10. Make traditional Christmas crackers filled with small trinkets. Collect empty toilet tissue rolls and paper towel rolls cut in half. Gather small wrapped candies, Christmas trinkets, small notepads or sticky notes, lip balm, pins, small pens, etc. Cover one end of the cardboard roll with tissue paper and secure it with a rubber band. Let your students make a small card of thanks for each of your volunteers. Fill the tube halfway with the items you have collected. Cover the entire tube with tissue paper that's longer than the tube. Twist the ends and tape them shut or use twist ties on each end. Tape a card to each Christmas cracker and give them to your volunteers with a Christmas greeting.

However you choose to thank them, Christmas is a wonderful time show your appreciation and to thank God for blessing you with your volunteers!

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