During the holiday season, do you look forward to or dread the family table conversations? If you fall into the latter category (even if you don't), you might get a good laugh from this 2015 sketch on Saturday Night Live called "A Thanksgiving Miracle." In the sketch, a family barely makes it into their dinner when they start arguing. But then something happens that miraculously brings everyone together: Adele's hit song "Hello" starts playing, and no one can resist singing along. It's hilarious.
At Habitat, we know something else that brings people together: home. We believe that everyone deserves a safe, stable place to call home. When we advocate for policies that support affordable housing, politicians of every political stripe get on board. Here are a few ideas of things you can do with your family that also make a positive difference for housing in the Twin Cities.
Start a conversation
Many families (including mine) go around the table and share what we're grateful for during the holidays. Here are some other conversation starters to foster gratitude for the warmth of home:
- What's a favorite memory of home from your childhood?
- What does home mean to you? (Try distilling it to just one word, and then expanding from there.)
- What's your favorite room in your home? Why?
- What's your favorite volunteer experience? What did you like about it?
- The Twin Cities is in a housing crisis right now—what do you think we should do to make sure everyone in our community has access to the transformational power of homeownership?
Check out our get involved page to see ways to make a difference right now with Habitat.
Give the gift of home
Many families have chosen to shake up their gift-giving routine so they're also giving back to the community. There are a couple of ways you can do that with your family or on your own:
- Challenge yourself (or your entire family) to donate half of what you'd spend on Christmas gifts. An entire congregation did that one holiday season, and they almost doubled their goal and raised enough to build an entire Habitat home.
- Instead of a physical gift, make a donation to Twin Cities Habitat in honor of someone for the holidays (or whatever special occasion you want), and we'll send them a card. This is also a great way to give in memory of a loved one.
- The holidays are a great time to discuss the legacy you'd like to leave someday. There are many ways you can plan now so that you can do even more for families after your lifetime. Check out our planned giving resources, including FreeWill, which allows you to create your will online for free.
- Instead of a family gift exchange, pool your money to help another family buy a home. You can challenge yourselves to see how much you can raise. Here are a few Habitat milestones you can aim for:
- $100 helps one Habitat homebuyer to go through all the classes that prepare them for homeownership, like “understanding homeowner insurance” and “home maintenance and repairs.”
- $250 covers the installation of the sidewalk leading to the front of a new Habitat home—a potential site of kids’ chalk drawings in the summer.
- $1,000 installs all the interior doors of a Habitat home—doors that will give some kids their own room (and privacy) for the first time.
Most people don't know this, but I'll let you in on a secret: Twin Cities Habitat has volunteer opportunities year-round! In fact, you can build on a Habitat home on Saturdays in the winter, which typically isn't available in the summer. But don't worry—you won't have to be out in the snow. Volunteering at a Habitat home in the winter is all inside.
Plus, if you volunteer more than three times from December to February, you'll become a "Winter Warrior" and receive a special gift from us. Learn more about becoming a Winter Warrior.
There are also many other ways to volunteer together in the winter, like at one of our ReStore Home Improvement Outlets.
Volunteering together as a family is one of the greatest bonding experiences you can have. Many families make a tradition out of it, including this family that volunteers each year in memory of one of their family members who was a proud Habitat supporter.
Check out our ReStore DIY page for countless craft projects, like creating decorative holiday trees out of building materials. Then, head to the ReStore with your family and pick up the materials you need for cheap (note: ReStore will not be open from December 24, 2021 through January 3, 2022). Our staff are full of helpful ideas if you need inspiration. Here are a few ideas to jump-start your creativity:
- Fun DIY holiday decorations
- 6 unique DIY decor projects to make with extra building materials
- Tons more DIY ideas with video