The season of giving is upon us – giving gifts, delicious dishes, laughter and love. The holiday season is known for bringing joy and cheer, however for some, this season can bring loneliness and sadness. Even the smallest acts of kindness can give more than you might think. Not only are you giving to others, you are giving joy and fulfillment to yourself, elevating your own mood and inspiring others to give back as well.
“Give yourself entirely to those around you. Be generous with your blessings. A kind gesture can reach a wound that only compassion can heal.”
Giving back, especially during the holiday season, is a fantastic way to bring joy to someone’s life as well as yours. Here are 10 ideas to help you give more than gifts this season.
1. Random Acts of Kindness: “You have never really lived until you have done something for someone who can never repay you.” It can be as simple as picking a flower and writing a beautiful note that you leave for stranger, buying a pair of socks or passing out meals for the homeless, paying for someone else’s in a drive through, or preparing a meal for the less-fortunate family in your neighborhood. Even the smallest gesture can go a long way and inspire others to give just as you have, spreading kindness throughout the community.
2. Share Your Pet: Our furry friends bring huge smiles to our faces, so why not share the love? Consider bringing your pet to a local senior center, hospital or veteran’s club to help spread some sloppy kisses and joy. Some local animal shelters also have programs to bring your pet to visit local seniors around your community that could use a bit of cheer this season. Reach out to your local shelter to ask if they have a home visitation program and ensure that you check with the senior center or hospital prior to bringing your pet to visit.
3. Holiday Cards for Hospitalized Kids: Hospitalized children often feel lonely, scared, different from peers, and forgotten. They also have to cope with missing out on normal childhood experiences like attending school regularly, taken for granted by most. An uplifting, handmade card helps with these challenges, brightening the child’s day, making them feel special and reminding them they are not forgotten because they are sick. Visit http://www.cardsforhospitalizedkids.com/ to begin creating a card.
4. Shop for a Cause: Want to give gifts that keep giving this season? There are many socially conscious companies that donate to different causes and help you become more aware of the impact your purchase has on the environment, children, animals, and society as a whole. Krochet Kids, TOMS, and The Giving Keys are just a few companies with great holiday gifts that give back. Give Activewear is dedicated to ending world hunger, starting with Uganda, and providing up to 15 life-saving meals to severely malnourished children in Uganda. Shop our collection to make an impact and help save lives.
5. Local Volunteering: Volunteers are greatly needed in any season, but especially during the holidays, when many local food distribution events take place to feed the hungry and help provide holiday meals to families in need. Animal shelters need help with the increase in take-ins, and many hospitals need help providing festive cheer to patients spending their holidays away from home. VolunteerMatch is a great tool to help you get started and find the perfect volunteer opportunity, matching you with a cause you care about in your local area.
6. Use Your Talents: Another great way to volunteer to help those in need this season is to use your talents. Great a playing the piano? Volunteer at a local senior center to play for their holiday party. Dog whisperer? Volunteer at your local animal shelter as a dog walker. Aspiring chef? Volunteer to cook a holiday meal at a local homeless shelter or private care facility. You may even finally find a use for your hilarious impression of Donald Trump, making seniors and children laugh at a local hospital.
7. Adopt a Family: There are many families that live on a very tight budget year-round and holidays can make hard times even more difficult. Adopt a family in need this holiday season and provide them with a grocery gift card, homemade baked goods, gifts for the kids, or warm coats to keep healthy through the winter. There are many programs that offer an easy way to get started like, Soldier’s Angels, who provide to struggling military families, or The Salvation Army’s Adopt-A-Family program.
8. Donate: “The things you take for granted, someone else is praying for.” There are so many people, children, and animals in need throughout the year. Even if a monetary donation is not in your budget this season, take a look around your house, clean out your closets, and find items that you may no longer need, but can be a life-saver for others. Going through your old coats and donating to those who may not have a winter coast this year, or hosting a sock drive at your school or office and donating to a local homeless shelter are great ways to donate on a budget. Animals shelters are in need of blankets, pet bedding and to keep their fuzzy friends warm. A quick google search for donations needed in your area can help you get started.
9. Cookie Swap: Get a few of your friends together for a baking party this season. Who doesn’t love cookies and wine?! Double your batch and whip up some tasty treats to donate to a local soup kitchen, police station, or veteran’s club. Or, you can even host a neighborhood bake sale to raise money for a cause you feel strongly about. Soldiers’ Angels has an Angel Bakers program where you can donate your homemade baked goods to deployed soldiers to give them a taste of home even if they can’t be there during the holidays.
10. Become a Big Sister: The holidays can be a lonely time for children who don’t have their family around as much as they’d like. As a Big Sister, you can give a little girl the opportunity to see beyond her everyday world a dream bigger. It can start with simply bringing her along to enjoy the things you already love to do. For just a few hours a couple times a month, you can give her the invaluable gift of your guidance and friendship. Apply to become a big sister and even just giving your time can mean a world of difference to these children.
These are just a few of the many ways you can give back in your local community this holiday season, but we’re sure there are plenty more.
Have a great idea? Share with us below!