The holiday season is a time that makes many of us realize just how lucky we are. Surrounded by loved ones, tucked under blankets, and full of delicious holiday meals, we gain a greater understanding of the importance of home and family. This is a great time to focus on these feelings, but it’s also a great time to practice charitable giving as well.
While there are endless organizations that can use our monetary donations, charitable giving does not always mean financial contributions or donations. There are many ways to give back that simply involve a little bit of your time and offering a helping hand. If you’re looking for ideas for giving back during the holidays, we’ve got a few to share.
This is a great way to practice giving back during the holiday season. It’s easy and doesn’t cost much (nothing at all if you’re donating extras from your pantry). But it can still make a big impact. Set up a drop-off station in your home or on your front porch, and then let your neighbors, friends, and family know that you’ll be collecting food for your local food bank. You can check your local food bank’s website or give them a quick call to see which items they need the most. This way, you’ll have specific information to provide when you start spreading the word about your community food drive.
Volunteering is another easy and low-cost way to get involved and give back to the community. In just a few hours, you can help your local food bank or pantry collect, package, or distribute food for families in need. You can also volunteer at a local toy drive, a senior center, or bring clothes or food to a local shelter.
Animal lovers can volunteer to walk, feed, or play with the pets at their local shelter. The options are endless. If you Google “volunteering in [your town],” you’ll have a list of ways to give back in your community. Whichever you choose, bring your loved ones or friends along to start a new holiday season tradition.
If the idea of in-person volunteering sounds less than ideal to you this holiday season due to ongoing risks related to coronavirus, consider an online alternative. From the comfort of your couch, you can create an online fundraiser for your local food bank or a larger organization, like Feeding America or Toys for Tots. If you’re getting ready to do some holiday shopping, choose a charity through Amazon Smile or eBay to have a portion of your purchases automatically donated.
If you’re looking to maximize your efforts by combining financial and non-financial giving, choose the balance that works best for you. If you make just a $10 donation, but you spend several hours volunteering, your time is making much more of an impact. There’s no rule that says you have to stretch your budget beyond its breaking point. You can give as much or as little as you choose.
But be sure to check Charity Navigator before you choose. They provide detailed assessments, charity ratings, and tips to help you maximize your impact and align your contributions with your goals. When you’ve identified a charity that aligns with your values and come up with a contribution amount that works for you, set a budget that includes charitable giving so you’re ready for next year
For many people, the holidays can be difficult. If you’re lucky enough to have a warm home, a hot meal on the table, and a loving family around you, you can show gratitude by reaching out to others who are not so fortunate. Even if times are tough for you, the exercise of penning a note to another in need can be a heartwarming experience. Turn it into a family activity and work together to create notes, letters, and cards to send to let others know that you’re thinking of them and wishing them well.
This is one of the best ways to give back as a family this holiday season. Whether you’re sending them off to a local family you know, elderly individuals in a nursing home, or your local homeless shelter, these warm holiday wishes are an easy and thoughtful way to bring some cheer to another person’s day.