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Get in the Holiday Spirit by Giving Back

In the commercialization of the holiday season, the true meaning has gotten lost.  Here are some fun creative ways to get into the holiday spirit by giving back.

Finding ways to give back during the holiday season is a great way to get into the holiday spirit. It doesn't take a great deal of money or effort but can have a huge impact on someone's holiday season.Tomorrow is Thanksgiving, and then tomorrow evening starts the pre Black Friday sales.  We won’t even get through Thanksgiving Thursday before the gift buying pressure encroaches on us.  The pressure to get the biggest and best gift at the lowest price has already started.  I have often joked in the past, that if Black Friday continues to start earlier each year, it won’t be long before we see Santa costumes on Halloween.

The true meaning of the holiday season tends to get lost in the gimme, gimme, gimme, get. get, get mentality.  Sam and I have made it a point, every holiday season, to do some activities with Zoe that give back to the community.  We make a real effort to teach her it is as important to give to others as it is to receive.

Giving back doesn’t have to be a huge production, or cost a lot of money.  Simple acts of kindness are easy enough to do, are often free, and spread the holiday cheer to those around you.   I’ve come up with some ways you and your family can give back this holiday season, and celebrate the true meaning of the holiday.

Giving Back this Holiday Season

Homemade Treats

We do a lot of our holiday shopping online, for any number of reasons.  Because of that, we have gotten to know our mail-person, quite well.  During the holiday season, I will put together a small plate or box of holiday cookies for her.  I also buy disposable hot cups and offer her coffee, hot cocoa, or just a bottle of water.  She spends a great deal of her day getting in and out of her truck, and during November and December that can get quite cold.  The coffee/cocoa are a great way to offer her a way to warm up on those cold blustery days.

We also have several neighbors who’s family lives out-of-state.  They don’t always get to spend the holidays with their family  So we share our holiday cookies (because OMG we always have too many cookies, and I don’t want to spend days grazing on them) with them, and make Christmas cards for them.  They appreciate being remembered during the holidays, and a little touch of homemade feels like family, when theirs can’t be here.  Giving back by way of service to others is a great way to get into the holiday spirit.

Adopt a Family

I can not tell you how deeply adopting a family at Christmas touches my heart.  Sam and I both have had Christmases when the presents under the tree that year were bought by other people because we could not afford to give our own children a Christmas. It is deeply personal way of giving back to me.  I get to do for others what was done for me when I truly needed it.  I can tell you, from personal experience, you don’t have to spend a great deal of money on gifts for a needy family, kids appreciate any gift they get to open, and parents are beyond grateful to see their child have a gift to open.

Give to the Bell Ringers

There were several years when I was working in the corporate world, when I would receive a holiday bonus from my boss.  Let me tell you, those are super nice, and can add a little extra under the tree. I always donated at least 10% of my Christmas bonus to the bell ringers.  You don’t have to donate to the Salvation Army, you can donate to any charity of your choosing.  I always gave to the Salvation Army because it was easy, and right there as I was leaving the store.

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Toys for Tots

Toys for Tots is a great way to teach children about giving during the holiday season.  If your kids are old enough to understand giving the toy to a child in need, take them with you and let them pick out the toy or toys to donate.  I know that some younger kids would have a difficult time picking out a toy and then giving it away.  Allowing your child to help pick out the toys being donated, gives them a real sense of giving during the holidays.

Volunteer at your Church

During the holiday season churches get more requests for help from people in the community.  Contact your pastor at your church as offer to volunteer.  There is always more need than there are resources to fill those needs.  Ask in what ways your talents can be used to help those in need this season.  Maybe get a group together and visit a nursing home, or homeless shelter.  Maybe you’re really good at wrapping gifts and you can offer to do that for families who might need or want that help.

Shop Locally

Instead of buying your holiday gifts, cards, or decorations at the big chain stores, do a little research and find locally owned places to shop.  You will be able to find unique gift ideas or decorations there, and you will be supporting a local family who often gets overlooked during the holiday season.  You can also offer to shop from your friends on social media who are making their living selling things online.

Babysit for Free

Offer to watch your friends’ kids one night so they can go out and get their holiday shopping started, or maybe finished without having to pay a babysitter to watch the kids.  Or host a holiday movie day at your house so your friends can wrap their kids presents without having to hide in their bedroom while the kids knock on the door every two minutes.  There is nothing more stressful than trying to get the Christmas gifts wrapped while the kids are home, without them finding out what they are getting.

Finding ways to give back during the holiday season is a great way to get into the holiday spirit. It doesn't take a great deal of money or effort but can have a huge impact on someone's holiday season.

These are just a few ideas to get the ball rolling and get you thinking about ways you can give back this holiday season.  Doing a little something extra doesn’t take a great deal of money or effort but is will have a huge impact on the life of the person receiving your gift, whatever it is.

 

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Want to get into the holiday season this year?  Give back to those in your community who are less fortunate than you.  Here are some ways you can give back that don't require a great deal of money or effort.

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