This busy time of year is so filled with activities, parties, and so many fun things to do with our families. But, in all of the hustle and bustle, hassles and stress, I like to remember what the season is all about. To remember to give back to those who may not enjoy this season as much. Today, I’d like to share with you some of my favorite ways to give back this season. Things that won’t break the bank, but will remind us to give this season, not just to receive.
Volunteer at your local Food bank. Donate your time and some food. The Holiday season is most likely the busiest time at these places. It’s cold and they run low on most food items. They need volunteers all year, but especially during the Holidays. You can volunteer by yourself, or even better, as a family. I think one of the greatest ways to give our children perspective, is to show them that there are others less fortunate than us.
Go through your clothes and toys- have your littles do the same (age appropriately, of course). Back during Thanksgiving, I explained to my 3 year old that some kids didn’t have as many toys as us, and that with Christmas coming, maybe we should go through our toys and share some of them with friends. We went through a lot of his toys, and I was pleasantly surprised at how many he decided to get rid of. I kept explaining that by sharing them, we wouldn’t have them anymore. And he totally understood! He kept going through and saying, “Bye bye- share with friends.” His share pile was much bigger than I ever expected. We were able to get rid of a lot of toys to share, and helped de-clutter our home in the process…win-win!
I came across this website: Donation Town that helps you find cities in your area that accept donations. Or contact your local Toys for Tots, Goodwill, or Salvation Army.
Speaking of the Salvation Army, before we had a toddler, we used to volunteer every year as bell-ringers. This is another simple thing you can do as a family, that just takes a few hours, but teaches your kiddos about giving back. We will definitely do it again once our little man is older. There’s just something about smiling and wishing others a Merry Christmas that really spreads the Christmas cheer. And you’re helping raise money for a great organization.
Operation Christmas Child through Samaritan’s Purse is another program that we participate in each year through our home church. You fill a shoebox with various items: small toys, socks, toiletries, etc; and it goes to a family in need in countries all over the world. It’s fun to let your kids help pick out the gifts and helps them to connect to whomever you’re sending your box to. You can even include a letter, and get a pen pal out of the deal. Someone your family can connect with across the world.
Amazon Smile is a great option if you just don’t have time to donate, but want to give a little back. Every purchase you make on Amazon, if you use Amazon smile instead (which is the exact same site), gives a percentage back to a charity of your choice. There are a ton to choose from. When I shop on Amazon Smile, I support Cranio Care Bears because as a Momma of a Cranio Kid, it’s near and dear to my heart. But, you can choose whatever charity you would like to support. A small way to give back, but every little bit counts.
Random acts of Kindness are one of my favorite ways to spread the Christmas spirit. Bake a neighbor some cookies. Pay for the person behind you in line. Send flowers to a friend. Whatever you do, do it anonymously and spread a little love this season.
Visit a local nursing home. We used to go caroling at the nursing homes in the surrounding area, but visiting is just fine. This time of year, people really miss their families. Just sit and talk with the residents. Listen to their stories. Maybe take small gifts. They SO enjoy it, and you will enjoy it too. I’ve heard wonderful and amazing stories from these men and women. It’s so very heartwarming to see them light up when you take a little time to visit with them.
There are lots of other ways to give back this season, ask your church or local missions where there’s a need and fill accordingly. What are ways you like to give back?