Giving Back During the Holidays
With decorations to put up, parties to attend, and gifts to buy, it’s easy for the true meaning of the holiday season to get lost in the hubbub of our busy schedules. Take some time this year to give thanks and give back. There are infinite ways to spread holiday cheer both near and far, among friends and strangers alike. Below are some suggestions on how to use your time, money, or talent to do good.
Adopt a Family
Not all families are able to afford gifts for the holidays on top of the regular necessities. “Adopt a family” programs allow donors to provide gifts and other necessary goods for families that are struggling financially. There are numerous organizations both big and small that organize such programs—look for them at community centers, in neighborhood newsletters, or through religious groups.
Keep Others Warm Through Smalls Deeds
Don’t let the cold get you down! Consider bringing warm beverages or baked goods into your place of work. If you live in an area of the country that gets snow, look for a way to shovel your elderly neighbor’s driveway (you can take on the challenge yourself, or even hire the teenagers down the street to do it). Learn how to crochet or knit and make blankets for shelters, hospitals, or nursing homes. These small acts of kindness and others like them will boost spirits during the holiday season.
Be a Layaway Angel
Paying off a stranger’s layaway items is a great option for those who would like to do good anonymously. Most large retailers offer layaway service and can accommodate your request. We recommend calling ahead so you can visit the store at a time when customer service is able to best help you.
Show Our Service Members Appreciation
Many of our troops deployed abroad have no choice but to be away from home for the holidays, so why not show them some appreciation for their sacrifice? Send a bit of cheer overseas with a care package. There are numerous organizations that will facilitate this good deed, including the USO, Operation Shoebox, and Operation Gratitude.
There are lots of ways that you can help make sure that people in your community have enough to eat during the holidays. You can ask local food pantries which items they are running low on, or contact a food delivery program to transport meals yourself. Soup kitchens may also be looking for extra volunteers during the colder winter months.
Pay a Visit
Helping others doesn’t need to cost you money—you can make a huge difference in someone’s day just by giving your time. Visit nursing homes or hospitals to provide company to those in need of it. A shared conversation and personal connection can mean more than any gift that money can buy.
Buying for the person who already has everything? Why not donate to charity in their honor instead? Choose a cause that is meaningful to the receiver and give with the knowledge that your contribution will continue to have an impact long after the holiday season.
You can dedicate a donation to Planet Aid’s projects on our website. Choose from supporting a number of specific causes—like Teacher Training, Child Aid, or Farmers’ Clubs-- and give the gift that keeps on giving!
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