Beware: I’m about to get up on my soapbox and start singing “Where Are You, Christmas?” like Cindy Lou Who so masterfully does in How the Grinch Stole Christmas.
Really though— it’s easy to be bombarded by commercials, crazy sales, and wishlists at this time of the year. Let’s try to revive the reason for the season, the birth of a Holy prophet that is a luminary of generosity and compassion. You don’t have to be religious or spiritual to appreciate the opportune time of this festive season to give back to your community.
Volunteer at a food bank/soup kitchen with your family!
- Organizations that distribute and deliver foodstuffs for free get really busy during this time of year! Most food banks or soup kitchens can always use an extra hand (or five). Check with one near you if volunteers need any training or orientation, and bring the family!
Ask guests to bring canned foods/other donations in lieu of hosting gifts!
Serve at a Christmas Eve/Day Feast!
- I highlighted a similar event in my Thanksgiving Ways to Give Back post, but many organizations in metropolitan cities have some kind of Christmas Day or Dinner Feast for low-income or homeless families.
- Volunteers serve guests food, and usually there are multiple events going on for the kids to enjoy.
Making Holiday Cards
- This is an ideal activity to do with your whole family, on a cold day, while listening to festive music and drinking hot cocoa (can you tell I have this whole situation set up in my head for my future family? lol) All you need is paper and markers! So simple, and really enjoyable for families with younger kids!
Participate in a program like “Operation Santa” or “Adopt A Family”
- Only a handful of post offices around the country are participating in Operation Santa this year
- Here is a PDF of those cities that are participating
- More about this awesome program
Hand out blankets to the homeless in a nearby city!
- If you’re reading this, there’s a good chance you have the luxury of living in a house with temperature control. You can probably relax at home with a warm blanket and cup of tea despite the frigid weather outside. It is important to remind ourselves that there are people fighting for spots at homeless shelters during this time of year. People are still sleeping on the concrete with nothing more than the clothes on their backs. Simply hand delivering blankets or clothes to the homeless population in your city can really brighten someone’s day and holiday season.
- I haven’t done this yet, but the idea is SO cute, I definitely want to! Many homeless people lack basic hygiene tools like toilet paper, toothbrushes, toothpaste, and soap. Get some stockings from the dollar store and fill it with some of these essentials!
- Snacks would be great to put in here too, but most states ban people from giving homeless people food (angry face)
Host a Giving Party!
- I did this with a friend a few years ago and it was so much fun; I definitely plan on doing it again! Ask your guests to bring donations (we did blankets and cases of water) and have a gift wrapping game with these donations.
Make and Deliver some yummy treats for your neighbors or public servants!
- For the under appreciated garbage collector, UPS deliverer, or landscaper; brighten their days by showing them your appreciation through some sugary treats that are fun to bake and deliver
- I think giving on behalf of a loved one is an extremely personal and heartwarming gift. Think about what your loved ones are passionate about. Does your son have a sweet spot for abused animals? Is your partner passionate about domestic violence prevention? Make a donation in their name and write a letter explaining the significance of the organization and how it relates to that person.
- UNICEF market sells a wide assortment of beautiful gifts handmade by artisans all over the world. Proceeds of each item go towards furthering UNICEF’s agenda for helping uplift and better the life of impoverished children, and to the artist of course.
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If you’d like to read more from Zahra visit her blog here!