You know that warm, fuzzy feeling you get when you come across a heart-warming Facebook video of someone helping out a person in need? I know I do, and on top of that warm and fuzzy feeling, I’m also crying into a tissue at the same time. The holidays are a time of great joy and happiness for many, as everyone comes together to celebrate love and life. There’s the wonderful baking of Christmas cookies, picking out a perfect tree with family, marathoning nostalgic Christmas movies, and of course, exchanging presents with loved ones. There is so much to be thankful for during these joyous times, however, there are many people in situations that hinder their happiness, especially around the holidays. Because many of us are immensely blessed during the holidays, I’m sure you may be wondering, “how can I give back?”
There are so many ways to give back, pay it forward, and spread the holiday cheer and I promise they are so simple, you’ll want to do these all year! Are you feeling super grateful and blessed this holiday season? Wanting to share your blessings with others in need? Check out these top five ways to spread the holiday cheer this season!
Ways to Give Back – Clean Out Your Closet
My name is Alicia and I am guilty of being a clothing hoarder. Yes, I am guilty of having way too many clothes and not enough days in the year to wear each piece that I own. If you are like me and have drawers overflowing with clothes and you’re scared to open your closet, donate unwanted items of clothing! It’s super easy, pick a day and go through your drawers and closet for t-shirts, pants, pajamas, coats, sweaters, shoes, etc., that you do not wear and put them in a trash bag or box to donate.
Deciding on where to donate your clothes may be tough, but you can never go wrong with donating to the Salvation Army or Goodwill as they both are great organizations that help people in need! This is a great way to give back, and you don’t even have to go far to do so!
Ways to Give Back – Buy an Extra Canned Good
Next time you are at the grocery store, pick up some extra canned goods to donate to a food bank. Canned goods like vegetables, fruits, soups, and tuna/chicken are great to donate and are also inexpensive! At most grocery stores, you can get canned goods for no more than $2 and in most cases, less than a $1. Many people are hungry, which proves to be even more difficult around the holidays when everyone is super indulgent. Also, if you are feeling extra generous, it is also great to donate toiletries like toilet paper, soap/shampoo, toothbrushes/toothpaste, etc., to food banks as well! In addition to accepting non-perishable food items, food banks also accept school supplies and toiletries, so if you have an extra pack of pens or bar of soap lying around, donate it!
Ways to Give Back – Volunteer at a Soup Kitchen
As mentioned earlier, many people are hungry year-round, and it’s especially hard to be hungry during the holidays. To help people in need of food, volunteer at your local soup kitchen/food bank! While volunteering, you get the wonderful opportunity to share joy, smiles or a hot plate of food with someone who is in need of perhaps all three. One of the most important elements of the holidays is love, and through volunteering, you are showing love to those who desperately are in need of it. This love can simply come in the for of a warm greeting, a big smile, a tight hug, or a fresh plate of food for a hungry stomach. Regardless of how you help out at the soup kitchen, whether it be through preparing food, serving food, or talking with people, you are spreading the greatest message of the holidays which is love.
Have a Bake Sale
Many people, myself included, bake like crazy during the holidays. Cakes, cookies, breads, you name it, there’s always something in the oven around this time of year. When baking for your loved ones this season, consider doubling your recipe and making extra to sell in a bake sale! Having a bake sale is a great way to raise money for charities during the season because not only do people loved baked goods around Christmas, but people also feel more generous and giving during this time too! Pick a charity that is close to you or that you connect strongly with and bake away!
Participate in Toys for Tots
Perhaps the biggest component of the holiday season is the gift giving. Many of us are blessed with an abundance of great gifts, but there are many little ones that want just one small, single toy who unfortunately, do not get it due to a plethora of reasons. Next time you are out shopping, perhaps at the Dollar Store, Five Below, or Target, pick out a couple of small, inexpensive toys to donate to families who cannot afford to give gifts to their children.
In this article, I only listed five ways to uplift people and spread love this season, but there are many, many more ways to do so! Tap into your heart and find what you are passionate about doing to discover how you can help those in need for the holidays. Do you love to play music? Maybe you can volunteer at a Senior Center to play Christmas music to elderly residents! Whatever you want to do, just remember that one small act of kindness can go a very long way.