There really are many different ways you make make a difference during the holidays and, to be honest, many won't take much effort on your part but would mean the world to someone in need or feeling alone. Here are ten ideas to giving back during the holidays:
1. Donate to a food bank. A lot of food banks have been hit hard during 2020 and are in need of dry and can goods. When you go to the grocery store for your Christmas meal, put some extra can goods in your cart and take them over to the local food bank.
2. Write Christmas cards to residents at a nursing home or assisted living facility. Most nursing homes and assisted living facilities residents have been in isolation and not able to visit with their family or friends since March of this year. Chances are they will not be able to do so for Christmas either! You can make their Christmas a little brighter by dropping off a card and/or present! If you call a nursing home or assisted living facility in your area and talk to the facility supervisor, they should be able to give you the first name only of each resident so you can make each card more personal before dropping off at the facility. What a wonderful way to spread God's love by helping someone remember they are not alone and being prayed for!
3. Adopt a family. By contacting a local church or welfare agency in your area, you can find out a family that might be in specific need and take them a Christmas meal as well as buying a present for each one of the family members or one present the whole family can appreciate.
4. Clean out a toy box. Many children today have tons of toys they never play with and are in pretty good condition. What a way to teach your children about being blessed and that not all children are as lucky. Have your child go through his or her toy box to decide what toys they would like to give to a needy family. It gives a gift to someone less fortunate as well as teaches your child to appreciate the many blessings they have in their life.
5. Phone a friend. Text messages are okay, but there is nothing like getting a phone call from an old friend. It doesn't have to be on Christmas day, but since Christmas is falling on Friday this year what about taking time over the weekend to call and old friend (especially one who may have lost a love one recently and this is their first Christmas without them) and check in on them.
6. Remember your four-legged friends. Winter is always a time to remember our four-legged friends who are living in the shelters and don't have a family to spend it with. The shelters are always in need of blankets and old towels to help keep the animals warm so why not go to a thrift store or Goodwill and see what you can find to donate to your local animal shelter. Of course, taking bags of food, treats and toys can help make their time at the shelter just a little more pleasant! Volunteering for a local shelter and taking the animals for walks and playtime would be a great way to give back throughout the entire year!
7. Pack stockings for homeless people. It is not our place to judge why someone is homeless. We don't know what circumstances may have happened in their life to cause them to be where they are now. God tells us to love and take care of those less fortunate. The song by Mark Wills "Don't Laugh at Me" is such a great reminder that we truly never know why a person is in a position that they are in life. Go to the Dollar Store and purchase some stockings as well as every day essentials such a toothbrush, toothpaste, soap, socks, deodorant, etc. and find someone in need that will appreciate being thought of during the holiday season.
8. Bake cookies or casseroles. Homemade cookies or dinner would always be greatly appreciated by someone that has to work over the holidays whether that is a policeman, firefighter or even your neighbor or friend. My husband was a firefighter for Austin Fire Department for many years, and I know how his crew always appreciated being thought of during the holidays!
9. Send a care package to the military soldier. The holidays can be especially hard on our soldiers! Sending them an extra care package to open for Christmas could really make their Christmas a little more special. Currently Soldiers' Angels is having a "Holiday Stockings for Heroes Drive" and have extended their deadline because of so many requests received. If you would like donate some stocking for this great cause, click here for more information. If you would like to give back year round, they have Special Campaigns that you can also participate in. Check out their home page for more information.
10. Raise money for a charity. Find a charity that you feel strong about and give money to it as opposed to buying Christmas gifts for everyone this year. You can include in your Christmas card message that you decided this year to give to a worthy cause for those who are in need. This may inspire someone else to do the same thing!
As you can see, there are many ways to give back during the holidays! I hope you will consider doing one or more of the suggested ideas above and make someone else's Christmas special . . . I know it will be good for your soul too! God Bless and Merry Christmas!
I love spending time with God, writing, reading, snowshoeing, playing country music with my husband, my furry babies, and I am passionate about helping people recognize their potential to live life to its fullest!!!