The holidays are filled with gatherings, family and friends, smiles and giving. But the reason for the season can get overshadowed by the pressure to consume. So if you want to do something to give back and spread smiles, here are six great things to spread some holiday cheer.
Send a hand-written thank you card to someone in the military or a veteran. This time of year, the people who are sacrificing the most for our country tend to feel the loneliest. Sending a holiday card to say thank you and show that you’re thinking of them is a great way to show your appreciation. Plus, it’s a thoughtful way to give back that’s low-cost. The American Red Cross has a great way to send cards to active-duty military members, such as the Holidays for Heroes program.
Donate to a food pantry or food bank. Another group of people who tend to feel more in need than usual are low-income families. Collecting items from your community with your family and donating the goods to a food bank can help alleviate some of the need around your area. You can facilitate your own food drive or gather cash and food donations to contribute to a food drive run by another organization.
Volunteer your time to people in need. If you don’t have cash to spare for donations, you can volunteer at a homeless shelter or women and children’s shelter. Volunteering your time in assisting with food prep or meal services is just as valuable as donating money. Meeting the people you’re helping can be a great experience for you as well, so make sure you bring your entire family along to participate.
Donate your gently-used clothing. If you or your family has been collecting piles of clothes you no longer wear, including bed sheets, towels, washcloths, and other items, donating them to places like Goodwill can make a huge difference for families in need. Make sure the drop-off bin you use accepts donations for charitable purposes. Otherwise, you could put items in a bin that will go to a for-profit group.
Get together a group of your friends to support a family. Supporting a family during the holiday season is easy to do through churches or other local groups. These groups gather the information of families who are low-income, such as their clothing sizes and holiday wish lists. Once you choose a family to sponsor you and your friends take care of their holiday needs.
Have your children pick out toys to donate to Toys for Tots. Instead of adopting a family for the holidays, you can donate to local Toys for Tots charities. Donating to Toys for Tots is an act of giving that young children can have fun getting involved in.
Whether you decide to donate your time, money or belongings, turning your family’s focus from exchanging gifts to giving back can help spread smiles the whole holiday season.