As we gather with friends and family during the holidays, we tend to look back on the year, reflect on our blessings and give thanks. This is also a good time to look for ways to give back to others and make a real difference for the holidays.
You don’t need to look far to find meaningful ways to give back this holiday season. Here are a few examples of how you can give back and make a real difference for others during the holidays:
- Buy Gifts that Give Back
Consider purchasing gifts from companies that give back. Knowing that a company, from which you choose to buy, helps others, makes the gifts that much better. There are many companies out there, that give back, to choose from.
Of course, you can do your own research, with your favorite companies, to see which causes they support and how your purchases can help forward those initiatives. Making your holiday purchases from these companies this holiday season, will make your gifts extra special.
- Hire Veterans
The men and women who serve our country, without expecting anything in return, often return home to face the same difficulty finding employment that so many others are experiencing right now. The holidays are the perfect time to offer these brave men and women some help. They aren’t looking for handouts, but many of them are eager to support themselves and their families, especially as the holidays approach.
You don’t have to own a business to make this work either. If you’re looking for temporary help with holiday decorating, cleanup, and a variety of odd projects, consider turning to the highly skilled men and women who have served to help you out. Sites like Hire Patriots allow you to post one day jobs, odd jobs, and career opportunities for soldiers and their families. There are few better ways to give back than by giving someone the opportunity to provide for his or her family during the holidays and beyond.
- Visit Hospital Patients
There is never a good time of year to be stuck in a hospital. The holidays are particularly lonely for people who are suffering from extended illnesses or injuries that require hospitalization during the holiday season. This is especially true for children, who are old enough to realize all of the things they will miss, while they are stuck in their hospital rooms.
Paying a visit, bringing smiles, and offering some form of entertainment brightens their days and gives them something to look forward to. Tell a story, bring gifts, or even go to others in the community to bring gifts and distribute them to young and old alike. Most hospitals are happy to provide a list of age appropriate gifts for their wards, in demand items and ideas for entertainment you might be interested in providing.
- Create Mini Gift Bags to Give to the Homeless
The homeless are often forgotten and a little lonelier during the holiday season. Many of them have families they miss and very little to look forward to other than a warm meal and hopefully, a warm place to sleep for the holidays.
What they don’t have are little things that let them know someone cares for their plights. Little gift bags don’t have to cost much, but to people who have nothing, can mean everything. Something as simple as a cinch sac with a small blanket, socks, snacks, toiletries, and a special holiday treat like miniature chocolate candies, can brighten their season so much.
- Offer to Run Holiday Errands (shopping, picking up packages, etc. for elderly neighbors)
Elderly people who aren’t able to get out and do as much during the holidays, appreciate having someone help them with shopping for gifts, buying groceries, and taking care of various errands.
It’s only takes a small amount of time out of your day, and it can make a world of difference to those who find it difficult to drive on winter roads or to deal with the larger than average holiday crowds in malls, shopping centers, and supermarkets.
Simply make the offer to people you know who may find it useful through email, text message, a phone call, or in person. You never know who might be hoping someone like you will come by to make the offer so they can take care of shopping for their families this holiday, too.
There aren’t enough fantastic things that can be said about the benefits of volunteering. Not only does it offer benefits to those receiving the services you provide while volunteering, but it also benefits you as well. You will enjoy an enormous feeling of pride for a job well done, and great inspiration to see how other people respond to various adversities they face in life.
There are abundant opportunities to volunteer during the holidays, both traditional and outside the usual box. From serving in soup kitchens to coordinating toy drives, spearheading fundraisers, and collecting food for area shelters, there is no shortage of volunteering opportunities during the holidays and throughout the year.
- Perform Random Acts of Kindness
The world needs a little more kindness. That’s all there is to it. You can spread the holiday spirit throughout your community with small acts of kindness that deliver big results.
Buy a $25 gift card, and ask the cashier to give it to a family in need. Buy a cup of coffee for someone, pay for their dry cleaning bill or give a compliment to someone who looks like he or she may be having a rough day. The sky’s the limit with all the little things you can do that will brighten someone’s holidays.
- Adopt a Military Family
As a nation, we are patriotic people. We understand the sacrifice our soldiers make to ensure freedom for all Americans. Send out shoe boxes filled with holiday wishes, Christmas treats, and give thanks to the men and women who serve. Also, keep in mind that each one of these soldiers who serves, leaves behind a family. Mothers, fathers, spouses, and children bear the burden of our soldiers’ service to the country. Sometimes this brings emotional hardships to the families and at other times the hardship is financial.
Adopting a military family allows you to give back to both the men and women who serve and the families they leave behind this holiday season. When our soldiers know their families are taken care of for the holidays, they can focus better on the issues at hand.
- Visit the Elderly
Whether you’re paying a visit to a retirement community, delivering fruit baskets to shut-ins from your church, or simply checking in on elderly people living in your community, these small acts of kindness mean the world to the people receiving them. It’s a gift that gives to everyone.
The people you visit get the enjoyment of your company, and you get the wisdom they have to pass along to you in the form of stories about the past, observations from a different perspective, and tales of holiday traditions that may have been long forgotten.
The holidays are a time to not only bring families together, but also to bring communities together. Aging adults are critical members of our communities, and need to be celebrated during this season, just as any other season.
- Donate Items to Those Less Fortunate
For the most part, we are a fortunate society. We are a nation of consumers with many children who have more toys, electronics, clothes, and food than they could possibly need. While there are marked exceptions in every community and demographic, overall, we are a nation of plenty.
The holidays are an ideal time to look at all we have, and find ways to give clothing and toys, that our children have outgrown or long forgotten, to children who have less. Also, donate old coats and blankets to those who are cold, and to give food to shelters and food pantries that can distribute these items to families who have little. While we are a nation of plenty, there are still many who are in need.
There are many things you can do to make a wonderful difference in the lives of many others this holiday season.
All of us here at PlushBeds wish you a happy and healthy holiday season!
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