Random Rants

Giving Back During the Holiday Season!

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The holiday season has snuck up on us once again and the smells of the season are all around us!  The holidays are a time for friends and family to spend time with one another and it is during this time of year that we enjoy exchanging gifts and overloading on yummy food!

During this time of year, there are also many others that go without. Although it’s important to give throughout the year, our family sets aside a budget every year during the holidays to help those that are less fortunate than we are. We also attempt to take part in many of the holiday drives including Toys for Tots, canned food drives and coat drives. Not everyone has the ability to give money or new things, however there are so many ways that you can give back during the holidays without affecting your own budget and spread a little holiday cheer!

Donate Gently Used Items – It’s easy to take for granted that we can open our closet doors and take out a coat or open the fridge and grab a snack. Many of us have more than we could ever hope or wish for, and by making a simple donation of food, clothing or toys that you have right in your home, you can make someone’s holiday merry and bright!

Share Your Time – Consider volunteering at a local food bank or homeless shelter. These non-profits wouldn’t be operating without the help of volunteers just like you, and whether it’s one hour or one day, you can make a positive impact on another’s life with just a few hours of your time. A simple smile or a pat on the back is enough to make someone’s day and fill them with the spirit of the holidays.

Create a Family Fun Day or Drive - Consider getting the kids involved by participating in a “family fun” day! Many lessons can be learned and many lives can be changed by just one family who donates time to their local community. Last year our girls were still a little too young for a “family fun day”, however our oldest (then 5) created the “dime drive”, where she collected dimes from friends and family members and on Christmas Eve we headed down to the local homeless shelter to donate all of the dimes that she had collected. It was a heart warming experience for everyone involved and most importantly, she helped another and learned that giving feels better than receiving!

Think Outside the Box – Here in our local hometown we have a park where many of the homeless gather, sleep, eat and just enjoy the companionship of one another. A few years ago we came up with the idea of purchasing a turkey (we used coupons and found a deal, making our purchase FREE) and made dozens and dozens of turkey sandwiches. On Thanksgiving morning we headed down to the park and handed out fresh and yummy turkey sandwiches, along with bottles of water (also FREE with coupons).  The looks on their faces were enough for us to know that we had made their day, and possibly their year!  You can also take this same concept and donate a meal to a family in need from your church, school or recreation center.

Adopt a Soldier – WIth a simple google search you can find a number of charitable orginazations that will allow you to adopt a soldier in the form of a cash donation or by sending a box filled with goods. If your on a budget, consider using coupons, finding deals or dollar sales, or visiting your local dollar store to find items to fill the box. These men and women protect our freedom and giving to our soldiers is an amazing way to give back!

It’s Right in Front of You! – Giving back during the holiday season doesn’t mean that you have to “follow the rules”. Just helping a neighbor shovel snow or take out the trash is spreading the holiday cheer. Consider offering companionship to an elderly neighbor by visiting with them or reading them a book. Sometimes it’s the little things that are right in front of us!

There’s so many ways to give back this holiday season and I hope you’ll spread the love and laughter of the season with those around you!  For more “mom tips” or to share secrets with other moms, visit clubmum.net.

Happy Holidays!

Disclaimer: I was asked by ConAgra foods to discuss the above topic and was compensated for my time.

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  • Reply mbb November 17, 2010 at 11:14 am

    What wonderful ideas and reminders this season. We like to give to the homeless shelters too.
    mbb´s last blog post ..Wellness Wednesday- What To Eat

    • Reply Paula December 1, 2010 at 1:46 pm

      This is a wonderful post! I try so hard to offer others help in any way I possibly can. I donate things I don’t use anymore or things that I win through sweepstakes. I have been involved in many fundrasiers lately for a good friends baby that was born with many heart issues. I don’t have much money but I do have time that I offer to people who need me when I can. Recently it has been difficult to do anything with a new baby and trying to complete nursing school.

  • Reply Eileen November 17, 2010 at 11:33 am

    our church does a giving tree where you pick a star off the tree with person’s first name and wishes. I find the kids feel good about doing this, even if it means they have less. And this year they will have less…my hubby got cut to %75…and our only income. It is a rough year for all.

    One thing that is tough in our COLD area is that kids go without good quality coats. I see people that are SO lazy and thoughtless, they THROW their old coats away in the garbage instead of giving to our local Coats for Kids campaign in the fall. shame.

    theres so much we can all do if we take our blinders off and just find a FEW minutes to help others! Like you said, its not all about writing a check either…people need Help in other ways too!

    • Reply Candace November 17, 2010 at 2:12 pm

      So, so true Eileen! I think many forget that it’s the little things that can bring joy to another!

  • Reply Karen November 17, 2010 at 12:35 pm

    I’m doing an auction to raise money for my favorite cause: The Oral Cancer Foundation. This is important to me, because I’m not only raising money, I am raising awareness of this disease and by doing so could be saving someone’s life! Volunteering in any place, for any capacity, is a wonderful thing to do, and is always a win-win.
    Karen´s last blog post ..Oh- The Cuteness!

  • Reply Ayl (GA) November 17, 2010 at 1:08 pm

    Here is Atlanta, I know the Toys for Tots and Coats for Kids struggle every year to provide enough for all the families and children in need. My church and family do what we can, but one family/church can’t do it all. I agree with Eileen, if everyone were to take just 5 min out of their busy Holiday schedules, we could provide so many needy families with an exciting Holiday Wish granted.

    We also have to remember that these same families are in need all year long and that the Holidays shouldn’t be the only time we give of ourselves and our time.

  • Reply Beeb Ashcroft November 17, 2010 at 3:45 pm

    What wonderful ideas, Candace!

  • Reply Maggie November 17, 2010 at 6:19 pm

    I love this post! I really think there are so many little ways that you can give back to others that doesn’t take much time or money but can make a HUGE impact on others! Thanks for these great ideas!
    Maggie´s last blog post ..Monster Factory – don’t let the name fool you!

  • Reply Stacie @ The Divine Miss Mommy November 17, 2010 at 8:29 pm

    Several times per year, my family packs boxes of canned food at the local food bank. We love it and it is a great way to give back.

    Great post!
    Stacie @ The Divine Miss Mommy´s last blog post ..Win Two Tickets to Cirque du Soleil OVO in Atlanta – 11-20 Courtesy of Infiniti InfinitiOVO Atlanta @InfinitiNews

  • Reply Louise November 18, 2010 at 3:06 pm

    I love seeing others give back. We give to the food bank a few times of year and because of the blog we give to other charities every quarter. I love making a difference in my community.
    Louise´s last blog post ..How Do You Take a Shower

  • Reply julie k November 21, 2010 at 1:10 am

    If you’re short on cash and time, you can at least write a letter to a soldier overseas. It means a lot to them.


    • Reply Candace November 23, 2010 at 12:13 pm

      That’s an awesome suggestion Julie! Thanks so much for sharing!

  • Reply Tami November 27, 2010 at 7:58 pm

    Those are wonderful suggestions!! My kids write letters overseas as part of a school project which I think is absolutely wonderful & real exciting for them! We also go shopping and buy some toys to give the less fortunate. I love for my kids to help so they are a part of it and can learn from the experience also. We also feel so great doing it!!

  • Reply Geoff K December 1, 2010 at 4:14 pm

    I definitely appreciate the reminders and tips for giving during this season (and all year really!) – we tend to get so caught up in sales and gifts that we can lose sight of how fortunate we are to have the luxury to be able to worry about those things at all! I will definitely be donating some gently used clothing as well as my time at various clothing and food drives at work and in my neighborhood this year.

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