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