8 Ways to Give Back This Holiday Season
It is so hard to believe that exactly a year ago I was gearing up to celebrate my first Christmas ever, and it is pretty obvious that the festive season is back in full swing. The trees are up, the lights are twinkling, and I am consuming my weight in coffee in order to keep my eyes open well into the pitch black of the winter afternoon.. This time last year, I was coming up with Christmas wish lists, buying gifts for my loved ones, and decorating our apartment to be as festive as possible. However, this year I have decided to switch gears for a moment. Yes, celebrating and appreciating those closest to you is important, and by no means am I telling you not to do so. I just feel that sometimes we neglect to focus our efforts towards doing something for those more in need than ourselves. Continue reading for some of the ways I will be helping said people to have a happy and healthy holiday season, right along with me!
Not everyone has the means (or the money) to do these bigger things, but I felt they needed to be included in case you do! We are so lucky to live in Canada where we have so much freedom and privilege, but there are those who live in the city without such luxuries.
One way to give back is to donate. That can be donating your money, your clothes, your blood, or even your time! Donate money to your local charity, or the clothes you never wear anymore to your local shelter. You can donate your blood (we have TONS of it) to help someone recover from illness, or volunteer your time to serve the homeless in your area a hot meal. Most not-for-profit organizations lack support, so you’ll be doing good by donating to them!
This is another one that is good if you have extra money to spare. Go out and purchase gloves and hats to be dropped off at your community’s hospitals or shelters. It may not seem like much, but keeping people warm in the winter (especially in Canada) makes a HUGE difference and will likely put a smile on someones face. No one wants to be cold on Christmas.
Do some research and find out about charitable initiatives taking place in your area. When I was younger, my family and I used to put together shoe box care packages for the Shoebox Project. They support and provide for women and families whom are impacted by homelessness across Canada. We filled shoe boxes with toys and school supplies for children, and skincare and feminine hygiene products for women, and dropped them off for distribution. It’s a great project to get your entire family involved because kids will have a ball picking out fun things that they themselves love to use!
If you’re already hosting friends and family for the holidays, turn your dinner party into a food drive. Instead of host/hostess gifts, ask guests to bring non-perishable food items as a gift. Sure, wine and canapes are great, but think about how good it will feel when you give back to those who won’t have a gorgeous holiday spread to dine from.
These suggestions are a little bit more affordable and don’t take much effort at all, but make just as big an impact!
When you’re in line waiting to order your gingerbread latte from Starbucks, consider paying for the order of the person behind you in line. Everyone, and I mean EVERYONE, is busy this time of year, and doing this will guarantee you put a smile on their face. It’s a small gesture, but it’s one less thing that person has to think about for the day.
I like to do this after most events/interviews. There is something so authentically heartfelt and thoughtful about a hand-written thank you note. Whether it is for your holiday party hosts, your coworkers or boss, or even just your significant other, showing your appreciation through a note you’ve written by hand adds an extra little personalized touch. Even if it just says “Happy Holidays”, I promise it will be recognized and admired.
To reiterate, everyone’s schedule gets shifted into overdrive during the holidays, so sometimes it’s hard not to lose touch. Give a friend or family member you haven’t spoken to in a while a call to let them know you’re thinking about them. This is another tiny, seemingly insignificant thing that can really brighten someone’s day. Let’s all do some reconnecting!
We all know how miserable winter can be. No matter how many fun and festive Christmas decorations we put up to mask the gloom, the snow makes it hard to keep on powering through the day. Try giving someone at your office or on the street a smile or a genuine compliment. Say or do something meaningful to bring back the sunshine into that person’s life. We have enough negativity in the world already, my friends!
What are you doing to give back this holiday season? Do you have any goodwill traditions like my family does? Let me know in the comments and maybe I’ll pick up a new one!