It might only be October, but the holiday season is right around the corner. As the holidays slowly take over stores and minds, and your thoughts turn to gift buying, remember that this season of gifting is also the season of giving.
Here are 10 meaningful ways to give back during the holidays.
1. Participate in a toy, book, or clothing drive
Throughout the holidays, many stores and businesses host toy, book, and clothing drives. It’s easy to make a purchase and drop it in a bin. The store or collaborating organization does the rest for you.
2. Donate used items
Prepare for receiving gifts by donating items you no longer need. Your home will feel less cluttered, and it’s a great opportunity to give back.
3. Shop locally during the season of giving
During the holiday shopping frenzy, visit a locally owned shop or two. Purchases made will benefit business owners in your community, and you might discover new places to shop.
4. Organize a volunteer effort
Many wonderful organizations, such as thrift shops and food banks, exist in part due to the generosity of volunteers. Gather some friends, relatives, or coworkers to volunteer together and help those in need.
5. Give back to those who serve
Have you thanked your mailman or garbage collector recently? The season of gifting is the perfect time to leave a card or collective gift (from the neighborhood, for example). For more inspiration, Don’t Forget These 10 People During Your Holiday Gift Shopping.
6. Find a local Angel Tree
Angel Tree programs help provide Christmas gifts for children in need. You might find one at a local church, school, or Salvation Army. Prisons and nursing homes might also have similar programs.
7. Host an inclusive holiday party
Not everyone has a family or the ability to travel to see them during the holidays. Consider an inclusive holiday party for all of your coworkers or neighbors with a Secret Santa gift exchange, so everyone feels included in the season of gifting. Host a potluck and use Giftster for an easy and fool-proof Secret Santa.
8. Donate blood
Blood donation isn’t for everyone. But if you’re willing to brave the needle this holiday season, your donation can save someone’s life. Contact your local Red Cross for information about local blood drives.
9. Make a monetary donation
Sometimes the best way to make a difference is to donate money to a charity or research organization. Your funding can support an organization’s efforts to find a cure for a disease or to offer assistance to families in need.
10. Teach your kids to give back
You might want to make sure you aren’t the only one taking time to give back. Teach your kids the importance of thankfulness, gratitude, and generosity. Need somewhere to start? Here’s How to Teach Children the Art of Being Thankful During the Holidays.