Giving back is something that should be carried on throughout the year, but around the holidays the spirit of giving is ubiquitous. The holidays can be especially hard for a lot of families who are struggling. Warm clothes, clean sheets and toys are things we take for granted, but if we all do a little extra to help it adds up. Even just brightening someone’s day with a small act of kindness goes a long way. Below are a few ways that have inspired us to give back.
Host a toy drive: It’s a great way to get some friends together for a fun night and to support a charity that helps children. Everyone brings an unwrapped toy for a child that you can deliver to an organization you trust. Baby2Baby is a great one in the LA Area.
Pay it forward and pick up a stranger’s tab: This is inspired by my husband who, (going to dote for a sec) on several occasions, has done this. The other day I was waiting in the car with Romeo while Zan ran into a small grocery store. When he got back into the car he waved to a lady as we were pulling away. Her faced brightened and she gave an exicted wave back and said “Thank you so much, God bless you!” I mentioned, “Wow she was extremely friendly” and then he informed me that he just paid for her groceries. I knew I married the right man! Even just a coffee or just picking up the cost of parking for the car behind you. A small deed and a few dollars can go a long way.
Put together care packages to hand out to the homeless: Depending on your climate and where you live, fill paper bags with gloves, socks and everyday essentials like toothbrushes, soap, etc. You can even make homemade cookies to add to the care bags. Gift cards are good too. Then hand them out to homeless people in or around your community or drop them off at a shelter.
Give thanks to your local fire fighters: They’re saving lives every day and would be the first ones to the scene if, God forbid, you ever have an emergency. Around this time of year it’s nice to give a little extra thanks by doing something special for them. Buy your local station lunch, drop off yummy donuts and coffee one morning or make a donation. They really do appreciate it!
Comfort the elderly: Growing up, I volunteered at the Senior Center in my hometown. I would play board games with the seniors, eat lunch or just listen to their stories. They’re at the center all day, some don’t have family who visit them and most of the time they adore having a few visitors who drop in to say hi. One year my friend Leah and I even went Christmas caroling at a Senior Center. It was a true blessing to see their smiles, even with our crackly and way out of tune voices ; ) You can learn a lot from their stories too. It puts everything in perspective showing how fast life goes by.