Giving back to others especially during the holiday season is such an amazing idea. It’s a great way to not only give back, but also to teach our children gratitude and help them understand that the holiday season is not just a period of getting from others, but also giving to others. There are so many ways we can give back especially to the community or to the less privileged around us. There are several people with unmet needs around us and although we probably cannot eradicate poverty or feed everyone, we can still do little acts of kindness to those around us.
As Christians, we should not remain comfortable just because we do not lack, we need to have a burden for the lost and the needy around us. There are people who for one reason or the other are unable to celebrate the holiday seasons such as thanksgiving and Christmas. Some may be in the hospital or caring for someone who is ill, some lack money etc to celebrate, some are working or giving their time to make the world a better place for us all. It is equally important as parents to teach our children to give to others. When they see us serve others, they are able to understand and serve in their own little ways too.
Simple ways to give back to others during the holiday season
Here are some amazing ways to give back during the holidays as a family:
Share some baked goods
Baking is quite easy and really kid friendly depending on what recipe you choose to do. Grab your kids and have some fun baking together to show appreciation to those in your community. You can bake cookies or other baked goods to share with your neighbors or even take to hospitals, nursing homes, fire stations etc. It is a simple but fun way to show kindness and give back to others.
Donate to animal shelters
Animals could also use some love during the holiday season. You can choose to make donations to help make them more comfortable for the animals. You could also volunteer at the shelters or maybe even adopt a pet for the holiday season. Check out your local shelters to see what is available for you. You could even check your local shelter’s website and see if they have items they need. Maybe donate toys and treats for the pets, or baked goods for the workers or volunteers there.
Donate to a charity
Find a charity to donate to and give money or search your closet for lightly worn items. Often times, we have clothes we have not worn and probably would not wear sitting pretty in our closets. Take some time to go through these clothes and donate them to charities. There are several charities like salvation army that would gladly take them. You could also schedule donation pickups with GoGreenDrop if you are unable to drive to a charity. Sometimes due to work and life schedule, we are unable to volunteer our time, consider making monetary donations to charities you care about. Check out this link with the good trade on how to choose a charity.
Special care package for heroes overseas
Our heroes serve this country faithfully with so much courage and many cannot be with their families during the holidays. Consider sending care packages to them to show they are appreciated.
Donate toys or money to less privileged kids
Donating toys is a great family activity especially for your kids. I usually talk with my daughter about donating gently used toys especially when she wants to get new ones. It’s a teachable moment for us to show that life is not always about receiving, but also about giving. You can team up with others to buy toys or gather gently used ones from the community to donate to children in need.
Hand out christmas or holiday cards
Write out Christmas cards or holiday cards and give to others. I love this idea especially for kids in the hospital. Many are unable to go home or spend time celebrating the holiday season. A nice card from you could make a world of difference in the lives of others.
Share blankets and stockings for the homeless
There are people on the streets without homes or a place to sleep at night, especially in the cold winter it can be difficult to not have a home. You can buy some winter care kits like blankets, stockings, gloves, mittens, hats etc to hand out to them. This might not seem like a lot, but it can help someone make it through the night comfortably.
Adopt a family
You can adopt a family for the Christmas or thanksgiving season. You are able to pick a family and bless everyone of them with something on their wish lists for Santa. My daughter’s daycare used to do something similar where they had several families and wrote up the lists then parents could pick what items they wanted to bring in to donate. I think this is a fun family experience as well because your kids learn to set out time to shop for others and not always for themselves. Have your kids help in picking age appropriate gifts for kids in other families.
Meals for those working during the holiday
There are so many people that have to work during the holiday season. I remember when I worked as a retail pharmacist before transitioning career to UX design, I had to work during some holidays and was always so sad that I had to miss out on family time. Some patients were always so kind and brought in holiday treats for us and I can say for a fact it made a huge difference to know that we were appreciated. It can be to police officers, people in the army, doctors, nurses, pharmacists etc, there are so many people that have to go to work so the rest of us can be present during thanksgiving. For instance, some police men have to work to keep the world safe while we celebrate with our families, retail stores are open so we can do last minute run arounds for the holiday.
Holiday food drive
You can speak with a few friends, families, neighbors etc about doing a food drive together. This can be a great way to help food banks and food pantries restock their shelves and also raise awareness about hunger. It can also teach your kids to be thankful for the meals they have and learn to share when they see those in need. You can also do a virtual food drive where you collect donations to give to these food banks or pantries. They can then turn those donations into more meals.
If you are enjoying this post so far, please check out these:
Ways to Give Back Without Spending Money
There are so many great ways to give back to others even when you do not have the money to donate or buy things. Money does not have to be a barrier to meeting the needs around you. You can simply find creative ways to be of help or service to someone.
Give your time to others
Give your time by being of service to others. You can do this by volunteering at homes or hospitals, going to help clean places, adopt a pet, deliver meals to elderly people or less privileged, spend time with older folks at nursing homes, babysit kids for others. Lots of people in elderly homes are lonely, bored or would appreciate your gift of time. You can simply play games with them, decorate, eat or chat with them. You can also spend time with children at the hospital. It can be very difficult for kids to stay hospitalized during holidays.
Be a positive light and voice via social media for great causes
Do you have a large following on social media? This might be a great way to use your voice to be a light unto the world. Even if you do not have a large following, you can still make an impact. Enough of just using social media to showcase our lives or compare ourselves with others. Instead take it a step further and be a positive influencer by sharing messages of hope and joy to others, motivation etc. Thanks to social media, I have come across so many families with kids dealing with cancer or one health issue and been able to constantly keep them in my prayers. I also try to post messages of joy to others or things I learn from the bible. You could also pick a charity of your choice, tag them and share about them so others can get involved.
Give your skills: volunteer to teach or do something
If you do not have money to give, you can give the gift of time by volunteering or giving your skills. Maybe you are great at teaching, you could volunteer to teach or tutor K-12 students, be a translator, help plan activities etc. There are so many ways your skills can be of help to others.
Give something gently used
We teach our daughter to give out things especially toys when we buy new ones. I would usually say, in order to get a new toy, you need to be able to bless someone else with a gently used toy. I do not think its fair to give toys that are broken down or useless or missing essential parts, you want to give out things that others can equally enjoy especially kids. You can also donate used books, shoes, clothes, phones etc.
You could write simple letters to those in the hospitals or nursing homes to put a smile on their faces. There are so many kids that have to spend Christmas or thanksgiving in the hospital so it’s a great idea to be able to hand out cards and gifts to them to show they are loved even while in the hospital. This activity could also help boost your child’s writing or drawing skills!
Run for a charity
This knocks two birds with one stone lol. You can pick a charity of your choice and run for them to raise funds while also staying healthy and fit. You could even invite others to run with you and have some family fun together while raising money.
Community clean up
Be a part of a community clean up day to keep our lovely communities clean. My neighborhood does them occasionally and I must confess I have never joined them even though I really should, so this is me talking to myself as well. We can help pick up trash from the road and keep our spaces clean plus it does not cost you anything besides trash bags!
Random act of kindness
There is a Christian radio station I listen to once in a while, I believe its 91.9, they do this drive through blessing where you pay for the order of the person behind you. This is such a great act of kindness and has blessed so many people especially people that lacked the money to get something. Maybe during winter, you could choose to shovel the snow from your neighbors driveway as well instead of yours alone. Its really the simple things in life, I remember some months ago in our neighborhood, it was raining hard and my husband was on his way out to a photography gig, he saw a guy with a stroller and baby taking shade under a small shed after getting caught in the rain, he stopped, asked the man to get in and drove them to their home. The man was so grateful especially because he had a baby with him. It didn’t cost my husband anything but some extra time to be a blessing to someone else.
Tell those you love how much they mean to you
I cannot stress it enough how important it is to give back to your family and loved ones by telling them how much they mean to you. It is so sad when people die and everyone starts saying these great things, they never told the person before. Do not wait till the last minute to let your loves ones know that you care. Sometimes we take people and things around us for granted and believe they will always be there. But one thing Covid has taught us is that anything can happen. Call your friends and families to see how they are doing and tell them how much they mean to you.
Another great way to donate is giving out blood. It makes such a huge difference in the lives of so many people and also does not involve any money from you. You could also donate hair, or even breastmilk to nursing mothers if you are a mom. As a mother myself, I know the amount of work that went into keeping up my breastmilk supply especially with my twins.
Share your smile
Smile, its that simple! Whenever you can, just smile, smile at the person behind the cash register, smile at the waiter or waitress. Share the gift of smiles with anyone around you.
Tips to get started giving back with your kids
- Talk with your kids about giving back and the holiday season. Help them understand the benefits and also how privileged they are compared to others.
- Involve your kids as much as possible in whatever activities you choose to do especially the kid appropriate ones. Find activities they may be interested in. For instance, a kid that loves to bake may be more inclined to making and handing out baked goods to the community.
- Be patient with your kids, do not use giving back or volunteering as punishment for not doing something or being poorly behaved. Giving back should be a great experience and also a teaching moment not a punishment. By using it as punishments, they begin to view volunteering or giving back negatively.
- It’s important that you also model a heart of giving so they can not only hear you talk about it, but also see you living it out as their parents.
So there you have it! Some easy ways to give back to the community with your kids this holiday season. What are some ways you sneak in giving opportunities or what are some tips you have used to help your kids understand giving?