Six Easy Ways to Give Back this Holiday Season
With all the expenses that come with the holidays (flights, presents, parties), it's easy to get overwhelmed and overlook giving back and helping others have a magical holiday season. Giving back doesn't have to be expensive, but it is always worth the time, energy, and money. Growing up we've learned from our parents who are the most generous people we know. We have been so blessed to learn by their example of altruism, kindness, and humility. While brainstorming holiday traditions we wanted to start as a family, we wanted to include a special way to give back during what is often a stressful time for families.
1. Donate baked goods, premie baby clothes, blankets, and gift cards to families and nurses spending Christmas with their babies in the NICU. After our niece spent weeks in the NICU we know how hard it is on families and what saints the nurses are!
2. Donate presents, gift cards, toiletries, and gently used or new clothes to women's shelters. I have vivid memories of volunteering and donating to women's shelters through a high school volunteer group and my work now has an ongoing partnership where we donate regularly to meet different needs throughout the year. The women and children in these shelters are some of our most vulnerable families. Any contribution assists them in getting back on their feet, providing a safe environment for their families, and the hope that people are rooting for them.
3. After all of the devastation in Puerto Rico, the 3.5 million Americans affected could use some holiday cheer! Many still don't have clean water or electricity. Lin-Manuel Miranda of Broadway's "Hamilton" has partnered with Toys"R"Us to provide Christmas gifts to 10,000 kids in Puerto Rico. You can easily donate a $5, $10, or $20 toy here.
4. Get a group together and sing Christmas carols at a nursing home and bring treats to the staff. The holidays can make people feel really lonely and a little love and energy can go a long way. Make sure to call beforehand to arrange a time.
5. Buy and distribute warm weather gear to people on the street. In Durham we often come across the same few people standing in the same spots around town. This year I'd like to have a few extra pairs of warm gloves and hats to hand out when I see them.
6. Who isn't shopping for gifts on Amazon? Be sure to shop through smile.amazon.com to make sure that Amazon donates 0.5% of every purchase to the charity of your choice! We have ours set up to give to charity: water who has been dear to our hearts for eight years now. Smile.Amazon.com is operational all year long so bookmark so you will always remember to go back to that site when shopping and it will keep track of how much has been donated through your purchases!
Do you have any other ideas of ways to give back this holiday season? Let us know in the comments!