While Christmas is an exciting time for many people, it can be a difficult and lonely one for others. If you want to give back to those who are less fortunate this year, below are some suggestions.
One of the simplest ways to give back this Christmas is to volunteer. Charities like the Salvation Army regularly take volunteers, and you’ll often see them sporting a Santa suit and ringing bells outside department stores. Any donated money goes towards hunger, disaster relief, shelter, and outreach for elderly and disabled people.
Charities aside, you could also volunteer at soup kitchens or local homeless shelters to give out food to the needy.
Donate to Charity
Many charities appeal for donations at Christmas. With so many people in the world living without the basic necessities, it can be an opportune time to give back by sending money to cover food, shelter, toys, and more. If you’re looking for ideas, Winter Appeal provides emergency relief in war-torn areas like Gaza, Yemen and Syria; the Make-a-Wish Foundation raises money for critically ill children; and Help the Homeless provides food and shelter for people on the streets.
Offer to Help Friends & Family
You never known when a loved one needs a helping hand. It could be as simple as helping them decorate or making food for them over the holidays. Christmas is an incredibly hectic time for most people, so small gestures like these can make a friend or family member feel cared for – plus, it will do wonders for their busy schedule.
Make Treats for Housebound Neighbors
If some of your neighbors are elderly or housebound, why not make them some festive treats? Bake up a batch of holiday goodies and take them round (or have family and kids help you distribute them). You could make this act even more special by spending extra time with those who might be lonely, whether it’s playing a card game or sitting around and digging into your Christmas treats.
Pay Someone’s Layaway
This might sound like an unusual gift, but it’s one that could really put a smile on someone’s face. Layaway is a great way to buy now and pay later, but bank accounts are often stretched over the holidays. Pay Away the Layaway is a non-profit organization that allows you to give by paying off the balance of a person or family in need. Unlike donating to a large charity, this can be a more rewarding way to give back since you know exactly where your funds are going.
Visit Assisted Living Homes
Visiting an assisted living home is another fantastic way to give back over the holidays. Some residents may not have family or will be unable to see their them, making it a very lonely time. Heading down to a local home and spending an hour or two with the residents can turn the holidays into a less difficult time. If you have a well-behaved dog, you could even bring it along to provide emotional support to the residents.
Give Something Homemade
Whether it’s knitting, baking, sewing, crafting, painting, and more, giving homemade gifts to loved ones and people in need can be a great way of giving back. If you’re prolific at your craft, you could find ways to distribute your wares to family, friends, neighbors, and local charities.