The holidays are a time of celebration, of stuffing our faces and of receiving (often expensive) Christmas gifts, but it’s also important to give back this holiday season, to remember those less fortunate than ourselves. The bleak truth that we are often guilty of overlooking, is that many people across the country live below the poverty line, many are homeless and many are lonely with no family to enjoy it with. This is why we’ve compiled a list of seven ways you can give back this holiday season.
Stock up on your karma for the year and help make others feel loved with our seventh day of Christmas gift of giving.
Spend time with the elderly
While we have seats at the table specially reserved for our grandparents, there are many lonely elderly people who have little to no family left to celebrate the holidays with. No one wants to be alone at Christmas and this rings particularly true for the elderly. Perhaps you have elderly neighbors who you know will be on their own this holiday season? Go knock on their door, take them some tasty treats and have a chat with them—this seemingly small gesture will be hugely appreciated and remembered. Alternatively, if you have a spare chair at the table on the big day, then go that step further and invite them over; be their family for the day.
Clear out wardrobes and bookshelves
Kill two birds with one stone as you give back this holiday season by having a big winter clear out and doing your charitable duty. Dig out clothes you no longer wear and books you no longer read and donate them to your local thrift or Salvation Army store. Thrift stores offer those less fortunate good quality clothes and items, such as books, for a fraction of the price they’d be sold for if new. Clothes and books are always a welcome donation, so get digging!
Give back this holiday season, feed the hungry
Give back this holiday season and volunteer just a few hours of your time to a soup kitchen or homeless shelter. Being homeless is a terrible situation that thousands find themselves in all over the country and it can happen to anyone at any time. In fact, Reuters reported that over 500,000 people were homeless in the United States by the end of 2015 alone. This difficult circumstance can be made a little easier over the cold months with volunteers (like you!) who can feed and give them a sense of community and joy at this time of the year. A quick google search will give you details of your local kitchen, so sign up and feed the hungry this year.
Toys for Tots
Do you remember as a child when Christmas morning was perhaps the most exciting day of your life? You’d been waiting for this moment—the moment Santa left presents under your beautifully lit tree. You had been making wishes upon a star all year and shiny gift wrapped boxes awaited you, filled with all you had hoped for. Sadly, this is not the case for so many children in the United States. Many families are living in such poverty that parents simply cannot afford to buy gifts for their children. Toys for Tots is a great organization that collects toys, books and other gifts for less fortunate children at Christmas time. See http://www.toysfortots.org for more information on how you can give back this holiday season and donate today.
Volunteer at an animal shelter
Us humans aren’t the only creatures in need of love during the winter. Give back this holiday season by volunteering at a local animal shelter. Often, dogs and cats are abandoned, unwanted or abused and animal shelters find it difficult to find homes for a lot of them. Spending some time with these loving and faithful creatures, just walking and playing with them will not only give you some perspective, but will bring huge joy to the animals left out in the cold this Christmas.
Bake extra and gift your neighbors
Do you often bake cakes and cookies over the holiday period? There’s often more left over than we are able to eat so why not bake a little extra this year and surprise your neighbors with edible delights made especially with them in mind. This is an unexpected gift and one that is sure to put a smile on faces! A lovely treat like this without expectation of something in return will make you feel good during the festivities—we promise.
Get cooking: Two Alternatives to Christmas Pudding
Send Christmas cards
People rely so much on emails, text messaging and social media that we’ve almost forgotten how to communicate any other way. Give back this holiday season by letting your loved ones know that you’re thinking about them by sending Christmas cards via mail. Let them know that you are grateful for all of the love, friendship and help they’ve given you this past year.
If you have ideas on ways to give back this holiday season, let College News know!