As we settle into the holiday rush and things start to pile up — presents and parties and holiday cheer — the season just starts to feel too much.
My daughter gets SO MUCH during the holidays: so much sugar, so many presents, and so many parties and gatherings. We are so blessed, but I worry my daughter is missing the giving side of the season that is so important.
This year, along with the presents and parties, my goal is to have my family focus on giving back. I want my daughter to grow up with not only memories and gifts and laughter on Christmas morning, but also memories of spending the holidays doing for others.
So, if you’re like me and looking to put a little more giving into the holiday season, here are some ideas on how to get your family involved in some Christmas time volunteerism:
Volunteer at a food bank
From the United Way to Love Kitchen Inc, to Second Harvest of East Tennessee, there are lots of local food banks looking for both donations and volunteers. Pack up the family and make a day of picking up some non-perishables at your local grocery or see if there are any food bank events where you can volunteer.
Take calls for a helpline
Most helplines run 24/7, offering support even during the holidays. With Samaritans’ 24/7 helpline, volunteers as young as 15 — students, working adults and retirees — can all volunteer without prior training. This is a great way to involve the older kids and adults in your life.
Pay a visit
Giving doesn’t have to be elaborate; sometimes just giving your time makes all the difference. Check with local hospitals and care facilities to see about visiting patients who don’t often receive visitors, maybe even singing a few Christmas carols to the patients.
Get involved online
In today’s world, you don’t have to leave the comforts of home to make a difference. Get the family together, pull out your phones and computers, pick a cause and go to work! One great resource is DoSomething.org. You can choose a campaign and begin making an impact.
Let’s not forget our four-legged friends this Christmas! Call your local animal shelter and see if there’s anything you and your family can gift the dogs and cats, or see if you and the family could help clean the shelter, walk the dogs, or socialize the cats.
Donate warm clothing
As temperatures drop, it’s a good time to donate warm clothing to those less fortunate. In fact, you can even schedule a pick-up for items like clothing, shoes, furniture and various household items with numerous local charities like Goodwill, Salvation Army, AMVETS National Service Foundation, and more. So go through everyone’s closet, tell your mom to go through her closet, and schedule one big pick up!
Before all the presents are unwrapped, clear some space on the bookshelf by donating the family’s unwanted books to local daycares and libraries, and even local hospitals and children’s clinics!
Help a neighbor
You don’t always have to go far for a good deed: simply mowing a neighbor’s yard, making them dinner, or making them a gift or Christmas card could go a long way!