Annabelle is too little to understand the importance of giving back during the holidays. For a toddler, Christmas is about Santa “ringing the doorbell” and bringing her gifts. When Annabelle is old enough to comprehend kindness, there are so many things I want to teach her.
Giving back during the holidays not only feels good, but it’s also important.
Here are eight ways to give back during the holidays.
Go to a nursing home and hand out packages to elderly – My cousin’s daughter’s school is collecting gifts to wrap for the patients at a local nursing home in their town. Everything from a deck of cards to costume jewelry is on the list for donations. The children will wrap the items and then pass them out to the residents at the nursing home.
Adopt a child – Annabelle’s baby school has three families on their Christmas tree this year. Parents can donate gifts or money towards gifts for the children of these families. There are so many places that have opportunities to adopt-a-child from a less fortunate family so you can give them the holiday season they deserve.
Volunteer at an animal shelter – There are so many animal shelters that need volunteers, not just during the holiday season, but year round. Unfortunately, it is hard to bring young children around animals, but high school aged children could be great friends to a puppy or kitty for an afternoon.
Visit a shelter/food bank – Homeless shelters and food banks are two other locations that always need help. Call a local shelter and see if you can come in to help in any way possible.
What are some other ways you can give back during the holidays. What ways can you pay it forward?
Pay it forward – I know it doesn’t seem like that big of a deal, but paying for the coffee/order of the person behind you in line is always a wonderful act of kindness. Hold the door open for a stranger, or help an elderly person to the car with their groceries.
Donate your clothing – Clean out your closet every couple of months and give away the clothing you haven’t worn in ages. Winter clothes are often in high demand – so if you have old jackets, gloves, or hats, put them in a bag and drop them off at your closest donation spot.
Carry non-perishable items – When I lived in Baltimore I always passed a corner where someone who was homeless/unfortunate would stand with a sign asking for food/money/work. If I ever have leftover snacks from a school party I would give them to that person. I even purchase extra food items at the store when I would go before school. Then, when I was stopped at that corner, I would hand over a bag of items. There were times when he/she would be uninterested in my goods, but other times, I received many thanks and a huge smile.
Read/sing to the elderly at a nursing home – One of the most amazing things I have ever done was caroled at a nursing home in Ohio with Brandon’s family. I still get teary-eyed as I remember the look on the residents’ faces when we came into the room singing “Silent Night” or “Jingle Bells.” Their faces brightened and when we would finish a song, they would erupt in applause.