Outside of the Box Ideas for Giving Back this Holiday Season

For many, this is a magical time of year that is inspirational. For others, this time of year can be challenging. This holiday season is filled with opportunities to give back and help those that are struggling. Maybe you’re looking to go outside the box of the traditional serving soup at the soup kitchen, or donating to a good cause, or adopting a family off a Christmas tree. So for this year, let the season of inspiration, inspire you to give back in a different way.

-Sharing Your Craft - For those who are crafty, the labor of love creating small Christmas Decorations out of mason jars or cookie cutters stretches a long way for neighbors, churches, school teachers, etc. A small item that represents the season can be very meaningful to someone that either has no other decorations or is alone for the holidays. By committing your time to creating the masterpiece, it demonstrates that they were thought of, if even for a little bit and the light you see in the holiday will be shared with them, like one candle passes a flame to another.

-The Hands-on Approach - Those that are more hands-on, consider spending your time completing a task that is too daunting for someone else. Consider taking the extra time in the morning to shovel your neighbor’s driveway so that they are not late for work. When in line at the grocery store, if the person behind you has a few small items, offer to pay for them. If someone is struggling to get across an icy parking lot, offer to walk with them to the door, but first introduce yourself so they know it's a true act of kindness. If you hear a co-worker talk about their missing gloves or notice their winter coat has holes, bring them replacements from a second-hand store or otherwise so that they can stay warm this winter.

-Use Your Words - If you enjoy giving back through your words, write letters to service men overseas, as some local Red Cross chapters have the Holiday Mail for Heroes program. Send out handwritten letters to those that you know might be lonely this holiday season. If you are dining out and notice that your server is wearing a brave smile, but there is stress behind their eyes, leave a note of encouragement (and maybe a bigger tip than usual). Schools may often accept Holiday Pen Pals for students, check out teacherspayteachers.com to get involved and send a child a friendly holiday note.

It is true that many traditional ways of giving back, like serving at the soup kitchen or adopting a family this holiday season, are wonderful and still mean a lot to those it touches. By being creative and reaching those that might not have been touched this holiday season, the magical season spreads further, until we all have a little light shining in us.