Ah, the holidays. Full of festive music, ugly sweaters, sweet treats, and tons of presents. We receive so many gifts that we end up forgetting about after New Year’s. Do you really NEED that extra pair of fuzzy socks? Instead of cramping your house with futile trinkets, why not give gifts to those in need? Here are 10 ways to give back:
1. Volunteer at a soup kitchen
Plenty of people would go hungry if it weren’t for the help at soup kitchens. Being a hands-on volunteer and serving food directly to the people who need it is a life-changing experience.
2. Donate old clothes, food, and toiletries
You can collect canned food or neglected clothes at the bottom of your drawers. You can even go around asking neighbors and friends to contribute. Many people forget that homeless shelters also need shampoo and soap just as much as food and clothing. Next time you’re at the supermarket, pick up some toiletries, too.
3. Visit a senior home
Many seniors are left alone during the holidays with no family to visit them. You can bring a care package or games to the senior home, and keep them company, or even just make conversation, and listen to their stories. You can even help the seniors around your neighborhood by running errands or doing handiwork for them.
4. Donate toys to a children’s hospital
Having to spend the holidays in a hospital is both sad and scary for a child. You can make it a little better with some toys or games—guaranteed to brighten up a child’s day.
5. Do little things for friends and family
Call your relatives and let them know you’re thinking of them or leave a sweet note for your significant other. The greatest gifts are love and appreciation.
6. Bring blankets, toys, and food to an animal shelter
It’s sad enough that so many animals are left without homes. Make their days a little brighter by providing them with what they need or toys and treats for fun.
7. Give blood
There’s always a need for blood. If you’re healthy and qualified, it’s the perfect gift to give to someone in need.
8. Adopt an endangered animal
Through different wildlife conservation organizations, you can make an adoption donation in which you choose a species to support. You can adopt for yourself or for someone else, but either way, you’re giving back to wildlife.
9. Become a child sponsor
You can support the health and education of a child from one of thousands of communities around the world less fortunate than us through monthly payments. You can even give your own gifts and write letters to your child.
10. Random acts of kindness
Pay for someone’s coffee, give an unexpected generous tip or bake cookies for your neighbor just because. If you pay it forward, others will, too.
Giving to others is rewarding and worth so much. If you’re feeling thankful, share the wealth and spread love.