Thanksgiving is finally over which means the Christmas season is officially here! December is the time to blast Christmas music and drive around to look at all the holiday lights, but there is so much more to the holiday season than that.
Christmas has always been a huge celebration in my house, how can it not be when you come from a Catholic family? Of course, you do not have to be Catholic to celebrate the holidays, but there is more to the season than receiving gifts.
It's easy to get so swept up by the excitement of the season to forget what the true meaning is of it all.
This is the season to give back, to appreciate what you have in life, and to help out the less fortunate.
After you bake special holiday treats and trim the tree, try to find time to give back this year. Here are a few ways to do just that.
1.Donate food to a soup kitchen.
It is common for families to feast on Christmas as part of their celebration. Maybe this year think about making an extra dish and dropping it off at a soup kitchen in your area. One small deed can feed several hungry stomachs.
2. Call someone you've lost touch with.
The holidays are all about family. This season, call up that family member or friend that you haven't spoken to in awhile. Tell them how much they mean to you!
3. Bake cookies for your local policemen and firemen.
Most people get a little break from school or work during this time but it is not uncommon for firemen and police officers to have to work on Christmas. An easy way to let them know they are appreciated is to bake something special as a thank you for their hard work.
4. Practice a random act of kindness for a stranger.
Whether it's holding the door for someone or paying for the person behind you in line, do something selfless for someone else this season.
5. Volunteer at an elderly home.
Just an hour of your time can make such a difference at an elderly home. These homes can sometimes be lonely or boring, volunteers help to prevent this!
6. Participate in a holiday 5k for charity
My family runs a 5k every Thanksgiving and all the money from the race is donated to the local food bank. There are tons of themed holiday races for charity, they can be really fun but still contribute to a good cause.
7. Take lunch to someone who is stuck working for the holidays.
Some people are not fortunate enough to have time off for the holidays. Make it up to these people by providing them a special lunch to brighten their day.
8. Donate your flyer miles.
For those who travel frequently for work, it can be very easy to rack up frequent flyer miles. There's a program called "Wishes in Flight" where you can donate any miles you have racked up and they are used in a Make-A-Wish program. This simple act can help a dream come true.
9. Donate blankets to the homeless shelter.
Not everyone is fortunate enough to own winter coats or have the access to heat and shelter this winter. Donating blankets could help save a life from the cold.
10. Donate toys to those in need.
A great organization for this is "Toys for Tots", it's a nationwide organization that collects toys for less fortunate children.
11. Make Christmas cards for a children's hospital.
Spending Christmas in a hospital is never fun. To cheer up kids that are in the hospital during the holidays, make some homemade holiday cards with a sweet note inside and drop them off at a local children's hospital.
These are just a few ideas of how to make someone's day this holiday season! A simple act of kindness is the perfect gift to give, no matter the time of year.