13 Ways To Give Back To Your Community This Holiday Season

13 Ways To Give Back To Your Community This Holiday Season

A few ways to spread joy this holiday season.

The holiday season isn't about getting presents, it's about doing good by helping others and giving back to your community. Here are a few ways to do that this holiday season.

1. Participate in a charity run/walk/5k.

jessica biel christmas GIF

Right now various local organizations are having turkey trots, reindeer runs, and other various holiday-themed races in order to raise funds. Help them out and get in your steps for the month to work off all of your Aunt Pearl’s award-winning apple pie.

2. Volunteer at a shelter.

Whether it be an animal shelter cuddling the puppies that wandered too far from home, or at a homeless shelter helping those that are a little lost in life, just be there to offer a hand and keep the lost souls out of the cold.

3. Donate a bag of food to a local animal shelter.

adorable puppies GIF

Dog food can get expensive especially for shelters where they have lots of animals. Instead of taking yourself on a shopping spree, stay away from Sephora and head toward the pet store.

4. Run a drive for blankets, boots, and coats.

Midwestern and New England winters are known for their bitterly cold and extreme snowfall. People need blankets and the like to keep from getting frostbite and sometimes they don’t have the resources for those winter necessities. Help them out and ask people in your community to bring on new and gently used winter items for donation.

5. Go caroling door to door.

gremlins caroling GIF

Spread the holiday spirit! I would probably cry if someone showed up on my porch to serenade me with “Frosty the Snowman.”

6. Volunteer with Meals on Wheels.

Why not? It’ll be fun.

7. Tell a someone to have a good day.

have a good day GIF

I try my best to wish everyone I talk to a good day because the smile I see on their face when I leave makes me genuinely happy.

8. Donate food to a pantry.

Christmas is a big food holiday and people like to have enough to last them through a storm if needed.

9. Make your neighbor holiday cookies.

cookie monster cookies GIF

Who doesn’t like cookies!?

10. Volunteer at your neighborhood’s rec center.

Kids are home for winter break and so are you. Volunteer to play a few rounds of basketball with a

11. Offer to babysit (no charge) for someone who needs a break.

the incredibles disney GIF

I know that parents love their kids, but I know from experience as a child that by the third day of winter break they were exhausted and ready for a break to be over and as someone who has been a sitter since middle school, babysitting can get expensive. Offer to watch someone’s kids so they can get a night out without having to worry about if little Tommy can go to college because they had to pay the sitter.

12. Shovel someone’s sidewalk for them.

I have never seen my dad as happy as the day after a record snowfall when he wrangled my brothers and me out the door to help him shovel the sidewalk to find that our neighbor had already done it for us.

13. Shovel and salt your own sidewalks.

ice falling GIF

As someone who walked home from school for the entire time I was in school, I can assure you that every child who walks on your sidewalk will be eternally grateful if you salt your sidewalk.

mean girls happy holidays GIF

So, take a minute or an hour or maybe even a day an try to do one or maybe all of these. You might make someone's day or even change a life. Happy Holidays!

Cover Image Credit: YouTube

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12 Gifts To Give Your Girlfriend On Valentine's Day

All of these gift ideas will for sure win over your girlfriend's heart this year!

To all the last-minute gift givers of Valentine's Day:

Don't panic. While I know how stressful it can be to get the perfect gift for your significant other, there are so many gift ideas that people always forget as an option. The best part about Valentine's day is not the gifts you get, but rather the romantic time you get to spend with your loved one. So don't worry about how expensive the gift is, just worry about how much thought you put into it. If you are still stuck on a gift to buy for your girlfriend, here are 12 ideas to get the ball rolling for you:

1. Chocolate

Chocolate is every woman's best friend. It also can be your wallet's best friend for this Valentine's Day season. A box of chocolate can warm your girlfriend's heart for a low price.

Buy a box on Amazon.

2. Flowers

Flowers. Another common, but romantic gift for your girlfriend. Get creative with it. Throw rose pedals all over the bed, or hand her a giant bouquet all at once. Either way I am sure she will love it.

Buy them on Amazon.

3. Giant Teddy Bear

This is a gift that I always found so adorable. While it can be obnoxious to purchase and carry around, the look on your girlfriend's face when she sees it will make it all worth it. She can cuddle the bear when you're not around. ;)

Buy one on Amazon.

4. Wine

Again, another luxury that is a woman's best friend. You cannot go wrong with buying your girlfriend a bottle, or bottles, of wine. The only question you have to ask yourself when buying it is, red or white?

Buy a set of glasses to match on Amazon.

5. A Couple's Massage

Um, hello. Who wouldn't love this gift? Not only is it a gift for her, but it is one for you as well. This gift can also be surprisingly cheap. Many places offer amazing deals during the Valentine's Day season!

6. Dinner

There is absolutely nothing wrong with just taking your girlfriend to a romantic dinner on Valentine's Day. Dinner can be expensive enough as it is, the important thing to remember is to make memories that will last a lifetime during the meal.

7. A Movie

Again, nothing wrong with just going to a movie for the night. Sometimes a movie can set the level of romance you need for Valentine's Day.

Buy an AMC gift card on Amazon.

8. A Necklace

I know what you're thinking, too expensive! Don't throw away the necklace idea just yet. There are so many stores that sell such elegant necklaces, and they are decently priced as well. Check out stores like Alex and Ani, or Pandora for great deals, or just order from Amazon!

Buy one on Amazon.

9. A Ring

While this gift may only apply to a select few, imagine how memorable this day would be for your girlfriend. Do not think it is too cliche to propose to your girlfriend on Valentine's Day. Who cares how many other people do it, think about the joy it will bring her.

Buy a diamond ring on Amazon.

10. Clothes

Plan and buy your girlfriend's outfit for the night! It saves her time figuring out what to wear, and you just bought her clothes that she will absolutely adore!

Buy a sweater she will love on Amazon.

11. A One Night Stay at a Hotel

I don't think I have to say anything about this gift. You all know how romantic this is.

Buy a Hotels.com gift card on Amazon.

12. Personalized Picture Frame

A gift that is beyond thoughtful. Taking all of your pictures of memories from before and putting them together for your girlfriend is a gift that will for sure have her in tears.

Buy one on Amazon.

Please note that all items are in stock as of the time of publication. As an Amazon Associate, Odyssey may earn a portion of qualifying sales.

Cover Image Credit: Chip Party Ideas

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Christmas Of Remembrance Series: My Last Letter

Christmas time is not about the gifts... It is about something far, far more special.


Dear Reader,

Thank you for your time.

This is a series that I have dedicated to those I have loved and lost. It was merely a thought, then an idea, and now a realized creation. Christmas time… all winter really is a hard time for me. It holds this duality in my life of being both my favorite and also my least favorite and difficult time of year. It has been that way for years now.

In a way, this series aids my closure and healing further, and it allows me to tell my story in a way that, to me, is less scary (one of the many great facets of this platform). It was never my intention to write this in order to reach people, or encourage people, or serve as an inspiration to anyone. This was for me and only me. No one else. But, if these pieces of writing do impact someone, somewhere, or make them feel encouraged or inspired in some way or another, or just simply make them feel, then I hope you have enjoyed them. If I can make someone feel, then I guess I have done my job.

The life of an artist is often an uncertain one. The life of a human is a trying one. But life is a journey, and all journeys have their trials. Their tests. Their triumphs and rewards. And they all have their losses. What matters most is what you make of all of it. What lessons you learn. What changes you make. What life you create for yourself. What art you create because of it all. It can be very, very hard. But it can all be glorious at the same time.

At the heart of this series, my words, there is this deep and valuable belief of mine: Christmas (or the Winter Holiday that you may celebrate) is so much more about presents and cooking and shopping and all that other bullshit… it is about family.

The family that is related by blood. The family that surrounds your heart. Your Mom. Your brother. Your dearest friends. The bonds that make life valuable. Worth living. These bonds are soulful bonds, ones that are far more special than any mere trivial object. So… be with them. Forgive. Forget. Heal. Mend what is broken. Reassemble what has been shattered. And stop worrying so much. Laugh together. Cry together. Heal on another. Heal together. And may your new days be better, brighter, and full of love.

Happy Holidays.


A song for you...

"Sense of Home" — Harrison Storm / YouTube

If you liked this series, I invite you to check out my previous article below…

To My Fellow 孤, The Sons Without Fathers On Father’s Day

As well as this article by a fellow creator…

What You Learn Losing A Parent So Young

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