You don't have to be a great detective to figure out that the holiday season is the time for giving. Retailers, from jewelry stores to auto manufacturers, have made that painfully clear as they flood the airwaves and cyberspace with images of beautiful diamond bracelets and luxury cars with giant red bows. And while many of us would love to indulge and shower those we love with beautiful and expensive gifts, it's simply not financially possible.
But those who understand the true meaning of the holiday season know that you don't have to spend large amounts of money to experience the joy of giving. There are plenty of little ways you can give back to make a big difference in the lives of others. Here are a few suggestions on how to give:
- Collect canned goods and other foods and bring them to a food pantry.
- Donate old coats and boots to a shelter. The winter can be cold and harsh for many struggling families.
- Visit elderly patients in nursing homes. The holidays can be a very lonely time for many people.
- Buy someone's cup of coffee in the drive-thru line.
- Shovel a driveway or walkway for an elderly neighbor.
- Write a letter or make a card to thank someone you care about.
- Collect and donate toys to give to less fortunate children, or to children in hospitals.
- Bake a cake or cookies for a neighbor.
- Do an act of kindness for someone and invite them to do the same for someone else. You'll start a chain of kindness.
- Volunteer at a food pantry or homeless shelter and invite family members to join you. You'll form a great bond of kindness.
- Read to a child.
- Smile and say hello to everyone you meet or encounter.
- Send a card or letter to a soldier away from home.
- Pick up trash to keep your community clean.
- Share your skills. If you have expertise in a certain area, such as resume writing, tutoring, cooking, etc., volunteer your time to help others who could benefit from your knowledge.
- Call or write a friend or family member you haven't seen in a while.
Start giving today.
Again, it doesn't take much to give back; all you need is an open heart. And that's a gift that's priceless.