8 Ways to Give Back this Holiday Season

For many, the holiday season is a time to spend time with family and friends, cook and bake your favorite foods, and snuggle at home by the fire or under the blanket with loved ones. It's also a frenzy to decorate the house, shop for gifts and break down the endless Amazon boxes for the weekly trash pickup.

In the hustle and bustle of all these things, remember to take time to think about those that do not have family to spend their holiday with or a place to call home. As you appreciate the things you are thankful for, here are 8 ways to give back this holiday season.

Give back this holiday season

  1. Donate non-food items to your local homeless shelters. Shelters need more than just food to support those in need. Think toilet paper, bed sheets, pillows, towels, toiletries, toys, household cleaning and kitchen supplies. Blankets and new socks are especially welcome in the cold winter months. Most centers post the items they need on their website so check with your local centers to see what they need!
  2. Volunteer your time with Habitat for Humanity to build homes for families who need extra help this year. Sign up as a family, encourage your colleagues to spend a day together or go on your own — you're sure to meet some great people!
  3. As you shop for gifts, look for ways to give donations with the things you buy. Add the extra dollar at the checkout line or shop with online vendors that donate a portion of their proceeds to a nonprofit organization.
  4. Support those that won't have a warm meal this holiday without the help of your local food kitchen or food bank. Serve a meal, make a monetary donation, donate food or volunteer your time to pack up food kits.
  5. volunteer at food kitchen
  6. Write a letter or send a care package to our troops! Men and women in our military sacrifice their time away from their families each holiday season to protect our country. Organizations like Operation Gratitude or A Million Thanks collect letters and packages and send them off to our troops. You can choose to send mail to a new recruit, deployed troop, first responder or even a veteran. There are also different ways to give through Soldiers' Angels and Adopt A US Soldier, which allow you to adopt and spoil specific soldiers for the holidays. Be sure to take note of any deadlines to ensure your holiday package reaches our service members in time.
  7. Donate to newstorycharity.org — when you give to New Story, every penny of your donation goes directly to hiring locals, buying local materials, and building a home.
  8. Cancel your catalogs. Anybody else have a pile of catalogs laying around their house that they never wanted but feel guilty throwing out? As the holiday season approaches, mailboxes get filled to the brims with catalogs. Sure some people enjoy flipping through the pages of their favorite brand's catalog, but one thing is for sure: we all end up on catalog mailer lists for brands we've never heard of and inevitably put these catalogs straight in the trash. And even if we do receive catalogs for brands we know and love, many prefer to go straight to online stores.

    The nonprofit Catalog Choice was built to help us combat this excessive waste. According to Catalog Choice, "every year, over 100 million trees are cut down to produce junk mail that often goes straight to the trash." Cancel all your catalogs in one place on catalogchoice.org.
  9. Visit your local senior living or nursery home to spend time with the elderly. As you coordinate your holiday party schedule, think about the people who may not have anyone to spend their holiday with. Senior living facilities rely on volunteers to bring cheer and positive spirit to the community. Play games, have a conversation or sing carols! The gift of your time will surely bring smiles to their faces.
  10. visit your local senior living home

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