For many of us, the holiday season is fraught with the stress of finding the perfect gift for the people we love.
Another stress – pretending to love the presents you get.
The greatest stress, perhaps, that we all feel is how to give back. Whether your empathy or guilt is inspired by Santacon-goers, Salvation Army bell ringers, or red-bucket donation collectors – you will undoubtedly feel the desire to give back, spread the joy, and ensure that everyone has something to celebrate in the coming days.
So, to save you additional stress, here are four ways you can give back this holiday season and keep that warm fuzzy feeling past the 25th. (Plus, they’ll help in soothing your conscience on the 1st morning, no matter what shenanigans New Year’s Eve brought upon your tortured soul).
1. Organize (or contribute to a Food Drive)
If you don’t have the time or a large social network to tap, have your kid organize a food drive at school! The food can be collected and donated to a local nursing home or to a food kitchen (or pantry) in your local city.
Tip: Make sure to call beforehand and make sure there aren’t any restrictions you’ve overlooked before choosing the recipient organization!
If this sounds like too much, when you’re at the grocery store, pick up an extra of whatever you buy and give it to the store to donate for you!
2. Host a Craft Making Party
If you’re into DIY craft activities, spare a few hours, and host a craft making party in your PJs! This is great for parents, who need to be child-free for a few hours while running errands or shopping. The best part, though, is the take home the children get.
Kids will smile (before, during and after potentially driving you crazy) but will hug you before leaving with their handmade ornaments (masking tape and glitter), painted plastic plates, and so on.
Tip: Team up with local businesses for supplies or funding and free advertising. Hold the party at your local library or public space and you may even get help with funding!
3. Offer Your Services!
If you have a company that provides services or if you have any specialized knowledge or skills, consider training someone or helping out. This can range from proofreading college essays to reviewing mortgage payments! But, the holiday season is one time when people feel the strains of unemployment the hardest. So, teach whomever you can whatever you can. You know the phrase – “Give a man a fish…”
Tip: Put a flyer up in your local drug store, church or bank – and have your friends do the same for you!
4. Give Your Gifts Away!
I’ve found a perfect solution to all those presents I don’t like or know I’ll never use! Give them away!! You can give them to organizations that collect items for charity or even to thrift stores such as Goodwill.
Tip: Don’t give anything away that isn’t in a nice condition. They won’t take it and that ruins the spirit. But, ask nicely and they’ll tell you how you can qualify for tax deductions!
Other ideas? Organize a present wrapping drive for people who can’t afford wrapping paper and ribbons! For more, here’s a great post with specific ideas and links to organizations! Got any more ideas? Read about any organizations doing great work this season? Let us know (@maximhy) and we’ll tweet them out, with credit to you of course!