Ways to Give Back During the Holidays (That Don’t Involve Money)
As the holidays approach, many of us fall somewhere between gift-list shopping in our free time and not knowing what to get those who seem to have everything. Queue the panic buying. While gift-giving is a time-honored tradition, there are other ways to give back for the holidays that don’t involve money and that can help those in need. Giving back at Christmas and for the holidays doesn’t even require you to spend money!
1. Gift it forward
If you have children, it’s very likely that you’ll be ushering in a new batch of Christmas toys. This offers a unique opportunity for free holiday giving and to prepare your space for new things, clear the space of old or unused things, and gift gently, but no longer used toys to another child in need.
Before any new toys or gifts make their way to your living room floor, do a quick 30-minute sprint around the house with a large bag or box. Collect any old toys, books, towels, puzzles, coloring books, and so on. Then, join a local buy-nothing group in your area and list it all for pickup. Not down for the group but still want to give? There are many charities looking for donations this time of year.
This is the perfect time of year to do a fast pass through the house for any other unused or unwanted items to donate. Giving back at Christmas time doesn’t have to take more than an hour. It helps to clear any lingering clutter of unused goods in your home, keeps items out of the landfill, and gives someone else the opportunity to give those items a good home.
2. Clean out your pantry
Throughout the year we’ve stocked our pantries in case of an emergency, planned recipes that never quite made it to the plate, or forgot we had stock and bought more. Now you’ve got a pantry bursting at the seams. It’s time to fix that before holiday meal planning adds to the problem.
Don’t get overwhelmed when giving back at Christmas. Set a timer for 30 minutes and ruthlessly go through all of your pantry and cupboards. Any foods that you’re not going to use soon (or for your holiday meals), and are approaching their expiration dates should get put in the box. Your nearest food bank will appreciate the kind donation that will help to serve many community members throughout the holidays. This type of free holiday giving benefits everyone and is a great teachable moment for little minds learning about helping others.
Want to take it a step further? Food pantries need the extra helping hands to sort and inventory incoming donations, prepare food, serve (and much more), and would benefit greatly from your gift of volunteering.
3. Give time
While our kids and loved ones are thrilled to open gifts, there’s something extra special about the gift of quality uninterrupted time to have fun and bond. Plan a night (or whole day!) to stay in and cuddle with your family and watch holiday movies, paint or do crafts, work on puzzles, play a board game, film a fun family dance video, or take part in a game to bring you closer together – like this deck of conversation-inspiring questions. Plan the day as a family where everyone gets to choose one thing to do and then make the list in an order that works for everyone. No chores. No list-making. No phone zone. It’s times like these that will create lasting memories for you and your family.
During this busy season, having a whole day of not leaving the house together can sound like the ultimate gift of leisure and is one of the best ways to get in that free holiday giving. But, also, if it doesn’t sound like that, we can help you feel that way with our Daily Drop. We could all use a little help to stay calm while the kids argue over what movie to pick 😉
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