The holiday season is a time for giving, but have you ever thought about giving more than presents under the tree? Giving gifts to your family and friends is nice, but there is a way to spread even more holiday cheer and do good for your community.
By donating your time, resources and/or money to local nonprofits and those less fortunate, you can help brighten everyone’s holiday. If you’re not sure where to start, here are some of IKO Community Management’s favorite ways to give back this holiday:
- Donate gently used books, tapes and toys to your local library, church or hospital.
- Play Santa by organizing a charity drive to collect gifts for local families in need, or adopt a family through your local Salvation Army branch to shop for gifts from their personalized wish list.
- Purchase restaurant gift cards and hand them out to people in need.
- Make holiday care packages for overseas troops that include fun decorations, handmade thank you cards and letters, small gifts of appreciation and pictures from home.
- Ask your child if they would like to cut their hair for Locks of Love, a program that donates healthy hair to cancer patients.
- Buy extra sets of gloves, fuzzy socks or scarves and drop them off at a needy school.
- Work with your local Rotary Club to put together holiday feast baskets full of ham, desserts, bread and other seasonal staples for less fortunate families.
- Volunteer at your local Soup Kitchen or homeless shelter. A few hours of volunteer work could ease some of that holiday stress.
- Give new toys to a child in need by donating to your local Toys for Tots.
- Be a part of the Pay it Forward initiative. Start a chain reaction by paying for the order of someone behind you in line.
- Make a donation to a charity that’s close to your heart. Gratitude is a gift that keeps on giving.
- Tip your wait staff with a holiday bonus. Instead of the typical 20 percent, throw in a few extra dollars.
- Schedule a visit to your local nursing home or hospital to sing Christmas carols. You can also take cards and decorations to lift holiday spirits.
- Donate canned items to your local food bank or church collection.
- Pack lunches for those who typically work during the holidays. Drop off sandwiches, bags of fruits and veggies and cookies to police stations, fire stations, hospitals or retail stores.
- Visit your local pet shelter to walk and play with some furry friends who don’t have a home yet. If you don’t have time during the holiday rush, drop off some blankets, food or pet toys instead.
- Say thank you to everyone, and pay a compliment. Kind words cost nothing, and the positive reaction you’ll receive is priceless.
- If you have unused frequent flier miles, consider donating them to someone who can’t make it home for the holidays through the Make-A-Wish Foundation's Wishes in Flight.
- Write a cheerful note for someone’s windshield, or pay for their meter or parking ticket. A little love goes a long way.
- Donate your child’s outgrown or gently used sports equipment to Sports Gift, where it’ll be donated to children around the world.
Whether you choose to do a few or all of these ideas, giving back to your community this holiday season is a wonderful way to spread holiday cheer. By doing good for others, you can also teach your kids what the holidays are really about: compassion and selflessness.
From all of us at IKO Community Management, don’t just give this holiday season. Give back.