The shift from Thanksgiving to Christmas can be a little odd. We spend a week reflecting on all the many blessings in our lives and how grateful we are for all that we have. And then, at the stroke of midnight on the Friday after Thanksgiving (and sometimes on Thanksgiving Day itself), we’re inundated with commercials and sales telling us we need to get more stuff.
But most of us are still ruminating on that concept of giving back. As we celebrate the anniversary of God’s gift, we want to give back to our family, our community, our church, and, many times, to people we don’t even know. So if that’s something you’d like to explore, read on to discover ways to give back this holiday season.
Are you braving the elements on your way to volunteer? Stay safe with these 7 winter safety tips.
10 Ways to Give Back During the Holiday Season
Whether it’s by participating in a charity 5K or something as simple as smiling at a stranger on the street, there are a lot of ways to make someone else’s Christmas a little better. Here are 10 ideas for giving back this holiday season:
- Spread the joy of the season by inviting someone to your holiday celebration. You don’t have to go out on the street to find someone. How about the friend who doesn’t have children or whose children live far away? How about the friend who has difficulty getting around or is unable to cook for themselves?
- Lend a hand by helping out a caregiver with the responsibility of her parent (or her children). Offer to take the parent out to do some shopping or to an appointment so the caregiver can get their own holiday shopping done or just take the afternoon off.
- If you have friends who live in an assisted living or skilled nursing community, stop by and visit with them and other residents. Who knows? You may make a new friend while you’re at it.
- Be kind to Mother Earth by using reusable shopping bags as you complete your holiday checklists. It’s a simple and effective way to reduce landfill waste during a season that sees a lot of extra trash being tossed.
- Put your talents to work by volunteering to play music or teach a painting class at a nearby assisted living or skilled nursing community. You could also visit a nearby hospital and volunteer as a newborn cuddler or donate craft supplies for young patients. And lastly, if you don’t want to go out in the frigid weather, try these options for volunteering in the winter.
- Christmas cookies never go unappreciated. Bake an extra batch of your favorite recipe (or try The Esquiline’s own Chef Todd Schrage’s recipe for pumpkin bread pudding, a delicious seasonal treat) and take it to a local shelter. If there’s not a charity in your area that could use an extra batch of cookies, you could always take some to the library, post office, or police station to thank civil servants for their hard work.
- Donate to the Violence Prevention Center of Southwest Illinois. Because of the annual spike in violence around the holiday season, shelters frequently need clothing, toiletries, and toys. Money is always helpful, too.
- Become a Dollar Store angel by leaving dollars in places where people can find them at local dollar stores, where people on limited incomes tend to shop.
- If you live in a senior living community, volunteer programs may already be organized. Ask a staff member and they’ll be able to help guide you.
- Give back to the church by volunteering at Our Lady of the Snows in Belleville or your own church. They always appreciate an extra set of willing hands.
Make a Difference This Holiday Season and Beyond
“How marvelous it would be if, at the end of the day, each of us could say: today I have performed an act of charity towards others!”
Giving back at Christmas can be incredibly rewarding. It’s a way to continue the spirit of thanksgiving that November brings in a way that honors the true meaning of Christmas.
But just because Christmas ends, that doesn’t mean volunteer opportunities go away. Download our eBook, Continuing to Make Your Mark, to learn more about volunteer opportunities, the benefits of volunteering, and ways to practice gratitude all year long.
And as you venture forth to give back, you might be getting more and more frustrated with the endless piles of snow and dangerous patches of ice. If you’re ready to live maintenance-free, it might be time to start looking at independent living communities. Here at The Esquiline, we offer plenty of amenities to live comfortably and conveniently.