How to give back during the holidays
The holiday season tends to pass by quickly between shopping, parties, decorating, and spending time with family. Because there's so much going on, it can be challenging carving out time for the causes you believe in. Luckily, you can make a difference just by getting more involved in your community and organizations you care about. Here are nine ways you can spread some cheer and give back this holiday season:
1. Host a letter-writing party
More Love Letters is a global letter-writing campaign that mails anonymous love letters worldwide to those in need. Since the holidays can be challenging for many people, this is a great opportunity to help support those who may need a little extra support. You can host a letter-writing party with friends and coworkers just in time for the 12 Days of Love Letters holiday letter-writing campaign.
2. Serve meals at a soup kitchen
Another great way to give back to your community is volunteering at a homeless shelter during meal service hours. Homeless shelters are especially crowded during the holidays, and many staff welcome extra volunteers, so consider bringing along a friend or two. To find food pantries looking for help in your area, check out FoodPantries.org.
3. Hold an online fundraiser
If you're unable to volunteer or donate, you can hold an online fundraiser and get your friends, family, neighbors, and coworkers involved. Organizations like the Red Cross allow you to start a fundraiser where you can set a goal, tell everyone why you're fundraising, and then have others sponsor you. You can then choose a fun activity, like an ice skate-a-thon.
4. Donate blood
Many hospitals are facing life-threatening blood shortages. You can help give back to your community by taking the time to donate your blood and/or platelets. If you'd like to donate blood regularly, you must wait 56 days between whole blood donations. You can find your local blood donor center here.
5. Set up a holiday food drive
You and your neighbors can start your own holiday food drive in your neighborhood and help your local food bank with what they need most. Be sure to contact your local food bank before you get started to learn about how they typically work with food drives and any rules they might have. Check out these tips for hosting a food drive.
6. Donate to a charity
Giving to charity is great — not just for the organizations, but for the givers, too. However, it can be challenging to know how to pick the best charity, especially when there are thousands of worthy causes to fund. Consider making donations to large organizations, such as Feeding America, United Way, and Salvation Army that serve low-income communities across the US.
7. Buy gifts for families in need
Many low-income families are unable to afford Christmas and Hanukkah presents for their children. One way you can get involved is to host a family and buy presents for them. You can usually set this up through your local Salvation Army Angel Tree branch or a community center like Boys and Girls Club.
8. Help build homes
If you live in a warmer climate, an excellent way to volunteer your time and give back to your community is to help build homes with Habitat For Humanity, an organization that focuses on building homes for those in need. Gather some of your friends, family, and neighbors to help, too!
9. Deliver meals
The holidays can be a challenging time, especially for seniors without family around. Many nonprofits, such as Meals on Wheels, deliver premade nutritious meals to low-income seniors. You can get involved by delivering meals and visiting with homebound seniors.
- "15 Ways to Give Back This Holiday Season," Mental Floss, n.d.
- "Seven Ways to Give Back During the Holidays," Feeding America, December 4, 2019.