Creative Ways to Give Back This 2017 Holiday Season
1. Give a generous tip. My husband and I love doing this throughout the year! I used to work as a waitress and so I completely understand that working on or around the holidays isn't always fun, but you can definitely make someone's day by leaving a bit more gratuity than normal especially if they were "working hard for the money."
2. Pick five friends to write 'gratitude' cards to. No matter who you talk to, people love getting snail mail. Unexpected snail mail is even better. Select a funny card, sit down, and write your friends reasons why you are thankful for them, things you enjoy about your friendship, and/or reminiscing on fun times you've had together!
3. Invite someone over for dinner who may have recently moved to the area, be isolated/lonely for the holiday, lost a family member, or is going through a rough time. Chances are you know someone in one of these categories! While this is also something great you can do throughout the year, it's much more impactful during the holidays when feelings and memories are heightened! And most often people don't want to spend the holidays alone.
4. Pick a random Go Fund Me, and donate to it. Choose a cause you deem worthy , and you'll never know what impact your gift will be for an individual or family in need. Makes me feel like Santa!
5. Cook meals for someone who could use the help. Over the past several months we've had both friends and family enduring some difficult times. I always find that a good meal can make anything better and is one less thing someone has to worry about! If you're not a great cook, choose a one pan dinner or casserole, which usually are fairly simple recipes --both from a complexity standpoint and number of ingredients.
6. Deliver baked goods to your hair salon, dentist office, post(wo)man--any member of your life that may be a large, unsung part of your routine. Baking during the holidays just seems like a right of passage, does it not? (I especially love these Pumpkin Cream Cheese muffins!) If you're not a baker, just pick up a dozen donuts instead. Bringing the sweet treats to the people that are always there, but that you may not think about goes along way! Everyone loves to be appreciated and remembered for their efforts now and again (especially your postal workers, firefighters, rescue and EMS, and police officers!).
7. Offer to gift wrap presents for a busy Mom or Dad. This may not be up everyone's alley, but I LOVE wrapping gifts during the holidays, so much so that I go to my Mom's every year to help her with all the presents for the grand-kids (and she buys a lot of gifts!). It gives me great joy to bond with my Mom during that time, but also help take one more thing off her plate during the holiday season.
8. Pay for someone's lunch, coffee, etc. I know you've heard of the expression pay it forward, so while this isn't the most creative way to give back, it's easy enough and there are so many opportunities in your life to do this!
7. Purchase with purchase. Days like Small Business Saturday or Giving Tuesday are integral ways in which you can give back to an ethical brand or small business by choosing to purchase through them rather a bigger company. Your dollars help the real faces and families behind these small businesses.
8. Snuggle dogs at the Wake County Animal Center. Yes, this is totally a thing (and are you surprised that it's on my list?!) You can submit your application via their website to spend time with many of these dogs and cats who desperately need affection and attention! If you don't have the time to spend, be sure to collect old blankets to donate to the center to keep the animals comfortable during the cold season.
9. Host your own clothing and food drive. Yes, that's right, you can host your own drive. Pick a local food bank or organization you'd like to donate clothing to, create a Facebook invite, tell people when and where they can drop off items, and schedule an end date. Voila! This gets the community involved, too, and can be a great resource for food banks or shelters who are inundated during the holiday season.