The holiday season—regardless of whatever holidays you choose to celebrate—is intended to be a time of gift-giving and merriment for all. Practicing gratitude is as important as giving physical gifts since toys, sweaters, or tangible objects are not the only things people appreciate and value. Giving your time, donating to charity or a nonprofit, or lending the power of your voice or support within your community are all ways to express gratitude outwardly.
An excellent example of an organization that exists solely to give back to those in need is Forgotten Harvest. Delivering over 144,000 pounds of surplus food per day to local charities (five days a week!), Forgotten Harvest has been providing families in need with fresh and nutritious food free of charge for 30 years. Anyone can help give to Forgotten Harvest, whether through a monetary donation, volunteering or food donation.
For people who insist on giving presents, making a charitable donation in someone’s name or doing something nice on their behalf is a wonderful way to participate still, yet simultaneously help someone or an organization in need. Companies like Charity on Top exist to allow people the opportunity to make a monetary donation for a friend or relative through a gift card redeemable for whatever charity or cause they’d like.
To help families help give gifts to their loved ones, Pay Away the Layaway allows people across the country to donate to help pay off the layaway balances for unsuspecting families. Items include games, toys, books, backpacks, clothes and coats. Their mission is to inspire hope and spread kindness.
Giving Tuesday is a global movement that has been going strong for a decade now, in which people are encouraged to do good for others—especially during the gifting season. “Radical generosity” and shared humanity are the goals, with the Tuesday following Thanksgiving now known as Giving Tuesday.
The official website and backing organization for GivingTuesday is a wonderful resource, network and directory of ways to give back. And as a general concept, Giving Tuesday doesn’t have to result in purchasing for others. It can be as easy as lending an ear, shoveling a neighbor’s walkway or spending time with a lonesome loved one. The movement heavily focuses on gratitude, thoughtfulness and generosity, and the holiday season is the perfect time to share these tenets.
It’s simple to participate in your community. You could make a point to shop at independently-owned businesses near your home or dine at restaurants in your community. Perhaps you bring the garbage cans in for a neighbor. There are several great ways to give back to your immediate surroundings. Whichever one(s) you select, you’re bound to make an impact and brighten someone’s day.