With Christmas rapidly approaching and the New Year just 2 weeks away, many of us are feeling stressed out and overwhelmed. Even if you enjoy this time of the year, the to-do list seems to grow daily and getting everything done in time feels like hard work.
All that hard work can actually make some of us feel a little down about the holidays. But instead of letting the long to-do list get to you, maybe you should shift your thoughts to others. Research shows that helping those in need is actually one of the best ways to help lift your own mood. Giving is receiving. When we give with an open heart and spirit, what we receive in return is immeasurable.
And what can make giving back even more special is doing it with the people you love most. It give you the opportunity to spend time bonding with your family, and it also teaches your kids that the holidays are not about how many gifts you can get. Kids need to know this season is so much deeper than that.
When we give with an open heart and spirit, what we receive in return is immeasurable.
Well there is still time for you to roll up your sleeves and give back. And it doesn’t have to happen in time for Christmas. You can still do a lot for families leading up to the New Year and well into the winter months. And since finding child-friendly places to volunteer can be tough if you have very young ones, all of these ideas are things you can with children of all ages.
Here are 5 simple ways to give back this holiday season.
1. Create care kits for the elderly
Although many elderly people living in nursing homes are visited by family members, many are not. The holidays can be so tough for those individuals. Contact your local nursing homes and find out if their residents are in need of some tender loving care. If they welcome your visit, you can find out what the residents might need and create care packages to take over. Things like a deck of cards, healthy snacks, holiday socks, lip balm, and even packs of tissue may be greatly appreciated. You can also come prepared to play a few games or just sit and chat with people who could really use some cheering up. If you bring holiday cards with you, that’s an extra special touch and your kids would probably love making them.
2. Donate new toys to a local shelter
This is as simple as it gets. Take your kids shopping for new toys and donate them to a local shelter. Call ahead to see what the shelter needs and when you can drop the items off. And you don’t have to spend much. Take the kids to the dollar store and give them each $10 to spend. Kids in shelters often don’t get much and sometimes having something new, no matter how small, is all they need to make them feel special.
3. Host a neighborhood coat & pajama drive
I did this last year and it was super easy. I reached out to all my neighbors and told them we were hosting a pajama and book drive for two weeks (you can also do coats, nonperishable foods, or other items). I then placed a box in front of my home with a sign on it and people dropped off items when they were able. My kids would check the boxes daily to see what neighbors dropped off. I did a little research and we found a local shelter that really needed the items we collected. We dropped everything off and that was that. This is a super simple way to help those in need by tapping into your neighborhood and asking your family to help.
4. Deliver meals
Although most soup kitchens won’t allow small kids to volunteer, your kids can help you prepare meals at home so you can later drop those off. Make calls to local shelters and churches, or ask your neighbors if they know of anyone near by who is elderly or sick. Once you know where your meals (or treats) are going, get busy in your own kitchen, package everything nicely, and take the kids with you when you make that special delivery.
5. Create activity kits for women and kids living in women’s shelters
There are many shelters for abused women and their children. Those kids and their moms could really benefit from activities that lift their spirits and keep them distracted for just a bit. For kids, you can create craft kits, art kits, science kits, or kits with fun and easy games. For the moms, you can create self-care kits, art kits, journaling kits, or kits with inspirational books and quotes. You have no idea how much this small gesture can lift a person’s spirit and make them smile when life has knocked them down.
BMWK family, what are you doing with your family to give back this holiday season?