Take a Ticket. Look for giving trees in stores
that support local charities. Contribute a
longed-for toy to a child who might not
otherwise receive it or donate experiences
like going to the zoo or to the theater.
Feed Your Community. Connect school
organization fundraisers to local charities by
inviting attendees to bring a non-perishable
food item or two to gain admission to events
that would otherwise be free.
Think Stocking Stuffer. Buy trinkets
for family helpers like babysitters, yard
workers, and dog walkers. A little bit of
thoughtfulness goes a long way.
Donate Warmth. Dig through your closets
and find old coats or even new coats that
seldom get worn. Offer them to a local coat
drive or tax-exempt charitable resale shop.
5 Fill Those Pots. Keep change in your purse
to give to donation bell-ringers and others
asking for a holiday handout. This is an
interactive way to teach children that it is a
blessing to give as much as to receive.
6 De-clutter All Year. The less clutter you have,
the more generous you have been. Gather
donations after the kids go back to school,
make another round of donations after the
holidays, then declutter once more after
school gets out for the summer.
Let Kids Sort Too. Ask your kids to go
through their rooms a month before the
holidays to make room for the new. Consider
the best ways to donate based on what they
have to offer.
Use Sock Sense. Shelters often need
donations of new socks. Watch for sales on
socks all season, gather as many as you can,
and contribute them to a regional shelter. 22
Connect Directly. Join an online community
discussion group and watch for requests from
local families for holiday assistance. Be sure
to choose a safe place to meet up to make
any exchanges of goods or food. 23
Volunteer as a Family. Contact local senior
centers, soup kitchens or animal shelters and
see if they offer families a way to participate
Over There. Send holiday boxes to soldiers
serving our country overseas. Put yourself
in their shoes before you shop. What would
surprise and delight you?
Double Your Donation. Participate in a
matching gift program of some kind. Ask
your employer what they offer.
Roll up a Sleeve. Save a Life. Donate blood
with teens who are eligible to participate.
Make it an annual tradition.
Spread Seeds. Make a feeder for winter
birds and keep it full of birdseed you buy in
bulk until spring arrives.
Turn the Page. Go through your shelves and
remove books you no longer love. Donate
them to your local library or resale shop.
Get Crafty. Come up with a fun, simple craft
or recipe project so each child can make gifts
for friends one weekend. Pinterest is always a
good place to look.
Sweets for the Sweet. Write thank you notes
to teachers and instructors and include a gift
card for something tasty.
Shop Win-Win-Win. Buy some of your holiday
gifts from a shop or organization that
supports others. Sustainable gifts, shared
profits, and sales that support the community
in some way are all fair game.
Be Thoughtful. Create a quick, annual list
describing your year and mail it to faraway
relatives with school photos for refrigerators.
Toys For The Win. Watch for toy baskets at
local businesses you frequent. Have your child
pick out a toy they once enjoyed receiving to
contribute. Or choose one yourself.
Create Good Karma. Pay for a cup of coffee
or cocoa for the next person at the local
coffee shop or drive-up window and make
Spread Cheer. All season long, encourage
your children to slow down, smile at others
as they go by, and wish them, “Happy
Holidays,” once they make eye contact.
Hide a Surprise. Put a cookie plate or box of
chocolates in the mailbox for your delivery
person. Put the flag up or post a sticky note
on the box to let them know it’s in there.
Consider Ongoing Giving. Together, come up
with ways your family can give year-round.
Charities are often flooded with donations
around the holidays but could use more
support during the rest of the year. Spring
and early summer are common dry periods
for food banks.
Bundle Them Up. Go though your old hats,
mittens, and gloves and donate them to a
local family shelter.
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