So last year I put a little wish list* out in the universe & this year I thought it would be nice to put some ideas out there for making other spirits bright.
People tend to get in the giving spirit this time of year, but don’t always know how to show it. I did some pinteresting, of course, & came up with some great ideas. I actually found so many ideas that it’s kind of difficult to compile them!
Something I used to do when my daughter was little was right before her birthday & Christmas we would always go through her room “Clean Sweep” style having her select items to keep, donate, or trash. Anything donate worthy went down to one of our local resale shops.
This is probably the most basic & easiest way to give back. Take those boxes & bags down to your local shelter, churches, or day care. Check your local newspaper, radio stations, community center or library bulletin boards for organizations accepting donations for drives.
Speaking of libraries, donate those outgrown tales to your local branch. Or check to see if any of the schools accept book donations.
Volunteer your time if you can. It doesn’t even have to be much.
- Lend a hand at a soup kitchen (if you’re a local check out Feed My Sheep)
- Deliver meals to homebound neighbors- maybe even help them decorate for Christmas (don’t forget to come back & help put it away though too)
- Visit patients in hospitals/nursing homes
- Clear snow from a neighbor’s sidewalk or car
- Wash/walk/play with animals in your local shelter
- Give someone your place in line
- Leave coupons with the products in a store
If you have the means there are lots of big & small ways to spread Christmas cheer.
- Baking cookies or treats? Double the recipe & drop off the extras at a community center, nursing home, hospital, library, firehouse, police station, or someone’s stoop.
- Carry travel size packs to give to the homeless: soap, toothbrush, toothpaste, socks, gloves, snacks, & a gift card.
- Donate to ARF to keep pets warm in the winter.
- Pay off someone’s late fees at the library or movie rental place (yes, those still exist).
- Make a payment towards someone’s layaway or utilities.
- Leave quarters in the Aldi carts or at the laundromat.
- Deliver flowers to the hospital & ask the staff to give them to a patient that needs their day brightened.
- Buy someone’s coffee (checkout Battlegrounds), take a hot drink to a bell ringer, or pay it forward in the drive thru line.
- Leave a larger tip at your favorite restaurant, nail salon, hair stylist. Or if you’re travelling leave a little something for the hotel housekeeping or your Airbnb host.
- Drop off lunch or gift cards for lunch to firehouses & police stations.
- Give the next in line a gift card to the store.
- Give gift cards to the school for students in need.
- Shop locally for your Christmas gifts. It may not seem like much, but bolstering your local economy especially in a small town is important.
I came across a fun idea to create a reverse Advent Calendar. So you’d get a stocking, bag, box, hamper, or whatever & everyday fill it with an item so at the end you have 1 lovely donation:
- Food for a food pantry, shelter, church, or someone’s stoop.
- Blankets, towels, treats, & toys for an animal shelter.
- School supplies for a student in need.
- Baby items for a daycare, church, or shelter to disperse.
One of my favorite ways too feel good & do good is shopping for someone in need. Every place I’ve worked has had a Secret Santa/Angel/Giving tree. Some have been employees in need of assistance, some are specifically area children nominated by teachers or outreach organizations, some are for our elderly community. No matter what it’s called it’s always wonderful knowing you’ve helped someone’s Christmas be brighter.
*This list was little to no avail anyway. Everybody bought me wine! I love wine, but come on guys, a gal needs more than wine to warm her winter heart!