‘Tis the season of giving! You’re ready to put your purchasing power to work snagging the best gifts for your loved ones, but have you considered how much you’ll spend to help those you don’t know? The holidays are a great time to give back to your community, so in the spirit of giving, here are a few ways you can make the world a better place and give back this holiday season.
Giving back doesn’t have to hurt your wallet. You can donate your time to help those around you. For example, soup kitchens and homeless shelters are always looking for volunteers to distribute food and supplies, especially during the holidays. Another option is to bring your pet to a senior center. You’ll get a chance to spend quality time with elderly residents while they enjoy the company of your four-legged friend. To show your thanks for the service of others, you could try writing some holiday cards for active military and veterans. And while you’re dedicating time to those you don’t know, take a moment for those close to you. Offering up a night of babysitting or a home-cooked meal can go a long way for an overworked family member. Even shoveling your neighbor’s sidewalk is sure to spread holiday cheer!
It’s easy to donate goods without spending a lot of extra cash. As you hit the grocery store this holiday season, try to purchase one or two extra non-perishable goods. Pantries are always looking for nutritious options like whole grain pasta or peanut butter, in addition to toiletries such as toilet paper, shampoo, soap and toothpaste. You can also check your pantries and closets at home for anything you may not have used in the last few months. Another idea is teaming up with friends and family to pool your extras into care packages for those in need. You can distribute these packages to shelters or give them to individuals you know who may need extra support during the holidays.
There’s always the option to donate money, which is convenient because it saves you time and effort. If you’re the type of person who keeps a coin jar around the house, consider cashing it in and donating what you’ve saved. It’s rewarding to see the change in your pockets going toward changing someone’s life. Or instead of swapping gifts with a friend, donate to a charity in their name. If you’re committed to supporting a cause you care about, plan ahead and make room in your budget for a year-end gift. And don’t forget that many charitable donations are tax deductible!