We’re well into the holiday season, as Hanukkah began in November and just recently ended, and many are looking forward to Christmas in the next few weeks. Now is the perfect time to consider all you have to be grateful for, as it is the season of giving.
You may be wondering how you can express gratitude and appreciation. It’s so easy to get caught up in your daily routine — sometimes, it’s nice to take a look around and make a mental note of the things in your life that make you the happiest. We all have something to be grateful for!
Let’s discuss eight ways to give back during the season of giving and celebrate all that life has to offer.
1. Buy a Gratitude Journal
It’s the ultimate goal to live a life led by gratitude. More recently, the concept of a gratitude journal has become increasingly popular. Expressing gratitude in written form can fire up areas of the brain responsible for controlling emotions and mood and increase dopamine and serotonin levels.
Consider buying a gratitude journal to write in every day. Wake up and write down a handful of things you’re grateful for each morning. It can make a significant difference in how you feel each day and positively impact your life.
2. Have Family Conversations About Gratitude
Because the holiday season is also about family, now may be the best time to teach your young children about the meaning of gratitude. Teaching children early on about gratitude helps them become more well-rounded adults.
Believe it or not, but by age five, gratitude can play a key role in ensuring a child’s happiness. Once kids reach the tween years, grateful children tend to be happier, optimistic and more satisfied with their lives.
Whether it’s on the car ride to school or sitting around the dinner table, open up a conversation about gratitude with your children.
Discuss how some people lack necessities like food, water, shelter or even clothing. Encourage them to share what they’re grateful for. You can even make it a fun family activity or game!
3. Donate to a Food Pantry
The feeling of a full belly is something that could mean the world to someone, especially those who may be struggling to make ends meet or get food on the table during the holiday season.
All it takes is collecting some nonperishable food items from your pantry or the grocery store. You can find your local food pantry when you visit websites like Feeding America or Food Pantries.
Giving back to your local community is a great way to express your gratitude and help those in need.
4. Donate Clothes and Winter Jackets
Because the holidays take place during winter, some families may not be able to afford clothing, especially winter jackets or coats. Consider going through the closets in your home to find old clothing that is better off being donated than sitting on a hanger.
There are a few benefits to donating old clothes: you’re saving the planet, giving clothes a second life, decluttering your closet and helping an individual who would otherwise spend the winter freezing.
Consider donating to the American Red Cross, Goodwill, or any other nonprofit organization that could benefit from your generosity.
5. Participate in a Giving Tree Fundraiser
Whether it’s in a church, supermarket or local mall, there should be a giving tree in your area.
If you don’t know how giving trees work, you essentially pick a card off of the tree and buy gifts according to the information you receive on your card. It may say something like, “Boy, Age 3. Likes cars and monkeys.”
From there, you know what type of gift to buy for that child in need. Each card may require something different, so make sure you’re buying the right kind of gift. That small gift may make that child’s holiday just a little more enjoyable, and it’s a perfect way to give back.
6. Adopt a Family
Similar to a giving tree fundraiser, there should be opportunities for you to provide meals, clothes or gifts to a family in need.
This is an incredible way to help families struggling — and let’s face it, the holiday season can be extremely stressful for low-income families, especially with the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
It’s best to contact your local charity or nonprofit organizations to see if they’re running an Adopt a Family program for the holidays. You can also visit Volunteer Match, a website that will connect you to needy families.
7. Make Christmas and Hanukkah Cards for the Troops
One way to express gratitude is to recognize that not every person can spend the holidays with their families or loved ones. Consider how active military members may be deployed and cannot make it home for Christmas or Hanukkah.
This holiday season, make homemade, handwritten holiday cards to send to troops overseas.
Sailors, marines and army members will receive these cards and appreciate the kind words you have to share. Express how grateful you are for their service and wish them a happy holiday season.
8. Give an Anonymous Donation to a Nonprofit of Your Choice
Last but not least, consider giving an anonymous donation to a nonprofit organization of your choice.
There are many nonprofit organizations to choose from, whether you have a specific cause in mind you want to support or just giving a general donation.
One website called Silent Donor allows you to make private donations directly to organizations in need. It’s the largest donation platform in the U.S., works with schools, nonprofits and other charitable organizations.
Consider following some of the suggestions listed above if you’re looking for unique ways to express your gratitude this holiday season.
Gratitude and the Season of Giving
Christmas is only a few weeks away. Now is the best time to teach your children about gratitude and participate in different activities and fundraisers to give back to your community. Your generosity will surely be appreciated!