Five Easy Ways to Give Back to Your Community This Christmas

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Wrapping presents, sending cards, baking goodies, listening to festive music, decorating the pine tree with your family... Things like this certainly put you in the cheery Christmas mood. This December celebration has always been known as “the season of giving”, and as you’re reading this, I’m sure that you have already begun to plan your Christmas gift list, and who you’ll be giving presents to this year.

There are many ways that you can give back this holiday season besides donating money to charities; that is, you can help the lesser fortunate and organizations that aim to assist them, or put a smile on someone’s face that otherwise might not be wearing one during this time of year.

Donate Clothes and Toys

Many organizations like the Salvation Army, among many others, collect donated clothes, food, books and toys all year around to distribute to children’s homes, homeless shelters and disadvantaged families, and they do this even more so at this time of year.

If you have any clothes that no longer fit or you don’t wear anymore, you can consider donating them to any of these organizations. Go through your wardrobe, and pick out pieces of clothing that you no longer need. Make sure that they are in good condition and have minimal to no damage. Ask your family members to contribute as well, especially any children that may have clothes that they have outgrown. It is recommended to wash the clothes before you donate them, so that they could be ready for distribution. Put them in bags or boxes, so that they would be easy to carry to the organization’s headquarters. Also, if you know of a homeless person that does not have suitable clothing for the weather, you can give them a blanket or a jacket.

You can also give toys. Charitable groups such as church associations would be happy for contributions of these, as well as children’s homes and the children’s wards of hospitals. Again, make sure that the toys are in good condition; stuffed toys can be wiped down or washed and you can include a small pack of batteries for any playthings that are battery-operated. Also, you could buy some new toys and give them as well.

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Buy Gifts that Donate to a Cause

When shopping for presents to check off your list, look or ask for ones that a portion (or all, in some cases) of the purchase goes to a deemed organization. There are a variety of brands that contribute towards a mixture of causes, including providing food and clothing for needy children, medication for those that are sick, and the preservation of wild animal species. Magazines such as Seventeen, People and Good Housekeeping often publish lists of these products in their holiday issues.

Some product brands that double as charitable organizations include TOMS shoes, which for every pair of shoes bought, provides a pair for a child in need, Product (RED) that raises money for AIDS victims and research, and the World Wildlife Fund, who helps animals of any kind. Products that give back include makeup, clothing, jewelry and some special editions of electronics.

Donate to Food Banks

Food banks are at their busiest at this time of year, providing meals for those who otherwise might not have. You can go through your cupboards and take out packages and cans of food that you would not mind donating, package them and deliver them to the nearest food bank. Items such as canned and packaged goods, sugar, cereals, bags of rice, packages of oatmeal and even loaves of bread would be ideal to donate. If you can afford it, the next time you go grocery shopping, buy a few extra packages and cans that you can give to the food bank.

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Volunteer

Volunteering is definitely a great way of giving back to the community this holiday season. There are many places and options, such as providing entertainment for the residents in an elderly persons’ home, serving food at shelters for the homeless, or spending the day at a children’s home, showing movies and providing popcorn, or reading to them. Interact with the people, and who knows, you might make a few new friends! It’d be sure to put smiles on the faces of the people, and you’d be rewarded with knowing that you helped to make their day a little brighter.

The management of such places would be more than happy for volunteers, especially at this time of year. Call them before hand to ask if and when you can visit, and share any ideas that you have, such as activities.

Volunteering can also be something simple, like offering to clear the driveway of snow or weather-related debris, cook or do grocery shopping for an elderly neighbour, or someone who might not be able to do it themselves. You can even ask them if they’d need help with putting up their lights and house decorations, or their Christmas tree.

If you know an elderly person who may not be able to cook for themselves, you can offer to provide a cooked Christmas meal for them. Prepare the meal two days before, and that way, they’d only have to reheat it. If you want, you can even invite them to your family’s Christmas meal.

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Use the Phone to Spread Joy

Phone calls are one of the most popular ways to connect with family members and loved ones this holiday season. If a family member is overseas or not able to come home for Christmas (such as a college student or someone with a new job), calling them to see how they’re doing would definitely make them a bit happier. Also, call relatives that you have not seen in a long time. It’d let them know that you are thinking of them.

If there is a family member that has a well-earned reputation to be grumpy, calling them to wish them a merry Christmas might break through that hard shell. Magical things have been said to have happened during the December holidays!


Have fun spreading happiness this season, and have a wonderful Christmas!

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Comments 4 comments

FrugalandFab profile image

FrugalandFab 4 years ago from New Hampshire

What a wonderful hub. It's so easy this time of year to get wrapped up in your own busy schedule. Thanks for reminding us all that it truly does not take much to help make someone's holiday season a brighter one. Good stuff.


That Grrl profile image

That Grrl 4 years ago from Barrie, Ontario, Canada

Nice idea for a post. :) Seasons Greetings.


johnnymnemonic 4 years ago

Great tips for Christmas! Voted up!


Maraiya Storm profile image

Maraiya Storm 4 years ago from Prescott, Arizona

Wow, what a great hub! A new idea for me was buying products that donate to causes...because of your comments on this now I'll keep a lookout for that. Thanks for your nice comments on my hub about the homeless. I wrote a hub about Christmas recently, too, but it's more on the downside of Christmas and how to get over the Christmas blues. I love Christmas and everything we do with it and also what it represents symbolically and what it's about spiritually, but I seem to have a hard time having a great Christmas. Giving to others greatly helps, though. And I relate to your hub also because I work for an organization that helps the poor every week of the year, and especially at Christmas time when we give gifts to families who can't afford to buy presents for their kids, and it's like a big room like Santa's factory. We give great hot meals three days a week, and someone around Thanksgiving time donated 250 turkeys to us! Then someone else donated some more, too, but now we can't find space for them all!

Anyway, it's nice to meet you on Hub Pages.

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