The holidays are a wonderful time for family, friends, and gratitude. Make the most of this holiday season by doing some great deeds for those around you and brighten the lives of loved ones and strangers alike.
1) Anonymous Generosity
Spending the holidays in the hospital is hard on everyone who goes through it, and you can provide a bit of sunshine in a time that might feel hopeless. Anonymously send some get well treats from an online retailer like Shari’s Berries to your local cancer hospital. This will put a smile on the patients’ faces instantly, and will take no time at all.
2) Serve Meals to the Less Fortunate
Working at a soup kitchen can help give you some much needed perspective during this often stressful time of year, and bring a smile to the face of those who are in need. If your children are old enough to come along and help, this can be a wonderful way to teach them about giving your time and energy to those who need it. It will also help them develop an appreciation for the things they are blessed with. If you don’t have the time, be sure to drop off some canned food at a local food bank who will make sure your donations get to those who need them.
3) Foster Animals for the Holidays
If you have a pet-friendly home, the holiday season is a wonderful time to foster an animal. Animal shelters are often understaffed in the holidays and overflowing with strays. By taking in a foster pet, you can free up room for another lonely animal. Fostering a pet can help the animal learn to socialize and improve its chances of getting adopted. The presence of an animal can also be incredibly soothing, meaning you both benefit. Search for a participating shelter on Petfinder.com.
4) Be a Designated Driver
The holidays unfortunately always see a spike of intoxicated drivers on the road. Help your loved ones stay safe this holiday season by offering your services as a designated driver for any festivities that involve alcohol. You’ll have the peace of mind of knowing your friends or family members are safe, and help them avoid the costly services of a cab at Christmastime.
5) Visit a Nursing Home
Be a friendly face and visit residents of a nursing home. Their families may live far away or they may have no family at all, and getting a visit from you could be the thing to brighten their season. You can also offer to help them buy presents for their loved ones, as many in the homes may not be able to drive.
6) Library Book Drive
Many public libraries hold book drives during the holiday season to collect books for children who may not be able to afford them otherwise. Ask your kids to go through their collection and decide on books they would like to donate, even if it’s just one or two. You can also head to your local dollar store for deals on children’s books that are inexpensive but sure to delight. Take your kids with you to drop the books off and thank your local librarians for their efforts.
7) Tip Your Waiter
It’s common knowledge that wait staff in the United States and Canada rely heavily upon tips from their patrons. Waiters and waitresses are often required to work on holidays, so think of them this season whenever you go have dinner at a restaurant. Be a little more generous with your tips than you would normally, especially if you happen to eat in their restaurant on one of said holidays.
8) Help Out with a Neighbor’s Yard
Help an elderly neighbour with their gardening during the inclement months. If you live in an area that sees snowfall, make sure you keep their driveway and walkways shoveled and salted to help them avoid slipping. If you only see the leaves fall during the fall months, rake a neighbour’s lawn and pile the leaves for pickup. This will save them so much time, plus it will keep your neighborhood looking lovely all year long. If you have elderly neighbours who would love a bit of Christmas cheer, help them set up Christmas lights (1000 Bulbs has a great selection for ordering in bulk at low prices) along their eaves or offer to help them pick up or set up a Christmas tree.