Six Simple Ways to Give Back This Holiday

Christmas has a way of creeping up on even the most prepared person. So while you may have all of your gifts wrapped, cards sent, and meals planned for the big holiday season, other things may have gotten ignored on your list.

The holidays are a popular time for volunteering and contributing to communities, but many charities have already done the heavy lifting this close to Christmas. The Pittsburgh Marine Corps Toys for Tots program handed out gifts last Friday and Saturday so that area children could have the joy and excitement of opening gifts on Christmas morning.

If you want to give back this season but feel like you’ve missed your deadline, don’t worry! There are still many small things that you can do to make a big impact on someone’s day.
Unexpected Greetings

You remembered to send Christmas cards to your sister in Florida and your grandchildren, but did you remember to send one to your favorite bus driver? How about the sweet woman who has been handling your banking for the past five years? These people who touch your life will be thrilled to receive a hand-written card thanking them for helping you to make it a happy one.

“This one’s on me!”

The next time you’re in line at your favorite coffee shop, pay for the beverage of the person behind or in front of you in line. It only takes a few seconds and a few dollars to buy someone a drink to warm their hands and heart.

A Helping Paw

Are you an animal lover? While there are many happy children who get puppies for Christmas, there are still plenty of animals that spend the holidays in shelters. Provide them with a good Christmas dinner by donating food and treats to a local shelter. And if you know of anyone who is thinking of picking an animal as a last-minute gift, encourage them to go to a shelter rather than a breeder.

Make Some Change

Instead of avoiding change as you do your Christmas shopping at the mall, welcome it with open pockets. Then, before you leave, find a donation area to drop it off. Many charities collect money up to Christmas, so you’ll be sure to find a wonderful way to give your money to someone other than the cashier in the food court.

That’s a Wrap

Simple holiday tasks can be difficult for friends or neighbors. Ask around and see if any of yours need help preparing for the holidays, whether that means wrapping gifts or accompanying them to the grocery store to do some shopping. You’ll get to spend quality time with a loved one and check off items on their to-do list!

Shop Responsibly 

As you hunt for last-minute gifts, consider buying a few gifts that ARE good and DO good. Does your niece want new shoes? Maybe she would like Toms, where every purchase also means a new pair of shoes for a child in need. Or you can browse (RED) products for a gift for everyone on your list. You can also support the local economy by purchasing locally-made items.

‘Tis the season of giving, and it’s easy to give in small ways to help those around you have a happier holiday. 

From our family at Sherwood Oaks Retirement community, we hope that you and your family have a holiday filled with love, laughter, and magic. Cheers to a happy and healthy 2014!