Many of us look forward to the holidays as a time to gather and celebrate with friends and family, yet this year is likely going to be much different. For anyone experiencing financial difficulties or missing a support system of loved ones, among other challenges, it can be an especially difficult season. If you’re able, this time of year provides a great opportunity to give thanks for what you have and do a bit to help those less fortunate. By donating to an organization helping those in need or giving a little of your time, you can make a big difference in your community and beyond.
Here are just a few ways to pay it forward during this holiday season:
Give gifts with a purpose: During this especially challenging year, go an extra step when checking off your gift list to think about what is important to the person you’re shopping for, whether it is their pets, the environment, or another specific cause. Then look for an organization working to make a difference in that area, and make a donation in your loved one’s name. As another option, some retailers pledge proceeds or items to those in need with your purchase, so the item you buy helps the company give back. Knowing that their gift made a difference to a cause close to their heart will likely mean a lot to them (probably more than another candle or picture frame will!).
When shopping online: A wide variety of online retailers will make a donation for every purchase you make during the holidays, and often throughout the year. However, many websites are now offering the option of designating the organization of your choice. By shopping through a site like Amazon Smile or Goodshop, the site will donate a portion of your purchase price to the organization that you choose.
When shopping in-person: Many retail stores partner with nonprofit organizations over the holidays to provide shoppers with the opportunity to donate a small amount when purchasing their gifts. Consider rounding up your purchase to the nearest dollar and contributing this amount to the store’s organization of choice.
By making a donation: In addition to donating while shopping, you can also make a direct contribution to your favorite cause. Collect canned goods for the local food bank, organize a toy drive to support Toys for Tots, sponsor a local family who may need some extra help this year, or donate food to the county animal shelter. Anything you can give, either money or resources the organization may need, can make a huge impact for those they help.
By giving your time: You don’t have to spend or donate money to make a difference. Volunteering may look different this year, but there are still opportunities to help make someone’s holidays just a little brighter. Coordinate donations from your neighborhood, do contactless drop-offs of food or meals, send a holiday greeting to residents of senior center or a military member overseas, or take a shelter dog out for a walk. There are also a growing number of virtual volunteer opportunities. Think about what you might be interested in doing and reach out to a local organization to see how you can help.
They say that it is better to give than receive, so take a moment (or more!) to pay it forward and provide some much-needed holiday joy to others this year. It’s very likely you will reap the benefits as well!
Other helpful resources
For more information about opportunities to give back this holiday season, please visit any of the sites listed below:
From all of us at Health Advocate, we hope you and your family have a fun and safe holiday season!