How to Give Back This Holiday Season
Let’s admit it, the holiday season has changed a lot over the last few years. It seems as though the overall holiday vibe has drifted away from community and family to a heightened focus on buying the perfect gifts for your friends and family.
Compounding the frenzy and stress that comes with buying gifts are the costs and extra stressors that come with the holidays. When these begin to pile up, it can be hard to keep the joy in the holidays.
And as you know, the more stressed you become and the more harried your life is – the harder it is to stay healthy. Your immune system really takes a beating during the holidays with your time spent in the stores and shopping centers, putting in extra hours at work, rushing to school concerts and office parties, and then juggling multiple family holiday obligations.
Make this the year that you put a stop to the frenzy, stress, and chaos of the holidays. This is the ideal year to switch gears and put some focus on giving back during the holiday season (and year-round).
We’ve put together some of our favorite ways to get involved in the community. The extra bonus of this community volunteering and giving back is that you’ll reap some huge personal rewards as well.
We want to hear from you. Tell us how you give back during the holiday season (or year-round). Visit the AHCC Research Facebook community page and share your thoughts on volunteering, giving back, and the holiday season.
How Giving Back Benefits You
Think of how great you feel when you help out a friend or family member. There is something deeply satisfying and motivating about helping a friend with something as simple as a drive to the doctor’s office, carrying a heavy load of groceries, or baking some cookies.
Now, think of how great you’ll feel when you’re helping others in your community who really need an extra helping hand. You’ll benefit from knowing that you’re making a difference in someone’s life and you’ll also get some valuable reminders of what is truly important in life.
On top of this, giving back to your community can make it possible for you to make new friends, to learn new skills, to get valuable job and skills training, and to reduce your stress levels. A few hours of volunteering once-a-week does so much more for you and the people you’re helping than we can ever quantify.
Thanks to the Internet and social media, people are able to share how and when they volunteer. #GivingTuesday, officially kicks off the first Tuesday after Thanksgiving and occurs every Tuesday through to the New Year. This global day of giving back is an ideal way for you to volunteer in your community.
Companies give their employees time off to do volunteer work and help others. People come together to volunteer with their neighbors and to give back to their community. Schools get involved by encouraging the kids and their family members to give back.
To learn more about #GivingTuesday and how you get involved, visit the #GivingTuesday website. Be sure to tell us on the AHCC Research Facebook community page, how you, your colleagues, and family members are participating in #GivingTuesday.
Holiday and Year-Round Giving Back
To help encourage you to give back during the holiday season, we’ve put together some great ways you can easily get involved with and help your community.
- Food and drink: there is nothing quite like a warm and satisfying meal during the holiday season. Consider helping out at your local food bank with organizing donations, assembling holiday hampers, or by donating an extra bag of groceries each week. It’s very likely you have a local church or community organization that provides hot meals to patrons, find out how you can help out – maybe it involves serving the meal, preparing take home snacks like muffins and cookies, or by simply sitting and talking with people while they eat.
- Furry friends: yes, your local animal shelter needs help during the holidays. Think of the people who volunteer and work at these animal shelters – they need to take much needed time off to spend with their families, but the animals still need 24/7 attention. You can make a difference by volunteering to walk the shelter dogs, to help with animal intake, to spend time with the animals, and in the administrative tasks of running the shelter.
- Toys, toys, and toys: if there is one thing that puts a smile on the face of a child or teenager during the holidays, it’s unwrapping that present they really want. However, for so many parents, it can be a real economical stretch to pay for the presents and the holiday meals. Your community likely has a local toy drive or a charity that sponsors families in your community. Often, you can find out exactly what the child or teenager has asked for and buy exactly this gift. This way, everyone wins – the parents are relaxed knowing their children are getting the gifts they really want, you’re able to put a smile on the face of the kids and the parents, the kids are super excited and happy to receive the special gift, and you feel great knowing you’ve made a difference.
- Creative giving: there are lots of other ways you can help out during the holidays – such as shoveling your neighbor’s driveway, helping a stranger carry their groceries, buying coffee for the person in line behind you at the coffee shop, offering to babysit for free so the parents can enjoy a night out, treating your friend to a movie, donating your gently used books to a local community center, and the list goes on. Get creative and think of how you can brighten someone’s day.
Giving Back During the Holidays and Year-Round
Even the smallest of kind gestures can mean so much. It might not seem like much to you to hold the door for someone or to buy a coffee for a stranger or to sit and talk with someone who is feeling down – but these acts of kindness do mean so much to those receiving them.
In these stressful times, we can all do with some extra moments of kindness in our days. When you give back and help out others, you really are contributing to making the world a friendlier and safer place.