Are you entering the season of giving telling yourself you just can’t afford to give this year? That you don’t have enough to pay it forward?
Ditch the negative talk.
You have skills and gifts that others need. You can find the perfect way to give back, pay it forward, and positively impact the lives of others. Even if you’re struggling financially, there are ways to support others and appreciate the things you do have.
Show someone how thankful you are for everything they’ve done for you. Teach your kids that a mindset of abundance and caring improves their own lives and the world around them.
Wondering how to get started? Here are a few ideas to get you going.
Give What You Have
Do you have things that you no longer need that someone else might? Baby gadgets? Clothing? Toys? A warm winter coat?
Find someone who could use them.
I’ve had a lot of family support since my twins were born nearly three years ago. But now that my brother and his wife are having their first baby, I’m giving them everything I can!
A crib, enough cloth diapers to last him until he no longer needs diapers, a bouncer, a rock ’n play, pack ’n play. If I have it and they need it, it’s theirs.
It feels amazing to give back and pass things on. (And declutter our home!)
Donate anything you don’t love and don’t need.
Your kid’s coat from last year that no longer fits could keep another child, a child with less, much warmer this year. Don’t forget to include the hat, mittens, boots, and anything else that is no longer needed in your family.
It could make all the difference.
Give Your Time
I get it, we’re all busy. But could you spare an hour? Two?
Sign up to be a bell ringer for the Salvation Army. Volunteer in a soup kitchen or for your favorite charity.
Is there somewhere local to you that packs food for undernourished children? Maybe somewhere that sends care packages to the troops? Reach out and find out how you can help. Sometimes these organizations just need small things, like someone to help drive packages to the post office.
And remember that these organizations need help all year long. If a service you reach out to says they have enough volunteers, offer to reach back out in January or February. Sadly, many organizations end up short-handed again right after the holidays.
Follow Your Heart
Think about causes that mean the most to you and find ways to make time for them in your budget or schedule.
There’s a local program to me where moms of multiples get together and help other moms of multiples in need. Every November, moms can choose to buy gifts for an entire family, one child, one gift, or simply donate their time or what money they have to help the program run smoothly. It anonymously gives families in need a holiday season to remember.
As a twin mom who has struggled, this is near and dear to my heart.
Find something local to you. Even if you can’t give a gift, give your time and effort to help organize an event. Every little bit helps.
Put on a Talent Show
I don’t mean the talent shows you put on for your parents when you were six. Instead, use your talents for the benefit of others.
Sing, play an instrument, tutor, bake some cookies, knit, do whatever you can brighten someone’s day.
We’ve never had carolers at my house, and I don’t know anyone who goes caroling house-to-house but that would definitely make me smile! And local nursing homes and hospitals are often looking carolers during the holiday season.
Who doesn’t love hand knit socks or homemade cookies?
You have talents, you just have to find a way to use them for the benefit of others!
Helping to Wrap Gifts
Are you a whiz at wrapping gifts? I personally find it relaxing and really enjoy it.
Consider offering to wrap gifts for people.
It might seem like a small thing, but some people just aren’t good at it. And others may have lost the ability due to age or disability.
I’ll bet there is someone in your life that would love to sit with you and chat while wrapping gifts together, even if one of you isn’t doing more than providing a finger to get the ribbon tied. It might start a fun tradition and it’s an easy way to give your time and talents!
Be There for Someone
The holidays are especially lonely for those who don’t have family around. That sweet old lady down the street could use a visitor and maybe a cup of cocoa. A friend could need a chance to vent about everything going on in her life.
What about that family member you always mean to reach out to but months or years have passed since the last time you did?
Take the time to check in. Connection and the ability to show someone we care is one of the greatest gifts we can give.
Do you know a family that could use a babysitter? A couple that needs a date night or a parent who needs time to shop for the holidays? Could you pitch in?
Offer to watch their kids for an afternoon, free of charge, so they can have some time.
That single mom who works three jobs could probably use a nap followed by a hot cup of coffee. And giving her that won’t cost you anything but your time.
Get the Kids Involved!
Children tend to have open and generous hearts. Fostering that and showing them that anyone, no matter how small, can make the world better is a very powerful gift.
Maybe this year your goal could be to teach a child you love to enjoy giving back. You’d be helping much more than just that child.
Kids can help you bake, make cards or artwork, find change to donate around the house, or go visiting with you!
Have your kids go through their toys and choose the ones that they don’t absolutely love and find a place to donate them to a child with no toys. Teach them to rake leaves, or shovel snow and go help someone who could use a few extra hands!
You can even explore charities that have meaning for children where they can make a difference with just $5 to $10.
Helping someone else is an incredible feeling. It’s a feeling I want my kids to know. We may not have much, but we’re going to do what we can to make someone smile every day for the rest of the year.
Be Thankful for What You Have
You have something to give. That is something to be grateful for. You are blessed, even if it’s not as much as others you know.
I know how hard it can be to see the blessings when times are tough. Sometimes it just takes a different outlook.
I was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis out of nowhere in my mid-twenties while on vacation. It sounds pretty terrible, doesn’t it?
But my diagnosis caused a cross-country move. Then, it turned out the medicine I was taking to prevent MS flares didn’t play so nicely with birth control pills. By some miracle, something happened to turn my diagnosis into the curly blond-haired, blue-eyed, sassy identical twins that I had wished for since childhood!
MS sucks, but I would never go back to life without it because it gives me strength. And it gave me my family.
No matter how bad things seem, you have something to be grateful for. You have something to give.
Find a way to give back to your community. It doesn’t have to cost anything, it could just be taking the time to listen to a neighbor or loved one and let them know you care.
It will make the world a better place.
What is your favorite way to give during the holiday season and all year round? Share in the comments!