The holidays can get insane and we all know that. We get so caught up in the gifts, the shopping, the decor and all the comes with it and wonder how we could possibly spread ourselves any further then we already have with those in need, let alone with our own families. While I know it can be hard, I am a firm believer that practicing gratitude and a having a giving nature can not only benefit those you are lending a hand to, but can also decrease your stress level, takes away any seasonal blues, and make the world a better place. (Yes I know my inner hippie is showing.) While there may be waiting lists to serve at soup kitchens this time of year, or you can’t afford to sponsor a family in need there are still plenty of ways to give a piece of your heart to a stranger and spread the love this holiday season (and year round for the matter).
On a personal note there was a point in time where my family was relying on the Idaho Foodbank to get us through a tough couple of months and I know how hard and humbling of an experience that can be. I am a big advocate for giving back to those that give to you and one of my top recommendations for spreading the love this season is to make a donation of non parishable items to your local foodbank. Even if it is a small donation, just doing what you can could make a huge difference for a family who needs a little help. Personally now that my family is out of the woods I am a constant canned food donator, typically give any cash I have on me to bell ringers, and welcome anyone without a family on the holidays a seat at our table. Paying it forward is a gratifying feeling and brings some extra cheer to my heart knowing that I have done what I can to help others.
Other ideas for giving this season may include:
- Starting or donating to a blanket drive for the homeless. We always seem to have too many blankets in our closet and what better way to warm hearts then to help warm up someone who is down on their luck.
- Sometimes its just about giving your time. Call your local nursing home or children’s hospital and see if they could use some extra volunteers. Sitting with someone and singing carols, playing games or just listening to their stories can really brighten their day.
- Grab a shovel and hit the sidewalks. We all have people in our own neighborhoods who could use a helping hand. Shovel snow for an older neighbor or the busy single mom down the street. Acts of service is not only a love language but a good way to harness your restless holiday energy while making another persons life easier.
No matter what the good deed it will have a lasting effect both on you and the people you are serving even if they are complete strangers. One year I was one my way to work on Christmas Eve and was in a terrible mood. I stopped off at Starbucks on my way to work to grab a pick me up Latte and when I got to the window the cashier informed me that the person ahead of me had purchased my drink for me and left me a message to have a Merry Christmas. I may not have been in need that day, and it was just a cup of coffee but it changed my outlook, put me in a great mood, and encouraged me to then pay for the person behind me in line and pay it forward. It left me with a great feeling which was one of the best gifts I recieved that year. Sometimes its just the little things!
How are you planning to give a piece of your heart to those in need or a member of your community or even your own household this year? Any other great ideas for celebrating the season of giving or stories of holidays past? I would love to hear them.