Charitable Cheer for the Holiday's: Easy Ideas for Giving Back

When we think of holiday giving, it usually involved hitting the toy store or finding the perfect item for a loved one, but it’s also nice to give back to your community. Here are some simple ways for you and your family to do some good during the holidays and bring cheer to those who need it most.

Ways to Give Back During the Holidays

Be extra generous with tips. Whether you frequent the same coffee shop each morning or visit a new restaurant for the first time, leaving a few extra dollars in the tip can really brighten the day of your server. Include a note of holiday cheer on the bill to make it even more meaningful.

Give to your favorite charity. Organizations such as Meals on Wheels and Toys for Tots help spread the holiday cheer to those who may not be able to afford to celebrate. It really is better to give than to receive, especially when you think about how your small sacrifice can impact the life of someone in need.

Choose gifts that give a little extra. Consider giving your loved ones items that have a “buy one, give one” offer. One famous example is TOM’s shoes. For every pair of TOM’s you buy, the company donates a pair to children in need. If you’re holiday shopping anyway, why not select a couple of gifts with a philanthropic component?

Consider making a donation in a loved one’s name. Instead of searching high and low to find an appropriate gift for your impossible-to-shop-for relative, why not do something nice on their behalf? If you know of a charity they support, go for it. Otherwise, you can let them choose by getting them a gift card to an organization like

Getting the Family Involved

Collect food donations and deliver to a local food bank. Depending on the age of your children, you can enlist their help in asking neighbors and relatives to contribute. Then, bring them along when you make your special delivery.

Contact your local animal shelter. Ask what kind of help is needed. They might be low on pet supplies or need more volunteers to come in and play with the animals.

Bake cookies to bring to a local nursing home, firehouse or police station. Those who have to work during the holidays or who don’t have family around to celebrate with will appreciate your effort. You can even do a spin on the cookie swap in which you and the other bakers in your family get together for a baking and delivery marathon.

Projects the Kids Can Tackle

Shovel snow or take out the garbage for an elderly neighbor. Acts of kindness when the cold weather sets in will be much appreciated for those who have limited mobility.

Participate in local charitable holiday initiatives. Check out what causes your local representatives, school districts, or churches are involved with and see what kind of help they need. Many organizations run collections for “Shoeboxes of Joy” and other similar holiday programs that may benefit from a few extra hands.

Write letters to military members. Again, look for drives in your area that collect handwritten holiday cards to send to our troops.

Random Acts of Kindness

Giving back isn’t necessarily about donating money and time. Sometimes it’s about spreading joy, one simple smile at a time. Here are some ways to do just that this holiday season:

  • Let someone go ahead of you in a checkout line.
  • Put candy canes in neighbors' mailboxes.
  • Give a stranger a nice compliment.
  • Call or message someone from your past (such as a former teacher) to say thank you.
  • Ask to speak to a store manager to let them know an employee provided you with great service.

Giving back during the holidays is one of the best ways to show gratitude and pay it forward. Try incorporating some of these ideas into your busy holiday schedule, and little by little, you’ll make your community a little merrier.

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