Holiday Season Offers Opportunities to Give Back

boys 2014 024It’s easy to get caught up in the commercialism of the holidays, shopping for gifts and anticipation of the new toys, clothes and other goodies that lie ahead. This is a busy time of year and it is easy to lose perspective. If you have been impacted by this, I challenge you to take some time to define what the holiday season means to you right now and whether that’s the same as what you want the holiday season to be. One really easy way to achieve more balance in the season is by celebrating the joys of giving back.

Kids and adults alike deserve to experience the fun of ‘getting’ during the holidays, but giving can be just as fulfilling. Helping others offers ‘teachable moments’ for children and a reminder for grown-ups that giving is what the holiday season is really all about.

Here are some ideas for how to give back during the holidays:

CASA volunteer Louise Martel shows her support by taking an #unselfie

CASA volunteer Louise Martel shows her support by taking an #unselfie

  • After you’ve shopped ’til you’ve dropped on Black Friday and Cyber Monday, make an online tax-deductible donation to your favorite charity on Giving Tuesday, a tradition started in 2012 by a coalition of 1,400 charitable organizations.
  • Encourage children to brighten the season for boys and girls who do not have loving families of their own. Take your kids shopping for a new item to donate to Toys for Tots or find a local nonprofit that provides warm coats, backpacks or other items to foster children.
  • Many nonprofits sponsor “adopt-a-family” opportunities during the holidays, offering the chance to provide gifts and groceries to low-income families. This is a great way to build camaraderie among office co-workers.
  • Volunteer as an individual or a family to serve meals to homeless families.
  • Extend the warm feelings of the holiday season by embracing a long-term volunteer commitment for the new year.

This is such a special time of year and although it can be busy, if you prioritize based on your holiday values it’s a lot easier to fully enjoy the friends and family you are sharing this time with and be in the moment. I don’t know about anyone else, but I value quality time with the people I love over one more gift. Take a little time and make sure you are creating the holiday memories and traditions that are important to you!

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