Even though the holiday season can be a very busy one, I have always felt that it is important to give to those less fortunate at this time of year. There are so many people unemployed, unable to provide a happy Christmas for their children. As long as I’ve been working and making my own money, I have done something to help those kids.
If you aren’t sure how you can give back to others during the holidays, check out the ideas below. The three options are how we have donated our time and/or money in the past to help those that are in need.
3 Ways to Give Back This Holiday Season
1. Secret Santa
When I was 16 and working part time at a local restaurant after school, I took my first Angel off the Salvation Army’s tree at the local mall. The card told me all about a small child: gender, clothing sizes, wish list, etc. I purchased as many gifts for this child as I could, given the information I had and money I could spare from my high school job.
The experience made me feel a huge sense of pride. Since I absolutely love children (I already knew then I wanted to major in education in college), it warmed my heart to know I would make one little boy happy come Christmas day.
Since then, I have pulled several other names off the Angel tree. Some years, my mom would go in with me to help purchase the gifts. I highly recommend working with someone if you have a low budget but still want to help out.
2. Volunteering your Time
The year I had Sawyer, I was worried that we wouldn’t have enough money to afford being a Secret Santa. With him being born in September, it was stressful coming up with holiday gifts for him and the rest of the family. Plus, I didn’t want to pull an Angel from the tree if I couldn’t buy more than 2 gifts!
However, that year, I learned about Community Christmas – a local organization that shops for kids’ toys and then sets up a shop at the fire department training center. The shop allows low-income parents to come in and purchase toys for their kids for $3 each. We are talking $15-20+ toys, name brand clothing, and other items. They were allowed two items per child as well as free stocking stuffers and food for a holiday meal.
Because the organization is funded through donations, the need for volunteers to take applications and help run the shop for parents is vital. For 3 years, I have put in a couple of December evenings to help the Community Christmas run. I would love to do it this year, but being 38 weeks pregnant makes it not a very good idea!
3. Operation Christmas Child
This is the route we chose to give back during the holidays this year. This organization is run through Samaritan’s Purse, and involves filling shoeboxes with gifts for children in other countries. Recommended items include school supplies, small toys, clothing, hygiene products, and anything else that would be safe and fun for kids to receive as gifts.
We love filling the shoeboxes because we are able to help others without spending a lot of money. Again, we have a baby coming this year (2-3 weeks!) so we are a little strapped for cash. I was able to fill two shoeboxes for OCC with less than $40. That also includes the $7 per box donation that is requested. The donation helps with shipping, and it allows you to track where your box ends up!
How do you give back during the holidays?