5 Ways to Give Back During the Holidays

Spreading cheer and giving to those in need is a wonderful thing to do year round. The holiday season can be the perfect time to start a new tradition of giving back.

As you gather with family and share thanks for the things you have this holiday season, consider ways in which your family can bring love, hope and joy to those who aren’t as fortunate. Teaching your children to recognize and meet the needs of others is a life lesson worth learning firsthand.

There are numerous ways families can give back during the holiday season, even for those who don’t have much time to spare or those on a tight budget.

Here’s a sampling of the ways your family could give back.

1. Adopt a family

If you are a shopper at heart, consider adopting a local family in need this Christmas. Contact your local social services provider, shelter or church and see if there is a family they know of that slipped through the cracks and that you could "adopt" for the holidays. Purchase necessities, along with a few toys, for the children. Chances if you don’t, no one will.

2. Have a cookie swap

Get your girlfriends together and have a cookie swap. Have everyone make a few dozen of their favorite cookies and get together to assemble cookie trays. Deliver them to local shelters and community centers.

3. Shop local businesses

When able, purchase gifts from local vendors. Start out your Christmas shopping on your local Main Street. Hit local craft fairs and holiday bizarre. From homemade doll clothing to wooden toys, chances are you’ll find what you are looking for locally.

4. Donate

Your time. Your talents. Your money. Can you play piano? Consider playing some Christmas carols at your local nursing home. Can you cook? Consider preparing a meal for an elderly neighbor. Can you afford to donate money? Consider making a gift to a local, reputable charity.

5. Give alternative gifts

Consider making a donation to a charity in the name of someone on your list. Give a goat to a poor family and help them start a business through Harvest of Hope. Help combat illiteracy in Haiti through Alternative Gifts International.

While we have all heard that it is better to give than receive. If you’ve given to someone in need, you know firsthand this is true.

How does your family give back during the holidays? Share what you do in the comments below.