The holidays can be such a busy time with endless parties, shopping, family get-togethers and the overall pressure of having the “perfect” holiday. Last week, we shared five holiday stress management hacks to help deal with the inevitable stress that comes with this busy season. Another great way to deal with the pressure of the holidays is to reflect on all the blessings you have received over the past year and to give back to your community, neighborhood, or other causes that are meaningful to you. At Red Leaf, giving back is fundamental to our mission. In that spirit, our team would like to share with you five ways to give back this holiday season.
The holidays are a time of year when many organizations are seeking donations to help fund their mission. Of course, not everyone can give large-scale donations to charitable organizations. However, any amount is meaningful to most entities who are serving those in need. According to the National Philanthropic Trust, nearly 70% of all charitable donations come from individuals, not corporations or big organizations. Leaders of charitable organizations know the power of hundreds or thousands of individuals contributing $25, $50 or $100 per person to their mission. While giving financial contributions help organizations, it can do wonders for your own soul as well. Contributing back some of the blessings we have individually received can be empowering and help us take some of the focus off the material nature of the modern-day holiday season. If you are able, we highly encourage you to donate to an organization that is meaningful to you this holiday season.
Do something kind for a neighbor
In the hustle-bustle world we live in today, many of us don’t know or do not interact with our neighbors. Sadly, there are people just steps from our front door that need our help or would like to get to know us better. There are many creative ways to serve neighbors, but a few we like are:
- Rake leaves or shovel snow for an elderly neighbor
- Offer to do a grocery run for an elderly neighbor during inclement weather
- Babysit for parents of young children so they can do holiday shopping together
- Bake your favorite desert, copy down the recipe and give it to the neighbor next door
- On a basic level, just stop and chat with a neighbor when you see them outside.
There are a multitude of ways to serve neighbors, but making the effort and being kind to neighbors can help us all remember the spirit of the holidays and help us get the most from this season.
Volunteer at senior care facilities
The holidays can be a lonely and stressful time for senior citizens living in nursing homes or assisted living facilities. Many senior citizens living in facilities find themselves dealing with spouses who have passed away, families that live out of town or have health difficulties preventing them from travel. For many of these people, having a one hour visit from someone can lift their spirits in a meaningful way. Likewise, in our experience, it can be such a pleasant experience to visit with someone who has so much history and perspective on life. Do yourself a favor this holiday season and drop into a facility that accepts visitors and make a new friend. It’s worth the investment of time.
Donate to food pantries
Food insecurity has arisen as an issue in many neighborhoods and communities over the past few years. One way we can help out is to provide food donations to local food pantries that serve those dealing with food insecurity. Most pantries will publish a list of items they need in order to make your shopping more efficient. If you are able, please be generous with food donations and offer groceries that your own family would eat and provide healthy choices.
Clean up a common public area
Take the initiative to pick up trash or otherwise clean a pubic area that needs attention. Our public areas are heavily traveled and often represent the communities we live in. They don’t often get the attention they deserve from public services, so we may need to step in ourselves from time-to-time to care for our communities. Whether this means picking up trash or pulling weeds, we can demonstrate our commitment to the community by spending an afternoon doing our part to beautify public areas. However, one note of caution. If this is something that moves you to act, make sure it is legal to do so and use good safety practices such as situational awareness, wearing personal protective equipment and always practicing safety protocols in public areas.
These five ways to give back are just a few examples. There are an endless number of ways to serve your community and mankind and to pass along the spirit of the holidays. Regardless of what you choose, we highly encourage you to get out this holiday season and serve. Not only will it benefit your community, it will brighten your own holiday spirit and put meaning into the holidays for you and your family.