Thanksgiving has passed and we are over turkey sandwiches. The tree is up and lights are shining. Christmas time is upon us. A lot of us focus on the presents that we are going to give our family and friends. There is nothing wrong with that. At all. However, since we are in a genuine spirit of giving around this time of year, it’s perfect timing to also give to those in need. Whether you donate your money and/or time, anything is appreciated from those that are in need. Check out fifteen ways you can give back below.

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  1. Pay for the person behind you in a fast food line

    1. Starbucks, Chick-Fil-A, Chipotle…whatever you decide, pay it forward by being a surprise blessing to someone else

  2. Give a homeless person some lunch…and/or a blanket

    1. How many times do we see homeless people out on the street hungry and cold? We take for granted that our stomachs are full or that we have a warm place to stay. Buy some soup or a hot sub, and if you can afford it, buy a blanket from the Dollar Store. I promise you, as you provide warmth to them, it will warm your soul in return.

  3. Donate feminine hygiene products at a women’s shelter

    1. While people think to donate food and clothes to shelters, a lot of times feminine products are lacking. Donate some pads/tampons/feminine wipes etc. to a local women’s shelter and help women in need.

  4. Volunteer at an animal shelter

    1. Some people prefer interacting with animals over humans, and that’s okay. If mixing with people isn’t your thing, try volunteering by walking and feeding Fido. If an animal shelter has too many animals for you, offer to pet-sit for a friend or neighbor while they travel for the holidays.

  5. Purge through your old clothes, shoes and even appliances and give them to a friend/family in need

    1. Sometimes we are so quick to help strangers in need (which is awesome!), that we forget that some of the people closest to us could use a few things as well. Give your used (but in good condition) clothing to a friend or family member that could use some new threads. Have an old blender you don’t use? About to get a new fridge? Clean out your old one and see if someone wants it. Someone’s trash is another person’s treasure and only fools are ashamed of hand-me-downs.

  6. Donate to Flint, Michigan

    1. Unfortunately, Flint, Michigan is STILL without clean water. I know, crazy. Donate money or water bottles to a legit organization and continue standing up and advocating for them.

  7. Sponsor a family for Christmas

    1. Not everyone is fortunate enough to have money to buy their children anything for Christmas. Try sponsoring a family. It can be a family of two or three and you can get one gift each, if money is tight. However, that one gift could light up a child’s (and mother/father’s) whole holiday. Don’t underestimate someone else’s struggle. Try looking at local churches to find a family or visit The Salvation Army or Toys of Hope.

  8. Send a care package to a deployed service member’s family

    1. It can be super tough around the holidays when your significant other or parent is away in the military. Send a card or gift basket to a family that may be missing their loved one this time of year. It would also be great to send a card or gift package to deployed service members who are also missing their families.

  9. Donate used (but good conditioned) books to a school or library

    1. Reading expands knowledge. Knowledge = power. Empower children and donate books.

  10. Find a local organization to give your time or money to

    1. Head over to Volunteer Match and get hands on and find someplace local that you can volunteer

  11. Donate your old cell phone

    1. Help someone who is escaping from domestic violence gain more independence by donating your old phone to National Coalition Against Domestic Violence.

  12. Give blood

    1. It is one of the easiest things to do and can literally save lives.

  13. Become a mentor

    1. Today’s youth could definitely use some real + positive role models instead of turning on the television to get advice. Find a mentee through a program or even just pay more attention to a younger cousin or niece. You can go on an outing as much or little as your schedule allows, but try and meet at least once a month.

  14. Help an elderly person with household chores

    1. We barely feel like doing our chores and we are more than physically able to. Help out those whose bodies have a little wear and tear. Maybe they aren’t elderly but disabled, help out!

  15. Do something special for yourself

    1. Yes, it’s important to give back to those in need. But a lot of times we over exert ourselves and do everything for others without refilling our own tanks. Give back to yourself this season and show yourself a little love.

Written by: Aniyah Helen

Find me on IG + Twitter @aniyahhelen