Give Back Without Spending

The holiday season is a time to be thankful, no matter how much or how little we have. It’s also a common time to think of those that might be less fortunate than us, and how we can help them. You don’t have to spend a lot, if any, money to be thoughtful! There are a ton of things you can do (and some of them don’t even require you to leave the house) without wandering far from your budget. Check out a few ideas below!

1. Volunteer. Spend a few hours at your local food pantry, hospital, or homeless shelter. Extra helping hands are always welcome, even if you’re just supporting staff doing the tough jobs behind the scenes.

2. Give the gift of time. As a child, we spent a lot of time visiting elders in our local senior center around the holidays. Some of these people don’t get to see their loved ones often, so a smiling face can really brighten their day.

3. Donate. Now is a great time to clear out your closets and pantries. Donating clothing you no longer wear can help to keep someone else warm this winter, and giving away non-perishable food items you won’t be using will keep someone else’s tummy full.

4. Think on a smaller scale. You don’t have to donate a ton of money to be helpful. Clear out your change jars and carry a little with you when you head out shopping. Leave a handful with the Salvation Army collectors that are often seen outside of department stores.

5. Look locally. Sometimes there are drives or fundraisers already happening in your own community. Check with schools or organizations in your area to see what they’re looking for and how you can help contribute.

6. Get creative. Good at knitting, sewing, or another handy craft? Donate your goods! Make a scarf, blanket, or even a batch of homemade cookies for someone in need.

7. Small acts of kindness. Let someone have your seat on the bus. Help a busy mom carry her groceries to her car. Let cars merge in front of you on the highway. They seem like small gestures, but they’re thoughtful, and people will appreciate that, especially during the stressful holiday season.

8. Spread cheer. Simply smiling and having a positive attitude can impact someone’s day. Energy is contagious, and hopefully the kind gesture will be passed on.

What will you be doing to help others this holiday season?