With the holidays fast approaching, everyone is on the hunt for that perfect gift. Stores are full of things at “special holiday prices” designed to part you and your money. While it’s tempting to buy that cool electronic gadget or another sweatshirt your significant other obviously doesn’t need, why not practice the true gift of giving by giving less of your money and more of yourself this holiday season? Not only does it save money to give of yourself, you teach your children that Christmas isn’t about getting gifts, rather it’s about the spirit of giving. Generosity is a trait lacking in our culture today—everyone is too busy and it’s much easier to just buy a gift rather than do something from the heart for the next guy. Make the holidays a little brighter for someone else and save yourself a ton of money by trying some of these ideas with your family.
1. Donate to charity
Choose a charity that means something to your family and donate your time or money to the cause. The holidays tend to bring out the charitable side of people, so donating money in someone else’s name is a great gift idea.
2. Invite someone who lives alone to celebrate the holidays with you
If you know someone who lives alone, is recently widowed, or is far away from family during the holidays, invite them over to spend Christmas with you and yours.
3. Donate food to your local pantry
Many families struggle during the holidays (and throughout the year) to eat. Buy extra food and donate what you can so they can enjoy a nice holiday meal, too.
4. Volunteer at a soup kitchen
Donating your time so others may enjoy a good holiday meal means more than any gift you can buy. Soup kitchens see an increase during the holiday and cold winter months, so jump right in and lend a hand.
5. Visit hospital patients
There’s nothing worse than being sick during the holidays. Many long-term hospital patients feel depressed during the holidays because of their situation. Spread some holiday cheer by spending time being good company.
6. Shovel snow for your neighbor
If you have an elderly neighbor, and even if you don’t, lend a helping hand and shovel their driveway and/or sidewalks for them.
7. Foster a dog or cat
Animals need love and attention, too. There are an overabundance of sheltered animals just waiting for a warm heart to care for them. Even if you can’t permanently adopt a pet, providing a nice, loving home for one until they find their forever home is a great way to give back to your community and teach your kids about loving others.
Giving during the holiday season doesn’t mean you have to spend a great deal of money to make a difference in someone else’s life. Just being there in a loving and caring capacity often means more than any gift you can buy. Not only will you be helping others, you’ll be teaching a valuable lesson to your children and in the end, everyone will be just a little bit happier for your efforts.
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