If you are anything like me, you get so much more excitement when you see others opening gifts you bought for them, rather than opening your own presents during the holidays. I love giving throughout the year, but especially around Christmas time. There are so many ways to help out in your community and impact someone’s life, which you may not even know. Here are some of my favorite ways to give back during the holidays and to make someone’s Christmas a little less stressful!
- Donating Food- This one is so easy, especially since you might already have some needed items in your pantry! I like to donate all different kinds of food, from canned goods to home-cooked meals, to help people in my community during Christmas time. Reach out to local churches and food banks to see what they are in need of and see if you already have any of the items! You can also donate food items to Cabrini's food pantry for students who are in need.
- Adopting a Family from a Giving Tree- At my local parish, we have a “Giving Tree” each year where families write down what they need help buying for Christmas, whether it is for their children or for someone they know who needs help, and they hang it on the tree for someone to fulfill. I love doing this because I love buying presents for people, even if I don’t know them! The tags on the tree vary from children’s items to adult items, and you can pick as many tags as you would like. It’s inspiring to go into the church and see all of the wrapped presents for the families to take home!
- Hand Out Blankets/Food to the Homeless- This one is a little more involved but worth it. There are approximately 6,000 people who are homeless in Philadelphia, with about 950 considered to be unsheltered. It’s helpful when volunteers give out items to keep these people warm, especially around Christmas. Besides blankets and warm clothing items, you can hand out food and water bottles to make someone’s day a little easier and to make sure that they won’t have to worry about when the next time they eat will be.
Giving back is so rewarding, and it’s humbling to put yourself in the shoes of someone else: What would you do if you couldn’t buy your family Christmas presents, or if you did not have the resources to make them a meal during the holidays? Offer someone else the help that you would want if you needed it. Everyone has their own struggles, and, especially around Christmas. It takes a village to make sure that everyone who needs help has the resources they need. I encourage you to try out one of the above options and try to make someone’s holidays a little bit brighter this year!