5 Ways to Share the Love This Holiday Season

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Dec 07, 2017

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5 Ways to Share the Love This Holiday Season

Between shopping for gifts, busting out the festive décor, and dancing from party to party, the holiday season can feel like whirlwind.

It’s easy to get wrapped up in the fast pace of the holidays and forget that for many Americans, the holidays are far from warm and comfortable.

And all those blockbuster sales and ugly sweater parties can start to make you feel like you’re missing out on the true meaning of the season: giving back. 

Here are ways to give back and share the warmth and comfort of the holiday season with those who need it most. 

Organize a Coat Drive

Provide something community members truly need during the colder months of the year by putting together a local coat drive. Here’s how to do it: 

  1. Coordinate with a local charity
    1. Find out what types of coats, sizes and styles they need.
    2. Ask if they also need hats, gloves, blankets and other winter essentials.
    3. Arrange a date when you’ll drop off the donations.

  2. Find a venue
    1. Contact local businesses, schools, churches or rec centers to see if they’ll let you host your coat drive in their building or parking lot.
    2. Ask your employer if you can host your coat drive at work, and have coworkers donate at your annual holiday party.

  3. Spread the word!
    1. Social media is the best way to get the word out about your coat drive.
    2. Online neighborhood forums like Nextdoor are other good platforms to build hype around the drive.
    3. Distribute flyers to local businesses and community centers, and be sure to include details about what types of clothing and accessories are needed

  4. Arrange storage and drop-off
    1. You’ll need somewhere you can organize and store all the donations.
    2. You may need to borrow or rent a moving van or truck to transport the collected items so you can drop them off to local charities.

Send Some Love to Mother Nature

The holidays are a time of abundance — endless gifts, food, and rolls of wrapping paper are around every corner. 

But this abundance isn’t always great for the planet.

Between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day, household waste increases by 25%, and 28 billion pounds of food are wasted each year during the holidays.

In North America alone, 33 million live trees are sold each year during the holiday season and thrown out once the big red guy goes back to the North pole.

Between gift wrap, Christmas trees, holiday cards, product packaging, and uneaten leftovers, there’s a lot of waste added to the planet during this short time each year.

Consider giving back to Mother Nature by doing something positive for the Earth: 

  • Use recyclable gift wrap on all your presents, and save and reuse gift bags and bows.

  • Ask family members to donate to an environmentally-friendly cause in your name rather than buying you a gift.

  • Recycle your Christmas tree so it can be turned into wood chips rather than taking up space in a landfill.

  • Send e-cards instead of paper holiday cards.

  • Use LED lights to decorate.

Volunteer at a Shelter or Soup Kitchen

Those who have nowhere to go for the holidays could use some extra love this holiday season.

If you’re looking to help the homeless, domestic violence victims, and others who are living on the streets or in shelters, here are a few ways to do it: 

  • Volunteer at a soup kitchen with your family.

  • Donate to a food bank.

  • Collect items like socks and underwear (which aren’t usually donated) to give to a charity that helps the homeless.

  • Research local services in your area and work with them to provide direct outreach to homeless individuals and families.

  • Write to your local newspaper to request more coverage about the issue of homelessness, or submit a letter to the editor addressing the issue.

  • Support local causes that help support affordable housing, health-care, and other necessary services for the homeless

Send a Shout-Out to the Troops 

Indulging in the warmth of family and friends during the holidays can make it easy to forget about the Americans who are separated from their loved ones during this time.

Consider sending a letter of thanks and some holiday greetings to active duty troops who will be spending the holidays away from their nearest and dearest.

You can even send a care package to a soldier or adopt a military family in need for the holiday season. 

A variety of organizations facilitate these services, including Soldiers’ Angels and A Million Thanks, or you can contact your local Red Cross office for details on how to get involved.

Pay It Forward

If your schedule is jam-packed this holiday season, don’t feel bad that you can’t take time to write letters or serve at a soup kitchen.

There are plenty of little things you can do as part of your daily routine to make a positive difference in someone’s life this holiday.

Commit to completing a random act of kindness every day. It could be as simple as leaving a 50% tip on your next meal at a restaurant, or paying for the order of the person in line behind you at the coffee shop.

Keep looking for little ways to make the world a better place in your personal interactions throughout the holiday season. These small acts of kindness can have a domino effect on those around you, and help spread love in small ways.

The holidays are about so much more than mulled wine and getting exciting gifts (even though those things are great, too).

It’s also a time to appreciate how fortunate we are to be able to celebrate with those we love.

But sometimes, the festivities of the season can leave you feeling a little drained. Between colder weather and shorter days, you may find yourself struggling to stay upbeat once winter arrives.

Don’t worry, we’ve got your back. Here are some tips to staying active and beating the winter blues this season >

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