The holidays seem to be a time of reflecting and thiking of others around us who may not be as fortunate as ourselves. Whether you have no wants or are just scraping by, but you still want to give and help others, it is possible.
It’s overwhelming, isn’t it? When we really stop to think about all the causes and charities and people that could use a little (or a lot of) help. Where do you start?
The first thing I would suggest doing is thinking about what really resonates with you. Think about the things you maybe take for granted:
- Having a stocked cupboard and fridge?
- Being able to walk into a toy store and buy that gift your son really, really hopes “Santa” brings this year?
- When the thermometer dropped to zero and there was a nip in the air, being able to just reach into the closet and pull out your daughter’s winter coat, hat, mitts, boots?
And the list goes on and on about the things we take for granted. Or … maybe you don’t. Maybe you are struggling and don’t have the financial means to help others. Whatever your situation, it is possible to be charitable.
So, where to start?
There are SO many ways assist in charity work, with varying degrees of time and commitment.
What Can I Do? Getting the Kids Involved
Around this time of year, I like to have my kids take a toy to the local mall and physically put it in the toy drive. Believe me, they are not too happy when they have to leave behind a toy they may not have. I remember a particular instance with a 3D snakes and ladders game. My kids really struggled with giving that away. Little did they know, Santa had one up his sleeve for the two of them to wake to on Christmas morning. I was very proud they donated it without too much fuss. There was a bit of pouting – and definitely no smiling for the camera – but no full-blown tantrum or tears. And that picture of the two of them scowling in front of the toy drive tree? One of my favourites. I think it is very important to instill in our kids a sense of community and charity right from the beginning. It’s just a part of their existence.
Ask your kids what they can do to help. Maybe it’s as simple as asking their teacher if they can put up posters at the school requesting coats for kids. Maybe they want to go as far as asking their class or school to bring in coats to donate.
Another great way to get kids involved that doesn’t cost a cent is to go to your local nursing home and spend time with those who don’t get visitors. The staff can help direct you.
What Can I Do? Getting Your Friends and Community Involved
How about the grown-ups? Why not turn a girls night out into a girls night in? The Canadian Cancer Society makes this suggestion and I think it’s wonderful. Take what you would spend on a night out and instead donate it to your charity of choice. Maybe ask people to bring a food or toy donations. When I did my girls night in for cancer, I took it a step further and had a silent auction – which ran online the week preceding the event. It was a fabulous and fun way to raise more money. And how did I get auction items? I asked! I went into local restaurants and businesses and asked. And they gave. And we raised over $900 during our little night in.
There are so many ways to help out, whether it’s during the holidays or any time of year. Make a difference; every little and big bit helps. What are you really passionate about?