7 Ways to Get Into the Giving Spirit and Give Back This Year

From supporting small, local businesses to doling out acts of kindness, you can make an impact.

No doubt, the holiday season is a special time of year. You can enjoy gatherings with friends and family, shopping and gift giving and of course, gift receiving. But for others, it’s a time when it’s a sad reminder that some around us are going without.

If you don’t have extra time to lend a hand, there are organizations that accept various donations. And if you don’t have extra cash to give, well that’s OK too — there are other ways you can help.

Take a cue from Harry & Meghan, who announced they organized gifts for 30-refugee families at the Mexico/U.S. border through the couple’s Archewell Foundation. Or Beyonce’s BeyGOOD, where she has helped bring clean water and sanitation to people in East Africa, and Bethenny Frankel’s BStrong, which provides emergency assistance to people in crisis. 

Singer Shawn Mendes started his own non-profit to inspire fans to help do good around the world, and The Rock recently announced a holiday initiative with his tequila brand to feed more than 10,000 first responders. 

With that in mind, here are 7 ways you get into the giving spirit this holiday season.

RELATED: 7 Brands We Love That Are Giving Back for Giving Tuesday

1. Shop local

It goes without saying, small businesses are the backbone of America. In fact, a report by the Small Business Administration shows that small businesses account for 44% of the U.S. economy.

And with it being so last minute before the holidays, even Amazon prime likely won’t get your gift there in time. Take a few hours to stroll around and explore a quaint nearby town. You’ll never know what treasures you might stumble upon!

If you do still plan to shop online, check out this list of ways to shop where your dollars will go towards charitable organizations in the process!

2. Donate to your local food bank

While we’re planning our holiday parties and meals, we have to remember that some people are struggling to put food on the table each and every day. By donating food items or money — or better yet, volunteering — at your local food bank, you can give back in a big way.

3. Send holiday cheer

Many classrooms across America make it a point to have all the students make cards to send to people in hospice care and nursing homes around the holidays, or even troops overseas. It takes just a few minutes to add to your holiday card mailing list, and sending a few extras to a cause of your choice. Your thoughtfulness will brighten someone’s day, in the best possible way!

4. Make a donation in someone’s name

Instead of scrambling for that last-minute gift, or the impossible to find gift for that person who has everything, make a charitable donation in their name. It’s a gift that really makes a difference, and makes both the giver and recipient feel good in the process.

5. Use social media to speak out

You’re on there everyday, scrolling through Facebook and Insta to see what holiday parties everyone’s attending, or the clever spot they put their Elf’s in. So why not do some good while you’re on there too? It takes just seconds to like and follow a charitable organization’s page, and share their posts. This helps them get the word out on what they’re in need of this year, while you feel good in the process.

6. Be a big tipper

The holidays are the perfect time to show a little extra appreciation to people who provide a service, be it servers who are working extra hard to feed hungry holiday crowds, your Instacart shopper, or even the UPS guy who’s trudging through ice and snow to get your packages there in time and intact.

A little extra than 20%, or a gift card for that delivery person, goes a long way to making their — and your holiday season —  a little merrier.

You can even offer a little something special for those who typically don’t get gratuities, like the ER nurses at a local hospital, or the first-responders at your neighborhood firehouse. Sending a pizza over via DoorDash, or baking a batch of cookies to drop off, is a kind gesture that’ll get them through those long shifts.

7. Pay it forward

Last but certainly not least, the holidays are a perfect time for random acts of kindness, and whatever that entails for you. Maybe it’s as simple as paying for the car behind you’s order in the Starbucks line, or offering to hang some Christmas lights for your elderly neighbor.

A little kindness goes a long way!

Jené Luciani Sena
Jené Luciani Sena is an accredited journalist and internationally-renowned bestselling author, regularly seen on national TV outlets such as Access Daily, Today and Dr Oz. Touted as one of Woman’s World Magazine’s “Ultimate Experts,” she’s a TEDTalk speaker and a busy Mom of 4. Read more
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