You’ve decked the halls. You’ve wrapped the gifts. You’ve baked the cookies, planned the parties, and donned your best ugly sweater more than once. But what about celebrating the true spirit of the season?
If you haven’t made time to give back to others just yet, don’t sweat it. We asked Lyft drivers across the country for their favorite ways to help out during the holidays, and everyone from nonprofit executives to elementary school teachers answered. Now, giving back can be on everyone’s list this year — no matter who you are.
1. Give your favorite organization exactly what they wish for.
Short on time to volunteer this year? You can still support your favorite causes in a meaningful way, says Abigail in Charleston. “I'm a huge animal lover and would love to volunteer at a shelter, but unfortunately I don't have the time I’d like to give,” she says. “However, I found that most local shelters have Amazon Wish Lists where you can purchase items for them to use at the shelter. It's as simple as ordering online and can be as inexpensive as paper towels. It makes me happy to know I'm taking care of animals even if I don't have the time to volunteer.”
2. Spend time with seniors.
To help out, all you have to do is hang out, says Noel in Orange county. “There are many older folks who don’t have anyone to visit them over the holidays,” she says. “Head to a local senior facility. You’ll spend one or two hours smiling, hugging, and talking with people.” And if you want to sweeten the deal, Noel recommends calling ahead and asking if you can bring homemade baked goods. “You can put little cute sayings inside a plastic wrap so they are like fortune cookies,” she says.
3. Party with a purpose.
If you love entertaining, you’ll love this tip from Craig in Atlanta. This year, he and his partner have decided “to step outside the box, rent an event space, and invite 40 people over to an ugly Christmas sweater party.” They’ll provide appetizers and drinks for the evening, as long as guests bring a gift or monetary donation. “It’s all going to two homeless families that are in complete need,” he says.
4. Make someone warm and cozy.
The secret to helping someone this year might already be in your closet. For the homeless, winter is especially tough, which is why Chelsea, a teacher in Nashville, started the ‘Gift of Warmth’ in her classes. “Students bring in gloves, scarves, hats, and blankets in exchange for grade incentives, and I hand them out to our homeless in the city over winter break.” To find out what’s most needed for homeless in your area, contact your local organizations.
5. Get creative with random acts of kindness.
Giving back in small ways can make a big difference, says Tyreda in Atlanta. Her and her kids count down to Christmas by performing random acts of kindness each day in December. “For example, one day the act of kindness is to smile at everyone we pass. Or it might be leaving an inspirational note in a book at the public library, buying a coffee for a teacher, or taping money to a vending machine. One year, we left $5 in a Redbox movie we returned for popcorn for the next renter.”
Want more ways to #ReclaimTheHolidays? Start here.