As the holiday season approaches, many of us cherish the time we get to spend with our loved ones. One of the many beautiful insights we have gained throughout the COVID pandemic is how vital connection is in all of our lives.  With the hustle and bustle during this time, however, it’s also easy to get caught up in the whirlwind of the season. Hectic travel schedules and frenzied last-minute shopping can make the holidays stressful.Between batches of holiday cookies and marching through your gift list, slip in a few hours to volunteer. These simple ideas will help connect you with the needs in your community and provide a chance for you to give as well as receive this holiday season.After all, giving back is the best way to spread holiday cheer.

  • Get a jump on the holiday cheer and rake leaves for those who aren’t able to get to it themselves. Look around your neighborhood for people who could benefit from a few hours of help from others. Don’t know anyone nearby you could help? Join NeighborWorks in their Rake Your Heart Out event on November 20th, 2021 to help the community at large. 

  • Start a new holiday tradition to make service a priority year-round. Sit down with your family and choose one service project per month to make a calendar of giving. You can use some of the ideas on the Doing Good Together

  • Adopt a family, a child, or anyone else who might need a little extra love. This can be personalized to fit what you can give. You can sponsor a foster child at Open Arms Youth and Adult Services or bring a smile through many other community organizations such as Toys for TotsHouse of Hope, Catholic Community ServicesSub for Santa, Angel Tree, Candy Cane Corner, or through smaller organizations closer to you! You could also adopt a resident of your local care center to spread the love this Christmas.  

  • Create your own 12 Days of Christmas Service. Find a neighbor, friend, co-worker, or someone in need and find a way to serve them for 12 consecutive days this season. (Make a treat, write a note, shovel their walk, purchase a small gift, etc.)

  • Start a giving jar to collect loose change throughout the year. When the jar is full, donate this money to an organization you care about or use it to help you give back to the community in some way. 

  • Think about those who aren’t home for the holidays and find what feels right to you to spread joy to these people. Whether these are medical professionals, military personnel, those in a care center, or someone else- write a card, send a care package, or find another way to let them know you are thinking about them during the holiday season. 

  • Are you hosting a holiday party? Invite your guests to bring a can of food, a new book or toy, a pair of socks or gloves, or something else you can donate to a nonprofit organization. String up a clothesline so guests can hang up their socks/mittens, or create a sculpture from the canned food that is brought. 

  • With so many opportunities to spread Christmas cheer, some of the simplest ways to make someone’s day can get overlooked, like leaving a generous tip, holding the door for the next person in line, letting someone in your lane during rush hour traffic, or just sharing a smile. Some of these little things can still make a big impact!

  • Why not donate to an organization you care about while doing your day-to-day shopping? Click here to link your Amazon, Walgreens, or Smith’s account and make a donation to Youthlinc every time you shop this holiday season and throughout the year!  
Whatever you choose to do, please keep in mind that because the holidays are such a popular time to volunteer, many organizations have already begun filling their needs for the upcoming holiday season. And nonprofit organizations need just as much help throughout the year as they do at the end of the year. So even if you can’t find the perfect chance to give back during the holidays, there’s still plenty you can do to help out in the new year. Make a New Year’s resolution to give back year-round!        
Service During the Holidays
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