Don’t you love the look on someone’s face when you give them a gift they really like or if you just surprise someone with a present when they weren’t expecting anything?
During the holiday season, we are asked to remember those around us and we give to those we care about and love. But it is important to also give to those less fortunate than you.
The holidays are all about giving…well also the delicious pies and other food. We even give to Uncle Larry and that crazy lazy eye he has, even if we’d much rather save the $12 and the time it took to pick him up a Wal-Mart fragrance set and wrap it.
Some people like to spread the holiday cheer by giving gifts and money to toy drives, Secret Santa groups and other events. That’s always a noble cause. But what’s even better than giving a gift to those less fortunate?
Giving the undisputed BEST GIFT possible…obviously!
What is the undisputed best gift?
It could potentially help the people you love, the people you don’t and the people you don’t even know. What is it?
What could this gift be?
It’s time. Giving your own time is the ultimate gift during the holiday season. Volunteering your time is the ultimate sacrifice, especially at this time of year. A lot of people are stressed out about everything that comes with the holidays, but the holidays are about sacrificing yourself for the sake of others.
The best part is that there are so many different ways you can volunteer throughout the year, but there are even more during the holiday season. Try out one of these volunteer services or find one that suits you even better. Regardless of which particular organization you choose, they will appreciate you taking the time out of your day and volunteering it to help others. Plus, you’ll feel great about yourself as your heart grows like the Grinch’s:
Animal Shelter – Shelters and rescues always need helping hands to make sure the animals are getting proper exercise, being bathed and not having to live in filth like many of them might have been living in previously. Ummm…did I mention you get to play with cute puppies and kittens?
Bell Ringer/Donation Collector - Non-profit organizations and volunteer service providers across the country have to raise money every year to support the services they provide. If you can’t afford to give a large donation to help them out, you can always donate your time helping them collect donation. This could be as a Salvation Army bell ringer or helping St. Jude’s Children Hospital stuff envelopes.
Meal Delivery - You want your heart touched? Deliver someone sustenance and watch the smile on his/her face grow wide. In pretty much every major American city, there are services, such as Meals on Wheels, that deliver food to those that are incapable of getting out of their homes for whatever reason and/or simply cannot pay for sustainable and nutritious food. The smiles alone are worth doing at least once, but you’ll also get to see how some people less fortunate live, giving you even more reason to be thankful.
Retirement Home – Often in major metropolis areas, you’ll find “misfit” holiday parties where groups of transplanted friends decide not to travel back to their hometown for the holidays. It’s not fun to be without your family, but at least you have friends to spend the time with. Now imagine if there weren’t any friends. How depressing is the thought of spending the entire month of December alone?
Because that’s the case for many senior citizens that don’t have any visitors. Why not set aside an hour or two to go and give your thanks to the greatest generation for all the good things they have done throughout their lives. If you stop in to four or five rooms at a senior center and invest 15 to 20 minutes chatting with each person, you’re going to brighten their holiday season. Plus, there’s no telling what wisdom they may impart.
Tutoring – “Give a man a fish, he’ll eat for a day. Teach a man to fish, he’ll eat for a lifetime.” Knowledge is one of the greatest gifts you can give…not quite the undisputed best gift, but it’s up there. And the good thing is that there is always someone wanting to learn. It might be children or it might be adults. Go to a jail and help tutor inmates trying to get their GED. Knowing you are helping someone potentially improve his/her life and also improve society by further educating those that have made life mistakes.