With the holidays fast approaching, it can be easy to get caught up in the spirit of giving. Trying to find that perfect present for your loved one, your picky aunt, or that cousin you only see once a year can be costly, time consuming, and mentally draining. These times are especially hard for those that feel they cannot give enough during the holidays. Whether its due to time constraints, lack of money, or illness – the guilt of not being able to give back can feel like a heavy burden.
I’d like to give you some ideas of ways you can give or give back this holiday season without breaking the bank or taking up too much of your time.
- Become an IMAlive volunteer! We have sponsorships available for you to join IMAlive as a fully trained crisis responder and you can gift a stranger, someone that listens and cares.
- Donate, donate, donate! Clean out your closets and go through your kid’s old toys and find things that still have life in them, but you don’t even remember the last time you or your kids used it. Raid your pantry! Find a local women’s shelter to donate toys, clothes, baby items, and feminine products. You can even donate furniture or appliances to those that need them. Believe me when I say your hand-me-downs could be the best thing someone else gets this year.
- Donate blood or plasma! Give the gift of LIFE this year! Donating blood literally saves lives. Want to earn extra cash for the holidays? Donate plasma! You can get paid to donate plasma because it does take time but that plasma is used to help individuals get vital nutrients their body may not create on their own. You could even donate your hair to a foundation that makes wigs for those with cancer.
- Help those in need! If you do have some time to spare, why not volunteer? You can help a soup kitchen, a food pantry, or a homeless or women’s shelter. You could even donate your time to a local animal shelter. They are always in need of people willing to help clean kennels, walking dogs, or just give those sweet animals some much-needed attention.
- Become a mentor! Many youth organizations are looking for adults to help mentor young, impressionable children. Having a positive adult in the life of a child greatly increases their likelihood of success as a teen and adult. If you have the time to make this type of commitment, you could literally change someone’s life.
- Visit a nursing home! Bring treats and happiness to your local nursing home and just visit with the residents. Seeing a friendly face willing to listen or talk to about day-to-day happenings could make someone with no family around feel like a million bucks! If it’s allowed, bring along your little one that loves to perform for people or your chill dog that loves getting pets from anyone.
Whatever you decide to do (or not do) is completely up to you. Try not to get caught up in the game of who can do more or give more. Do what you can, when you can, and because you want to, not because you feel obligated. And remember, just showing a little kindness a stranger can make a big difference in someone’s life. Share a smile and watch it spread.
Happy Holidays from IMAlive!