In the midst of the holiday season, we remember all that we are blessed with and often times feel compelled to give back. However, for lack of know-how, these good intention-ed thoughts don’t always turn into actions. This holiday season, here are 6 ways to pay it forward and give back to your community. Whether you’ve got time, money, or something you don’t need, there are countless ways to bring Christmas spirit to those around you and make your community a happier place.

    1. *Literally* pay it forward: there are countless ways to do this and you are guaranteed to make someone’s day. Whether you pay for someone’s morning cup of coffee at Starbucks, someone’s groceries at the supermarket, or someone’s dinner one night, this is an incredibly small way to bring holiday cheer close to home.  It often times sparks a chain reaction.

    2. Volunteer: this method of giving back is old as time.  There are numerous ways to do it. Search for local businesses that may need a few more hands on deck. It be a soup kitchen, an animal shelter, or your church.  There are plenty of places that would appreciate the extra help.

    3. Spend time with others: especially around the holidays, it’s easy for those whose family are far to feel lonely. If you have  a free afternoon, consider spending it at a hospital or a nursing home. A personal favorite of mine is to coordinate with a few friends and a local nursing home for Christmas caroling. You wouldn’t believe the smiles it brings to others. So cheesy, but so worth it.

    4. Donate things: of course, you can donate your old things like clothes, but there are also many other ways to donate. You can donate food to a local food shelf, donate animal toys to a local shelter, donate new toys to a toy drive, you could even donate blood. A girl I went to high school with organizes a winter clothing drive each year.  She donates what’s given to area veterans. Even in my little area of northern Minnesota, her efforts alone have made an enormous impact.

    5. Just be nice: it’s really no secret that small acts of kindness can make the biggest difference. Let someone with a few items cut in front of you at the store, hold doors open for someone a few steps behind you, or offer to carry someone’s shopping bags to their car. Smile more, complain less. Be merry.

    6. Give gifts: I love giving gifts. Picking something out for people I care about is my favorite part of the holiday season. Challenge yourself this year to go the extra mile.  Give a gift to someone you don’t know, whether it be sending a care package to a soldier overseas, giving a gift basket to someone in the hospital, or just giving a plate of baked goods to a neighbor. It can’t be said enough: small things inspire big smiles.

      Danielle B
      Danielle is a conservative political consultant who aides organizations in communicating their big ideas and empowering leaders. She works with a multitude of organizations, most notably including the American Conservation Coalition, OUTSET Network, and Future Female Leaders. Danielle can't explain why she doesn't need feminism, she's too busy succeeding without it. She likes coffee, capitalism, and proving people wrong.

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