10 Ways to Spread the Goodwill

Make time to help others this season.

December 2015

Between shopping and wrapping gifts, planning parties and preparing feasts, who has time to add one more thing to their holiday plate? You do. Because taking time out of your schedule to help others will only make your holiday season all the more joyous and celebratory. Here are 10 ways to give back—and every single one will make you feel warm and toasty inside.

1. Send boxes of cookies or baskets of fruits to those who have to work on a holiday, like your local police department, firefighters or hospital staff.

2. Host a holiday party—and instead of asking your guests to bring wine or hors d’oeuvres, request a gift to donate to your local homeless shelter.   

3. Buy a dozen thank-you notes. Send simple messages of appreciation to helpful coworkers, longtime best friends and faraway relatives. Take your time and write one every morning.

4. When bad weather is predicted, call an elderly relative to ask what she or he needs from the grocery store. After you drop off a big paper bag of milk, bread and eggs, don’t accept an offer for payment.

5. Organize a holiday happy hour at an area bar where proceeds from sales will be donated to a local food pantry. Ask attendees to bring canned goods, and hold a 50/50 raffle for an extra boost of cash.

6. Send deployed troops customized care package through organizations like Operation Gratitude. Wish-list items include everything from shaving cream to iPods. Remember to include a personal letter of gratitude and support.

7. Shoveling snow? Don’t stop where your property line ends. Take care of your next-door neighbors’ sidewalks and driveways, too.

8. Call a nursing home and ask to schedule a visit with a resident who rarely has guests. During your visit, find out something he or she likes, and then send a holiday gift you know will be appreciated.

9. Purchase tickets for a glamorous charity gala—then gift them to a couple with young kids who don't get out much. You’ll be supporting a meaningful cause and giving your friends a memorable night out. (Oh, and who’s babysitting? You!)

10. Stores offer deep discounts post-holidays. Take your family on a one-hour shopping spree to fill your cart with gifts for families in need. Contact your area women’s and children’s shelters to learn which items are most needed.