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Holiday cheer is in full swing. Your favorite radio stations are playing Christmas carols (already!), stores are adorned with festive decorations and loved ones are preparing their famous holiday recipes. This season is also a season for giving. There are so many opportunities to give back and spread the love. Here are some of our favorite suggestions for giving back:

Ask for Donations Instead of Presents

If you have enough socks to last you a lifetime and your home is filled with gadgets from past holidays that you have yet to use, consider an alternative gift guide for loved ones this year. Choose a few favorite charities or causes and ask family and friends who you know plan to give you a holiday present if they’d be willing to donate to one of your favorite causes instead. Give them options to make it more personal and fun. If they seem uncertain, let them know that you have everything you need and this year you’d like to pay it forward.

Create a New Family Tradition

One of the most wonderful gifts you can give children is showing them that they play a part in the way good can spread throughout the world. We love hearing about families that buy or cook meals for the homeless during the holiday season and deliver them to shelters. Start a family tradition that focuses on giving back. Perhaps you and your family can visit a senior citizen home and spend time with them or send packages to those in the military who are away from their family during the holidays. You can take your child to a local animal shelter and donate gently used towels and clothes to keep furry friends warm during the winter months. The options are endless and the acts of kindness you commit to will be greatly appreciated.

Remember Those Around You

When we think of charitable acts, we often think of the poor, homeless or downtrodden. But extending kindness to others during the holiday season can mean inviting a friend who doesn’t have family nearby to Thanksgiving dinner. It might mean taking cookies to your elderly neighbors who don’t receive visitors often. Or it might be as simple as taking extra time to write holiday cards and send pictures to your loved ones.

What’s your favorite way to give back during the holiday season?

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