While Christmas and the holidays may be one of the biggest times to spend money on gifts for your loved ones, it’s not all about big presents with big price tags. ‘Tis the season, however cold out, to warm hearts and be a generous giver.
VOLUNTEER & DONATE
You don’t have to look very far to find someone in need of a handout or help up. When you bundle up in your warm coat or are relaxing by the fire this winter, remember those who lack the means to keep warm. And, while you can’t help everybody out there, you can feel good about making a positive difference in the lives of those you can reach. Consider sharing the gift of volunteering. Homeless, women’s, animal shelters, veterans’ organizations, retirement communities, and hospitals are unlimited places to serve and spread the spirit of heartfelt generosity this Christmas and holiday season.
Whether new or used, there is something for someone in need you can buy, make, or find in your own closet or home. Make a list of essentials and take stock of what you already have that you can donate. Maybe it’s time to part with the clothes or shoes taking up space in your closet or share if you have an extra pair. Imagine how much better someone will feel keeping warm in the jacket or coat you donated. If you’re a knitter or crocheter, make your own blankets and scarves as gifts. Go through your pantry for unopened items to donate, but check the expiration date first. Consider picking up a pack of bottled water and travel-sized toiletries to drop off at your local homeless shelter or soup kitchen.
ADOPT OR SPONSOR A NEW PET
Consider the gift of new life by bringing home a new animal member of the family. Remember, this requires an increased level of responsibility and commitment, so no need to rush the decision-making or planning process. And, it’s important to adopt a healthy, positive, but real and practical outlook on adopting a pet. Don’t expect the new animal to be the perfect fit immediately, because it’s a learning process on both sides. Even if you can’t bring one home, consider sponsoring a shelter or rescue animal in need of support. The animal will be better off, thanks to you, and hopefully healthier and happier and more equipped to survive and thrive when he does get his forever home.
MEDLEY OF MEMORIES
Instead of letting that shoebox or old photo album full of family snapshots collect dust, creatively craft gifts that are memorable. For a medley of memories, decoupage old photos onto Christmas and holiday greeting cards, collage them onto canvases to be framed and hung, or create a magical montage of boxes, all shapes, and sizes. You can get creative with tiny, decorative clothespins and hang a gallery of photos on strands of Christmas lights, or you might decoupage memorable photos onto wooden holiday cutouts from the craft or dollar store to make ornaments for your Christmas tree. Want wearable memories to accessorize your look and remind you of your loved ones? Cut out small photos of your favorite people and pets to glue onto pendants or to tuck inside lockets.
Include inspirational verses, quotes, and affirmations that encourage, motivate, and uplift in greeting cards and make gift tags and attach to wrapped presents with tape or ribbons.
Some of the most memorable and meaningful gifts aren’t material items. For those of us who don’t want to end up with more stuff that can clutter up, there are better options as we make the most of this season’s gift-giving.