Ways to Give Back this Christmas

by Rachel Eberle

Christmas is approaching fast. With the holiday season looming over us, we are preoccupied with thoughts of family, food, gifts, and days off. What we don’t consider as much is how to give back during the holiday season. We are very fortunate to live comfortable lives. However, many people in our state are not so lucky.

I was reminded of this reality as I drove through Southeast Arkansas during Thanksgiving break. Most of the homes I encountered were small, run down houses and beaten up trailers. So many people live in similar conditions or worse  throughout Arkansas. Even though we do not necessarily see places like this everyday, it is a reality for many people.

This Christmas, before imagining how great the break will be, put yourself in the shoes of someone less fortunate, and think of ways to help them. With a little effort and portion of our time, you can make someone else’s holiday so much better.

  1. Clean out. Donate your old outgrown clothes and childhood toys. This is a win-win for you and those in need. Use this as an opportunity to clean out your closet and get organized.
  2. Make donating fun. Find all the toys and books you used to love and put on your own Christmas list, then donate them to an organization collecting gifts for kids.
  3. Help neighbors. Give your neighbors a night off by offering to babysit their children for free. If you have a sick or elderly neighbor, make a meal for them and hand-deliver it
  4. Donate your time. Christmas break is a perfect time to volunteer. Contact the place of your choice soon to get involved. Some great places to volunteer are Our House, homeless shelters, soup kitchens, the Salvation Army, hospice organizations, nursing homes, and the VA Hospital.  
  5. Take a minute to think. Before you pick up food from a drive thru or buy a coffee, contemplate if you really need it. Someone else could benefit from that money. Keep track of this money and donate it to your favorite charity.
  6. Collect change.  Next time you are at the mall and see the Salvation Army volunteers ringing the bell, think about donating before you walking inside. Whether small or large, anything helps. Keep a collection of loose change on you to donate throughout the Christmas season.
  7. Give attention to your parents and elders. Your parents do so much for you throughout the year. During this Christmas break offer them a hand and spend a little extra time with them. Grow closer with family members or grandparents by sitting down and having a conversation or playing a game. They will absolutely love spending time with you.
  8. Help the world through organizations. You can change a child’s life by sponsoring them through the World Vision International organization. Go online to read about available children to sponsor. These children’s stories and faces will melt your heart. Similarly, you can gift an animal to a family through Heifer International. This one animal will be extremely rewarding and beneficial to a family in need.  Your donation could change their lives.   

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