There is no gift greater than giving to others. If you haven't discovered this yet, I'm truly sorry and hope that you your chance soon. Christmas is the perfect time to enjoy spreading cheer and to use what you have to help others, but the other three hundred and sixty four days of the year need a special something, too. Even if you're not in a group like Girl Scouts that makes a point of doing community service and helping others regularly, you can still do your part to make someone else's life brighter.
The Power of a Gift
You've probably had it happen to you. A good friend calls unexpectedly just to say something nice, or someone you barely know says something great about you in the hallway.
Perhaps your boyfriend shocked you by remembering the one and only time you mentioned you love butterfly charms and bought you one for your birthday. Anytime you find yourself in the position of being special, it makes you feel warm all over.
The special feeling needs someone else taking an interest in you. That feeling of being important enough for someone to listen to and respect is huge. Do you give that feeling to others?
Giving Something Back
If you find yourself on the receiving end of compliments and thoughtful gifts far more often than you compliment or give to others, you are missing out – big time. Organizations such as Girl Scouts
know this which is why they focus so heavily on community service and projects
which benefit others. Scouts even have a chance to earn badges and awards for community service. Helping others is a huge part of who Girl Scouts are and what makes the group so special.
Even if you're not in Girl Scouts or a similar organization, there are tons of ways to help others. Hurricane Katrina moved a lot of people across the country and events like the war and tsunami at Christmas of 2005 opened hearts to the people in need around the globe. If you can't help yet on a global scale, there are countless ways to help right in your own backyard.
Something as simple as cleaning out your closet and giving clean clothes to homeless shelters or charity can give another girl somewhere a chance to feel comfortable and fashionable. Items such as new packages of underwear and socks often are overlooked when charities are receiving gifts, so you might consider throwing an extra pack in the basket next time you're out.
Food pantries need help and donations. Clean out the pantry at home (with permission, of course) and take the dry and canned goods that you won't be using to a community center or church that takes donations. For a more hands-on approach to helping, you can take yourself to the food pantry and help bag rice and beans or actually work to help distribute food to those in need. Sometimes the most powerful thing of all is just to sit and visit with someone who needs company. If you have an neighbor who seems to just sit around silently all day or talk when no one is listening, perhaps you can step in a be a willing audience. Older individuals don't go to work or school where they can visit with others, so they might be lonelier than you can imagine. Sit and visit with someone and for once actually listen – you might discover the most fascinating person you never knew has been living next door for years.
However you decide to give to others, just try and find a way to do as often as possible. The warmth in your heart and the joy you bring to others will be worth far more than you can ever imagine.