Ah the true spirit of the holidays! The holidays have always included giving and receiving gifts, but more than ever, the true spirit of the holidays is about giving gifts to other people. This holiday season isnít likely to be any different.
The huge number of people out of work right now and the continued depressed economy is making it hard for families to have a celebratory holiday
. Many families are working very hard to get food on the table and donít have enough for the luxury of new toys for children or even for a special holiday dinner. Unfortunately, not only are families suffering, but the charities that normally help these families are suffering as well. As everyone tightened their belts over the last few years, charities have had less to work with and more people than ever to try and help.
Consider loosening your belt a few notches to get money out the door to those who are desperately in need. You can donate money or bring new or even gently used gifts to various donation centers. If you donít have much extra yourself, consider donating time instead of money or material items. Perhaps help assemble bikes or larger toys donated by others or you can wrap gifts for community Christmas
programs. Anything you can do to help is appreciated by those who are struggling.
Not only will it help those in need, it will help you as well when you reach out to others. Youíll feel more gratitude for what you have, and after seeing the generosity of others and experiencing the pure joy that comes from helping, you might be able to reach even deeper into your pockets, your closet or your old toy chest to find more items that will help others.
Friends and Neighbors
With the depressed economy and the number of individuals struggling, there have been many families who have enough to eat, but still need additional help. For many older adults, they are able to get from one check to the next well enough, but they are starved for company or are unable to take care of their properties. Many families are separated by the ongoing wars and the need for some family members to leave home for a time to find better paying jobs. A single parent with children at home could definitely use your help.
Look for those around you who arenít obviously struggling and reach out to them with the holiday
spirit. Offer to babysit for the mother whose husband is deployed for six months at a time. Knock on the door and bring some cookies over to your neighbor whose arthritis prevents her from doing much more than watching television during the day. Over your holiday break, you might make a standing appointment to watch a show with your neighbor. You donít have to do much talking, but just offering up human company and companionship can make all the difference in the world.
The holidays are a time of togetherness, but donít let the joy of giving and reaching out stop on January 1. Keep up your good deeds year round, and youíll certainly keep reaping the rewards of your offerings.