Family time is precious. That’s why the holidays are so special; they offer a great opportunity to get together with loved ones. Holidays are also a chance to reflect on how much we have to be grateful for, and to give back to those who have less.
In the spirit of charity and togetherness, we decided to focus on a few fantastic ways you and your family can celebrate the holidays while spreading cheer to others. Here are five ideas to get you started:
1. Fill bellies, fill hearts
Get the whole gang to volunteer at a local food bank. You can help sort food, serve meals or clear away dishes. Places like Ottawa’s Parkdale Food Centre provide essential services to people who would otherwise go hungry. When you join them in changing someone’s life for the better, it will be as great a gift to you as to those you’re helping feed.
2. Clean out your closets
Pick a day for everyone in your household to clean out their closets. Then donate what you don’t really need. Others will find new ways to enjoy and upcycle your old clothes. And your room will be that much tidier! (You can also donate books that your children have outgrown to your local library.)
3. Be humane, seek a shelter
Humans aren’t the only ones in need of love and support. Find an animal shelter, rescue organization or humane society near you. In between the rest of your holiday festivities, spend a few hours walking their dogs or offering other help to care for lost and stray animals.
4. Gift a child
Many community centres and YMCA-YWCAs run programs that pair you with a child who won’t have much this holiday season. They provide you with a first name and a list of things the youngster likes. Then you and your family can have a blast putting together a personalized care package for them. Another option is to donate a gift through organizations like Toy Mountain.
5. Shop ’til you drop – for a family in need
Check in with your local grocery store to see if they’re running a program to sponsor a family for the holidays. You can often be assigned a large family, so you can fill their bags with the food they’ll need to celebrate the season in comfort and joy. You can also buy some additional non-perishable food items and drop them off at a food bank donation location. As well, many community and religious organizations organize hamper drives that pair your family with a family in need.
Do you have some other suggestions? List them here in the comments!