Ways to make the holidays really worth while

“There is no happiness in having or getting, only in giving.” – Henry Drummond

December the high point for many during the year- when families gather, cheer is shared, gifts are given. The concept of including the less fortunate in the holiday happiness is not a new one, and while serving at the soup kitchen is awesome, here’s a couple ways to branch out from the usual:

Spend some time with the lonely. Visit a nursing home, shelter, prison, hospital wherever you feel called to share some conversation… extra points if its over cider. Sing? Dance? Magic tricks? Bringing any one of your talents to the table will brighten someone’s season.

You’re probably gonna get a haircut to look your best at all those end-of-the-year parties, right? So why not donate it? That’s a gift that gives long past December.

Toy drives have popped up on every corner, and you can also find angel sponsor trees in churches, salvation armies, the department of social services, even shopping malls to send a little somethin’ to someone who otherwise would go without.

Speaking of gifts.. shop fair trade! Avoid the mass producers, shop local, be responsible about your purchases. See the previous post about fair trade for a few suggestions. Not into the material presents? Awesome! Donate something to a worthy cause in the name of your loved ones.

Love animals? They’ve got food and toy drives too! Check with a local vet’s office.

Appreciate your public service men and women! Firemen, EMTs, especially the police who have gotten such a bad rap this year- bake some cookies, send a note, remember that they’ll be working straight through the holidays.

Tip generously. Let someone tour ahead of you. Tis the season for random acts of kindness.

Maybe this is a post for a whole other day, but this organization: http://water.org/ brings clean water to some of the 2.5 billion around he world who are without. Twenty-five dollars provides clean water to a person for the rest of their lives. Which brings me to..

Give a family gift! If your family is lucky all year round, maybe instead of buying each other a ton of luxuries this year, you can provide a Christmas for a family who’s down on their luck.

Additionally, maybe its about time we stop demolishing forests in order to hang our ornaments a couple weeks a year?  get a fake one-your dog probably wont pee on it, you can reuse it 100thousand times, and you can always use some air freshener or candles to add the festive scent.

Point being, get creative, commit, and think outside of yourself… because you’re probably pretty damn blessed, and have every opportunity to share those blessings and spread some love.

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