Tips for Giving Back This Holiday Season

I made a commitment to complete 20 hours of community service before my 20th birthday in December.  Having a birthday during the Holiday Season makes this commitment easy to fulfill, since there are so many opportunities to give back. Additionally, my parents make sure that service is a part of our daily lives, not just the holiday season. Needless to say, I am excited to complete these hours and projected to go over my goal.  Throughout the years I have come to the realization, everyone is not like me. Many people do not have the urge to give back to people less fortunate than themselves. This is probably because they are serving without a purpose or simply do not know how to serve. Here are a few tricks, to make your service experience a little better this Holiday season.

1. You do not need a concrete plan

To serve you do not need to be a part of an organization nor be the organizer of a grand production. If you have the urge one morning to make another person’s day, then just do it. One of my favorite vlogs is the Daily Davidsons. Recently, the family decided to pay it forward. The family went to Baby’s R Us and purchased another mother’s items. Additionally, they bought diapers to donate to a local charity. This shows how simple can be. Next time you’re the Chick-Fil-A line just pay for the person behind you meal.

2. Understand the purpose

When I understood the impact I was making, I begin to thoroughly enjoy serving.  In middle school my mother would drag me to the local homeless shelter and I would just be passing out food. During one trip, I begin to have a conversation with one of the men. He begin to tell me that prior to being homeless, he had a successful career and family. Unfortunately, various events lead him to being homeless. He said that he loved when the younger people came to serve because it reminded him of his children who he missed dearly.  When you understand the story of the people you are serving, it makes your experience much different.

3. Don’t limit yourself

There are many people in need in the world, meaning there are many ways to serve. You can sing Christmas Carols to a local nursery or pass out thanksgiving meals to the homeless. If you do not have the time to plan a drive or food bank, there are many organizations out there. #HashtagLunchbag rallies local volunteers to pack lunch for their own community. You then go out into the community to and pass out the lunch, with clothes. If you don’t want to interact directly with people but still have an impact, you could do Operation Christmas Child. You simply collect toys for small children and then pack them into a shoebox. The shoebox will then be shipped, to a child whose parents couldn’t afford a Christmas gift. Whichever organization you choose, will have an impact somehow.

You may feel that you can’t complete 20 hours like me this year. At least try to accomplish one act of service this Holiday season. Buy someone else’s groceries or participate in #HashtagLunchbag! There are countless ways to help others in your community. Be the person in your family to urge everyone to give back on Thanksgiving. Additionally, understand the stories of the people you are giving to. This will allow you to comprehend the impact you’re making. Lastly, know that they are numerous ways to serve. Imagine if everyone who could give back this holiday season, actually gave back! Let’s try to make other’s Holiday Season, even if it is simply conversing with the homeless man outside your local grocery store.