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Ways to Give Back During the Holiday Season

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at UK chapter.

The holiday season is upon us (yay!) and I know we’ve all started thinking of things we want as gifts this year. Thankfully, most of us are fortunate enough to do so, and even more to receive many of the items on our wishlists. However, not everyone is as lucky. But, there are many ways to help out those who may not be as blessed as us, especially in the Lexington area. Make someone else’s holiday season a little more joyful with a few of these ways to give back. ☺


  • Circle of Love (on campus)

The University of Kentucky has this amazing opportunity called “Circle of Love,” that allows us students and our families to help out during the holidays by donating gifts to a family in need. This year, my mom and I decided to sponsor a family in Lexington, giving presents to parents for their children & making their holiday wishes come true! If you would also like to participate, click here for more info—it is super easy and fulfilling, and will warm the hearts of many this season.


  • Volunteer at a local soup kitchen

This is one of my favorite things to do during the holiday season. Hands-on volunteering is so rewarding and people are extremely grateful for any help received. I personally like to volunteer at soup kitchens and hand out the meals, but you can also be the one that cooks them, too! Or, you can stay behind the scenes and prepare plates or to-go bags. There are many tasks involved with something so simple, and it impacts the lives of so many families. Here is a list of a few soup kitchens and their contact info (from a quick Google search) in the Lexington area:


  • Host a coat drive

For those of us that don’t really live in the south, it gets super cold during this season. Many of us also tend to buy new winter coats every few years (or on Black Friday) and have an abundance of unworn jackets. Hosting a coat drive can allow you and your friends to donate some of your items and put them to much better use. There are about 4,000 homeless individuals in the area and we can help them stay warm during these next few months.


  • Bring baked goods to a nursing home

Most of us are lucky enough to spend the holidays with our families. The elderly however, may not have that same luxury, especially in nursing homes. For whatever reason, maybe they can’t travel to visit family, or maybe they don’t have many close family members to spend the season with, many older individuals in homes feel alone, especially this time of year. Baking cookies or bringing warm hot chocolate to them will make them feel so loved and appreciated this holiday season. You can even stay a while and play cards or watch tv with them—they are so appreciative of any kind gesture! 


  • Bring toys to an animal shelter

Don’t forget our furry friends need some love, too! Bring toys and blankets to local shelters to make the sweet animals feel loved this season. And, you can probably play with them, too! This will not only be fun for them, but I can guarantee it will warm your heart and temporarily relieve any school stress from the approaching finals season. 


  • Change your wish list

As I said earlier, many of us have wishlists for this holiday season. This year, possibly write something that may not be for you—whether it’s just money that you donate or toys that you bring to schools, it’s only one thing on your list that you will replace, and whatever it is you are replacing can probably wait until the next holiday (you don’t need it as bad as some people need food). Or, tell each person that comes to your holiday gathering to bring a canned good instead of a dessert or a bottle of wine or a present—I’m sure people would be happy to spend their money on that then another dessert plate of empty calories that 3 other people also brought. ;)

There are tons of additional ways to give back this season, but these are some of my favorite ones. If you have any other ideas, be sure to tag us on insta, @hercampusuk, and show us how you spread some love! This was probably my favorite article to write, as it feels so fulfilling to have all of these heartfelt ideas—now imagine how much better it will feel to do them! So, if you’re reading this, I challenge you to do just one of these items this year and notice how rewarding it is for both you and the people you are helping. Thanksgiving is in about a week, so let’s actually give this year, and make others thankful. Happy holidays everyone! ❤️

Hi, I'm Jillian! I am currently studying Interior Design and Business at the University of Kentucky. Besides design, some of my passions include writing and fashion. I also love traveling--exploring new, fun places with friends is one of my favorites pastimes.