While it’s all well and good to give gifts to the ones you love, it’s a good idea to make sure that you’re remembering the spirit of the season. It’s important to do your best to help out those who are less fortunate than you are as well.

Put together a gift box for less fortunate children

There are quite a few organizations for which you can sponsor a needy child for Christmas, or pack a gift box for them. Here are some of my favorites:

  • Operation Christmas Child
  • Angel Tree
  • Toys For Tots
  • My Two Front Teeth

Help out our armed forces

Our fighting men and women are on the front lines fighting for our freedom. It’s the least we can do to help them out during their time of need. There are multiple organizations that you can give to during the holidays, and year round, that will help. Here are a few of my favorites.

  • Luke’s Wings
  • Operation Give
  • Fisher House

Those are just a few of the great organizations helping our fighting men and women.

Serve others in your community

Serving others in your local community is a great way to give back. Here are a few ideas of ways to do that.

  • Volunteer at your local soup kitchen or food shelf.
  • Register for a website like TheCommon.org.
  • Help out a neighbor.

Give a gift card

Some churches have programs where families can request financial help when they’re in need. In return, our church will often give out gift cards donated by people in the congregation, or put out a request for help to members in the congregation.

People been able to help a lot of families this way, and there is usually a gift card drive around Christmas. Beyond churches, a lot of local community centers and social service agencies will do similar gift card giveaways. Have a gift card you don’t want or need? Donate it!

You also might have extra stuff around the house. Consider donating clothing, electronics and more to a good cause.

Give the gift of time

Local retirement homes around the holidays love to have people come and perform for the people living there, or just visit with them. Many of the residents are there without family or friends, and just having someone to listen can be a huge lift to their spirits. Even if you don’t perform, you can always go and play games, or just talk and hang out.

Lend a listening ear by visiting a local soup kitchen or shelter and visiting with the people there. Quite often, you’ll meet some very interesting people who are just going through some tough times, and need an open ear. ■

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