Ok, wait…….what has happened here??!!!  It seems I played golf….then we took the kids to Europe this Summer…saw friends for dinner….. and the holidays are here. I love this time of year (like everyone), but it’s also overwhelming and fast! Shopping for gifts, the parties and the gift guides, it’s a lot! So I’m trying to go at this holiday season in a much more simplified way – doing little by little and starting early (did I write that down……OMG!  I did NOTHING early). BIG hopes there……but really did give it a shot!

Ok, enough true confession, still working on organizing (but managing to eat and drink).  We all know that giving back is a huge part of the holiday season. It’s one I could definitely spend more time on, but I’ll admit that sometimes giving back feels daunting.  Thank goodness it doesn’t have to be! I wanted to start thinking of some simple and small ways to give back – even if you don’t have a bunch of extra time or money to contribute. You can still get into the holiday spirit and help spread cheer.  Here’s how…

  1. “Mondo” your closet (reference to the famous book about tidying up Japanese style) and spend the extra time organizing donations. Instead of taking everything to the Goodwill, look up other options in your town. A lot of your work clothes can be donated to shelters that are helping women get interviews. Or if you have holiday or dressy-dresses, there are organizations that donate to teenage girls going to prom.  Share the love!
  2. Set up an automatic donation of $10 (or whatever works for your budget) a month to an organization of your choice. A lot of them have auto-donation services, and it doesn’t feel like such a hefty hit to your wallet this way.
  3. If you have a friend who has recently given birth or is going through a rough time, offer to walk their dog a few times a week. Or hire a house cleaner to come to their house. It can be hard to figure out how to help people without them asking for it, but these little things are things everyone would appreciate.  Get creative….think outside the box.  Sometimes a call a couple times a month will make someone smile.  Take the kids or grandkids for a bit.
  4. Cook a tasty meal and take it to a homeless shelter. Or to teachers if you have kids in school.
  5. Get some friends together and clean up a local park or beach. Then have wine or champagne to toast your work in the tidy new area!
  6. Start composting (anyone who knows me is laughing at this very moment! No judgment my friends…) As in put compostable items in a bin in your home – it’s environmentally friendly.
  7. We all know those people – whether through church or whatever – who are always doing SO much for others. Treat them to a little anonymous self care package. You can include a massage gift card or even something small like a candle and some face masks.
  8. Think about what your strengths – maybe it’s reading, marketing, cooking, whatever, and figure out how you can use your talents to help someone feel less alone.   Maybe that means volunteering at a school 1x a week to read with kids or cooking at a shelter or teaching a class to a women’s center.
  9. I find that this tip makes things less overwhelming – when you can just do what you’re good at!
  10. If you’re an animal lover, you can volunteer to foster a dog or cat from a shelter or organization. Think about it – a little extra love (and puppy licks!) in the house over the holidays?!  Who can resist?
  11. Reach out to local veteran or armed forces organizations to see about hosting a veteran/someone in service for Christmas or Thanksgiving. A lot of these men and women don’t get to go home for the holidays, and it’s a great way to thank them for their service!  There are also a few organizations that provide “experiential” gift options like golfing or travel.  Gift Certificates can be just the thing!

What is your favorite holiday?  Have you done any of these things to make someone smile?  Do you have a neighbor who lives alone and could use a mug of hot chocolate and cookies?



xoxo, Rosanna
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