Giving gifts to your loved ones feels good, but the real meaning of the holidays is about expressing gratitude. We often get so caught up in the shopping and material items that we forget to just love each other. That’s what it’s really all about. Gifts are nice, but giving back feels even better and is more rewarding long term. Here are a few gift-free ways you can express gratitude all year around!
Donating items you no longer use to organizations like Fashion Project (a personal favorite of ours), Dress For Success, Salvation Army, and local charities helps raise money for important causes. Most of us have a lot of “stuff” and clothes we haven’t worn in years that could be better utilized helping a cause.
Volunteering is one of the most rewarding experiences. Helping others is not only a great way to spend your time, but it feels good to everyone involved. We promise! Try it out and you’ll feel great purpose in life. There are so many worthy causes to choose from, you’re sure to find a charity that resonates with you. Check out www.volunteermatch.org to find available opportunities in your area.
Become a Big Brother/Big Sister
Working with at-risk youth is a great way to give back and make a big difference in a child’s life. Influencing a child during their adolescent years can dramatically change their life trajectory. Never underestimate the value of being a good influence on someone. A friend and mentor can go a very long way. For more information on becoming a big brother or big sister go to www.bbbs.org.
A Handwritten Letter
The handwritten letter has fallen wayside to the digital age, but words on paper mean so much. If there is someone in your life you’ve been wanting to apologize to or just express your love and gratitude for, a sincere handwritten letter is a beautiful way to show how much you care. Simple words of appreciate are golden.
Acknowledge Those Less Fortunate
Homelessness is at an all-time high right now and there are more less fortunate people in need than ever. Whatever circumstances that got them to where they are should be approached with understanding and compassion. No one in the world wants to be living on the street begging. No one wants to have an addiction, joblessness or mental illness -often the most common circumstances that lead to homelessness. Whatever circumstances that brought them to homelessness are unfortunate, bottom line. Be kind. Treat those less fortunate with the human decency they deserve. A smile, an acknowledgement, some pocket change or even a kind word can go a long way.