Giving Back for the Holidays

By Emily S. RSS Thu, December 23, 2021

It can be difficult to get into the holiday spirit in the midst of so much confusion, fear, and grief. Children and adults alike may find ourselves feeling sad at the loss of a loved one, of normalcy and routines, or of beloved traditions that have been interrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Or maybe those very traditions feel out of place? With gatherings advised against, inflation on the rise, interruptions to the supply chain and shipping delays, the mandate to lighten spirits and create a memorable holiday, or finding that perfect gift for your children can become another insurmountable task—it is easy, too, to slide into resentment.

What is the cure for this Scrooge-like state? It is giving, of course. Counterintuitive though it may sound, doing something kind for another person has been proven to increase our happiness. Kindness may be just what the doctor ordered for children, as well. Involve the whole family. Gratitude and the sharing of what you have can lighten everyone’s metaphysical load.

Giving may feel overwhelming when your own resources are low. Take moments for yourself. Be sure to practice self-compassion, respect your own limits, and find a way to give back that feels enjoyable to you. 

Visit your favorite local organizations online or via social media to look out for opportunities to donate or volunteer. Find your nearest Community Fridge and fill it with food. Go gift shopping virtually on The Morris Home’s Holiday Wishlist or year-round on the ChildLife Wishlist from the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. To find other ways to help your neighbors, visit phila.gov.

Have kids who have outgrown last year’s winter clothes? Help them give the gift of warmth to their community when you donate new or gently worn winter coats, outerwear, and warm clothing to the Bundle Up Philly Winter Clothing Drive from Cradles to Crayons. The organization is also collecting new socks and undergarments, sizes 0-18/20. If you have other in-person items to donate, the Really Really Free Market welcomes pre-market donations on the last Saturday of every month.

Don’t have a lot of extra to give this year? Refill your cup with some inspiration or uplifting news. Let someone you care for know that you’re thinking about them. Give a loved one a call on speakerphone and sing them a song. Make and send simple greeting cards as a family to neighbors, elderly relatives, friends of all ages—anyone in your life who might need a boost. Include an extra stamp if you’d like them to write you back. 

And you don’t have to get all of your do-gooding done in time for the New Year! Charitable giving often falls off after the holidays, but the need remains. If you are overwhelmed with obligations during the holiday season, or if procrastination is your way of life, feel free to give to your heart’s content and on your own timeline in 2022.


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