Monday, December 10, 2012

A Helping Hand for the Holidays

According to the American Research Group, the average American plans on spending $854 on Christmas gifts this year. The good news is that spending is up significantly from last year – good news for the economy. It won’t be so great for the average American next month when those Christmas credit card bills start rolling in.

While we want to definitely focus on our families and friends this season, let’s not forget about those who won’t have as wonderful a holiday experience. People, who are homeless, financially challenged, hungry or just lonely during the holiday season. When we give to these people, we are also giving a gift to ourselves.

What can you do? Here are seven things.
  1. Call or visit any relatives or friends who live alone, in nursing homes or who may be isolated or away from loved ones.
  2. Take the kids to the toy store and pick out some inexpensive toys and gifts. Take your kids with you to a homeless shelter or hospital and have them pass out their gifts if possible.
  3. Go through your kitchen and put together a box of canned goods and unopened boxes for a donation to feed the homeless or hungry.
  4. Go through Wal-Mart and put together packages of toiletry samples (deodorant, toothbrush, toothpaste …) and donate to a men’s or women’s shelter.
  5. Make cupcakes or brownies and distribute them at a local nursing home or assisted living facility. If you can sing or play an instrument, make a little show!
  6. Volunteer at a soup kitchen or to cook or feed the hungry.
  7. Adopt a shelter pet.
Writing a check is nice but doing something gives you the added benefit of seeing the people who are benefitting from your help.
Whatever you decide to do, contact the organization you want to work with or donate to and find out what kind of donations they’d like and the best way to help them. You wouldn’t want to make cupcakes and then find out that no one can eat them!
Happy Holidays!

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