37 Easy Ways to Give Back During the Holidays to Your Community

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Giving back doesn’t have to be elaborate. Random acts of kindness can be fun and simple. Here are 37 ways to give back during the Holidays.

What comes to mind when you think about “giving back”?

Giving money to charities? Donating food to a Food Pantry? Choosing a child from an Angel Tree? Spending time at a homeless shelter?

family walking together - ways to give back during the Holidays.

Those are all great and amazing ways to give back, but what if you have small children? I asked myself this question a lot when my children were younger being that I couldn’t bring a 5-year-old, 4-year-old, 2-year old, and infant to a homeless shelter to serve food.

Thinking outside the box and come up with ways that would bring a smile to someone’s face became a challenge.

Here is what I came up with: 37 ways to give back to get you started.

37 Ways to Give Back During the Holidays | Random Acts of Kindness

Giving back during the holiday season can be harder than it seems with travel to see family and friends, and time commitments with school programs and work parties. But giving back doesn’t have to be an elaborate presentation. Holidays should mean less stress, not more stress.

It can be fun and simple, easy for the whole family.

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1. Hold the door open for someone.

You would be surprised at how much this can help. Usually, people are surprised and caught off guard.

2. Smile at a stranger.

We don’t know what people are going through. Sometimes that smile means more than we could ever know.

3. Compliment a stranger.

This always catches people off guard, in a good way. I’ll compliment their outfit or something they have. They are always quick to smile and tell me about the sale or what the piece means to them.

4. Write a thank you card.

Keep letters and stamps in your bag and write a note of thanks the next time you’re waiting somewhere. It doesn’t need to be elaborate. “Hey! I was thinking about you. I hope you’re doing well.”

5. Donate items to a local shelter.

Ask what they need the most and help meet that need.

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6. Let someone go in front of you at the store.

People can be crazy this time of year. Take the extra time to look and be aware of the people around you. Smile, and let the person go in front of you.

7. Say thank you to the cashier.

You would be surprised at how many people don’t do this!

See? I said they were simple.

Giving back and being kind doesn’t have to be complicated.

8. Donate books to a local school or library.

Call and ask if they are taking donations. Consider homeless shelters or the police department.

9. Tell someone you love them.

Pick up the phone, write a letter, or tell someone in person.

10. Donate new items to the Children’s Hospital.

These items do have to be brand new so germs aren’t spread. Ask the department what toys are needed.

11. Surprise someone with a sweet treat.

Make it yourself or buy someone a special treat.

12. Write a note to someone and tell them why they are special to you. Don’t forget to mail it!

This is where the letters, postcards, and stamps in your bag come in handy again.

13. Collect spare change for the Salvation Army.

There is always change laying around. Save it and pay it forward.

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14. Collect old newspapers and donate them to the local pet shelter.

Before you collect them all and take them, make sure they need them. Donating them to a local art studio is another idea.

15. Make a handmade card for a friend.

Handmade means a lot.

16. Buy balloons and hand them out at a local park.

Balloons make everyone happy.

17. Hand out lollipops to make people smile.

Who can say no to a lollipop?

18. Make care bags to give to the homeless shelter.

These care bags are also great to have on hand in your car to pass out while you are running errands.

19. Find a local pet shelter and donate a bag of pet food.

Ask what they need the most.

20. Make a thank you card for your school janitor.

Have your children write a note or draw a picture.

21. Bring your favorite person a flower.

Who doesn’t love flowers?

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22. Tell Mom and Dad, “Thanks!”

This is easy for the kids to do. Maybe I should add “Do your chores without complaining”…

23. Tape change to a vending machine.

I know at Walmart some of the drink machines are less than $1.

24. Do a chore for someone in your family.

Perfect for kids.

25. Leave a happy note for someone to find.

Use a post-it note on a mirror, a note left inside of a book at the Library. There are so many places you could leave a note for someone.

26. Send a card to a soldier.

Writing a note to a soldier can be a huge pick me up for a soldier on the field away from their family. 

27. Give someone a hug.

As long as they are huggers and someone you know.

28. Make dinner.

Double the recipe and put it in disposable containers for a friend or neighbor.

29. Collect cans of food and donate them to a food bank.

I’m sure you have food in your pantry you could donate.

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30. Bake holiday cookies and share them with your neighbors.

This is perfect for getting your kids to help in the kitchen.

31. Give blood and save a life.

As a blood donation recipient, I can’t emphasize just how important and needed this is.

32. Run an errand for someone.

New mom, neighbor, friend. It won’t be hard to find someone this will help.

33. Leave a generous tip the next time you visit a restaurant to make someone’s day.

Money can be tight around the holidays for everyone. An extra tip can make a huge difference.

34. Pay for someone’s layaway anonymously.

I cry when I hear these stories. If you can’t pay for the whole thing, offer to pay part of the amount down. Every little bit helps.

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35. Adopt a family from an Angel Tree.

If you’re already shopping, grab something for someone else while you’re there. You can also ask the school counselor if they know of a family who needs help. 

36. Host a hot chocolate stand and donate the proceeds to charity.

Think lemonade stand but it’s hot chocolate.

37. Visit a nursing home and sing Christmas Carols.

Residents are always super appreciative.

Start Your Random Acts of Kindness Today

Kindness isn’t centered just around the Holidays. Print out this Random Acts of Kindness Calendar and do something each month. There are even spaces for you to add your own ideas.

Random Acts of Kindness Calendar BITM
Click the Image to Download Your Random Acts of Kindness Calendar

What are some ways you will spread kindness and cheer this holiday season?

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