Tips & Advice

5 Easy Ways to Give as a Family This Holiday Season

by Jennifer Iacovelli

Photo credit: Steve Debenport, E+/Getty Images

The holiday season is just around the corner. While I’m one that waits until after Thanksgiving to start thinking about Christmas, it’s not unusual to see holiday decorations in the stores before Halloween even hits.

Of course, with the decorations comes the stress of finding gifts for all your loved — and maybe not so loved — ones.

During the holiday season I try to keep the perspective that it is the giving season. And giving doesn’t have to mean fighting shoppers in a crowded store or spending lots of money.

To keep things simple and meaningful, here are five easy ways you can give as a family this holiday season:

Spend Time Together
Here’s a novel thought. Maybe instead of rushing around shopping for your family, how about spending time with them? Go to a Christmas play, bake cookies together, or just have a fun game night. Take a breather from the hustle and bustle of the season and your regular schedule and just be together. Those memories will last longer than the hot present of the season.

Perform an Act of Kindness
When my boys and I lived around the corner from our local fire station, we would bring donuts and other treats to the firefighters every now and then just to say thanks for protecting us. We did the same thing on Christmas morning after the boys opened their gifts. It was fun to do and the firefighters appreciated the visit. Not only did my family get to spread kindness together, but my kids also learned how easy it is to give no matter how old you are.

Give the Gift of Warmth to the Homeless
The holiday season also means colder weather. I live in Maine where the winters can be pretty harsh. Imagine what it’s like for those who cannot afford a roof over their head. Take some time to go through all your winter gear and set aside anything you don’t wear for your local homeless shelter. Buy a few extra packets of warm socks to add to your donation and deliver it as a family. You’ll have a meaningful giving experience because you’re sharing it with loved ones, and you’ll be able to see the impact of your gift when you visit. 

Ask What’s Needed in the Classroom
If you have school-aged kids, the teacher’s gift is often one of those last-minute tasks that doesn’t always have much thought put into it. When I didn’t know what to buy for my son’s teacher one year, I asked what she needed for the classroom. She was so thankful for the simple act of me asking that I’ve made it a point to do this every year with both my sons’ teachers. Typically the items needed are incredibly simple, like cap erasers or tissues, but the gifts are always very much appreciated.

Find Gifts That Give Back
Inevitably, you will probably end up buying a gift or two during the holiday season. Rather than heading straight to the shopping mall, take some time to find gifts that actually give back when you make the purchase. Shopping on a site like To The Market, for example, allows you to support survivors of abuse, conflict, and disease around the globe while buying gorgeous goods. I have a gifts that give back list I curate on my website. You can also simply walk or drive down the street and shop locally so your gift supports your neighborhood storeowners.

These are all simple ways you can give in a more meaningful way with your family this holiday season. Hopefully the ideas will give you inspiration for even more creative ways to give. Don’t you feel less stressed out already?