9 Ways to Give Back With Your Family This Holiday Season

‘Tis the season! From the iconic Christmas movies you watch over (and over) to trimming the tree together while “Jingle Bells” plays in the background, we all have special ways to celebrate with our families. The holidays are the perfect time to start new traditions together. And there’s no better Christmas custom to start together than spreading holiday cheer and helping out those who are less fortunate.

Giving back during the holidays isn’t just an easy, fun way to spend time together as a family, but it reminds everyone what the season is truly about. From fostering a furry friend to sending care packages to soldiers overseas, here are nine little acts of kindness you can do together as a family this holiday season.

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As you’re baking gingerbread men and festive sugar cookies for this year’s holiday party, try making an extra batch that you can drop off at your local nursing home, hospital or homeless shelter. Christmas caroling recommended!

 

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Animal shelters get chilly (and full!) in the winter, but you can help out by giving these furry friends a warm, temporary home for the holiday—it’s a great way to spread the love to everyone this season. If you’re unable to bring a pet home this year, you can donate toys, blankets and food to your local animal shelter to brighten up their Christmas. If there isn’t an animal shelter in your area, check out Rock & Rawhide who will collect the items and distribute them for you.

 

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Channel your inner Kris Kringle and make another family’s Christmas dreams come true this year. Through Salvation Army’s Adopt-a-Family program, you’ll be matched with a less fortunate family and fulfill some of their holiday wishes with basic necessities, clothing and small gifts.

 

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Whip up your favorite holiday hot cocoa and set up a stand in your neighborhood to spread holiday joy to the whole town. Gather the proceeds and donate to a charity that’s meaningful to your family.

 

Photo Credit: Jamie Grill | Getty Images

Photo Credit: Jamie Grill | Getty Images

Spend an afternoon going through the closet together and take out any old or unworn clothes you no longer wear and donate them to your local shelter, The Salvation Army, American Red Cross, Goodwill or the Vietnam Veterans of America. You can also make a list (check it twice!) and take a trip to the grocery store together to pick up the nonperishable items you can donate to a family in need.

 

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Feeling generous and crafty? Be a “blanketeer” and make a blanket or two for Project Linus. The organization donates your handmade blankets to children who are seriously ill, traumatized or otherwise in need around the country.

 

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Photo Credit: Operation Gratitude

Show your support for our heroes overseas by putting together a special care package. Include wishlist items like scarves, knit hats, neck gators, paracord “survival” bracelets, socks, toiletries and other necessities. After you gathered and boxed up all the items, just fill out this form and send to Operation Gratitude—a non-profit organization that sends care packages to U.S. troops deployed in harm’s way and to Wounded Warriors recuperating in transition units stateside.

 

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Photo Credit: Jamie Grill | Getty Images

Give less fortunate little ones a holiday to remember by donating a brand new present through Toys for Tots, a program that delivers toys as Christmas gifts to kids in need, or a charity in your community that welcomes donations of all kinds. Step it up a notch and ask guests at your annual holiday party to bring a new, unwrapped toy with them.

 

Photo Credit: St. Jude's Research Hospital

Photo Credit: St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital

Spread joy by sending a printable or e-holiday card created by a St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital’s patient—your kiddo can send their favorite cards to classmates, friends and loved ones with special notes inside. The donation made in your honor will help St. Jude continue their mission to give precious children the gift of life.