We’re in the single digit countdown to the big day now! I still have most of my Christmas shopping to do, but since almost all of my other tasks are finished, I’m not stressed about that at all. In fact, I’m hoping that I can focus more on the A Season of Giving calendar now than I did earlier in the month!
Here’s the original post on A Season of Giving.
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- Day 1: Take dinner to a single mom or a military parent who has a deployed spouse. This is a tough time of year to be a single parent–LOTS of stuff to do and not much time to do it. Since you’re probably cooking Sunday dinner for your family anyway (they ALWAYS want to eat, don’t they?!), make double and share the gift of time with a friend. Or, invite them to your home for Sunday dinner!
- Day 2: As you’re shopping for Christmas gifts, or making out your own list, patronize companies who make “Cause Wear” and give a portion of their proceeds back to specific charities. Some of our personal favorites include Sevenly, 147 Million Orphans, Better Life Bags, and FEED Projects. Let us know which ones are yours! (Note: Lily B. told us via Facebook that she likes International Princess Project, 31 Bits, and Krochet Kids).
- Day 3: When friends or family are sick, we take them a meal or give them a hand around the house or with the children. When they live far away, though, a restaurant gift card accomplishes the same thing–allowing them to take a night off from cooking. Today, mail a gift card to a friend who lives far away–or send it electronically for immediate TLC! Don’t forget your friends who are battling chronic illnesses or undergoing chemo or radiation. If you’re short on funds, a heartfelt note is always appreciated, too.
- Day 4: Prepare a care package for a deployed soldier. I have the “benefit” of living on a military post, so it’s easy for me to get a name of a soldier, put together a box, and drop it off for the next plane overseas. If your situation is completely different and you have no clue where to start–or you just want to simplify things–the USO accepts tax-deductible donations and then they’ll send the box for you. Easy!Another option is to give to a reputable military/veteran organization who uses a high percentage of donations to serve (rather than pay overhead). The USO and Special Operations Warrior Foundation are two of my personal favorites, but there are quite a few out there to choose from!
- Day 5: Organize a coat drive with your neighbors and local friends. This is a great opportunity to purge your closets of coats that your children have outgrown!Use Facebook or other social media to give friends a week to drop their unwanted coats off at your home (or pick them up to make it even easier for folks to give). Drop them off at a church, school, or shelter who will give them directly to those in need. While I love to donate to thrift stores, this is one situation where I like to give right to the place that will get them quickly and easily into the hands of those who need them.
- Day 6: Go through your bathroom cabinets and linen closets and donate all of your unused hotel-sized and travel-sized toiletries to a homeless shelter or domestic violence shelter. I volunteered at a shelter during college and learned that the smaller-sized bottles are more useful. If you travel for work, you probably have quite a collection of these, and it doesn’t cost you anything to collect them throughout the year and donate them to those who truly need them.
- Day 7: Deliver cookies to a fire or police station. Since we live on a military post, we’ll take a plate to the gate guards, too. If you want to try a new recipe, try these salted caramel whoopie pies.
- Day 8: Sponsor a child for Christmas through a local agency (organizations that send them worldwide usually collect items and money in November, although this isn’t always the case). Terry likes to select children of the same gender and age as her children, and then she puts them in charge of selecting gifts. What a great way to get your children involved in giving!If money is tight this year, why not join with a few friends or some coworkers to sponsor a child together?
- Day 9: Donate unused frequent flier miles or credit card points to charity–if you’re never going to earn that free round trip ticket, it’s a way to put your points to use for a good cause. Another way I give is by donating My Coke Rewards points to charity–it’s so easy to accrue those throughout the year and donate them every December!
- Day 10: Organize a canned food drive with your friends and neighbors. Just like the coat drive on the 5th, offer to serve as the collection point and drop all the items off at a local shelter or food pantry.While you’re at it, consider marking your 2014 calendar with a reminder to donate on a monthly basis–many food warehouses are overwhelmed with donations during November and December, but hunger is a year-round problem.
- Day 11: Clean out your closets and donate items you no longer want or need. Admit it–you need to toss some stuff so your guests can unpack, anyway! I prefer to give to a shelter, school, or church so items get handed directly to those who need them, but thrift stores are a good second-string choice. Please know that even if you do this at the beginning of January, you’re still helping people who need extra clothes to get through the winter!
- Day 12: Volunteer at your kids’ school: read or do a craft, offer to grade papers, and let the teacher take a break! Take her a hot cup of coffee when you go. Also, if no one has organized a group gift yet, consider sending an email out to all of the parents. Sometimes one larger gift (or gift card) is more useful than twenty coffee mugs! 🙂
- Day 13: Invite a friend, coworker, or neighbor to church or to Sunday dinner this week. Christmas can be a lonely time of year for those who are without family nearby, so give the gift of hospitality by inviting them to join you for a meal or taking them with you to church. We try to do this annually for the single soldiers who might not be heading home for Christmas, although as we get older, we find that the eighteen-year-olds don’t want to hang out with us quite so much–can’t imagine why!
- Day 14: Offer to babysit for a mom who needs extra help this year (single moms are always spread too thin in December–really, most of the year!). If you’re feeling extra energetic, instead of plopping the kids in front of a movie, set up a hot chocolate bar or bake Christmas cookies with them, or even take them shopping to buy her a small gift.
- Day 15: Clip coupons from your Sunday newspaper. Even if you’re not a couponer yourself, you’d be amazed at how many times you’ll find a coupon to try a new product for “free.” Even if you don’t use that particular item, why not pick it up anyway and then donate it to a shelter–it’s such an easy way to give, even if you’re on a tight budget. Ask friends and neighbors who don’t clip coupons to save their Sunday inserts for you, and then even the paper is free. Also, military families who are overseas can use coupons that are expired (up to six months after the expiration date) at the military commissaries. So before you toss your expired coupons, see if you can donate them for use overseas. Your local chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR) can usually help you with this.
So that’s it so far! If you’ve completed any random acts of kindness this month, I’d love to hear from you below. And as always, thanks for stopping by!