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4 Creative Ways to Give Back to the Community This Holiday Season

By Erik Folgate

girl giving gift during holidaysThe reason why Christmas is a national holiday, whether you celebrate it or not, is because it symbolically represents the season of giving. Many of the other religious holidays in December including Hanukkah and Kwanzaa are the same way.

Personally, I’m a giver. It’s more fun for me to figure out unique ways to bless someone with a gift than it is to think about what I’m going to receive from other people. Don’t get me wrong. I still act like a little kid on Christmas morning when my wife gets me the gadget I’ve been salivating over the entire year. But, I really enjoy giving to others. It’s a huge motivator and it helps puts life into perspective for me.

I’m sure you hear this all of the time, but think about giving back to the community, especially during the holiday season. Even if you read this article after Christmas or even during the Spring or Summer, it’s never too late. You can be generous any time of the year. In fact, you might put even bigger smiles on people’s faces because you showed generosity during a time when they least expected it.

Here are 4 creative ideas you can use to give back this holiday season.

1. Anonymous Giving
Giving anonymously is great because the recipients won’t know who the gift came from. As a result, they won’t feel embarrassed or ashamed of needing help. If you really want to make someone’s day, seek out that single mother who busts her butt to provide for her kids or that struggling family that works hard but can’t seem to get ahead. Buy a $50 to $75 toy for each kid and a grocery store gift card for a Christmas dinner. If you have a coworker in mind, get to your office or workplace a little early and deliver it anonymously to their desk or locker.

2. Over Tipping
You probably have people in your life who you see regularly throughout the year such as hair stylists, mailmen, dry cleaners, restaurant servers, and garbage men. Some of these people expect tips and some don’t, but during the holidays especially, you can put a smile on their faces by giving them a big tip to show your appreciation. There’s nothing better for people in the service industry than to get a big fat tip.

3. Give Away Your Christmas Decorations
After the holidays, give away your Christmas decorations to your neighbors and other young couples that don’t have much. After all, if you’ve been married for more than a few years, you start realizing how quickly you accumulate Christmas decorations. Decorations are expensive, and you could bless other families by giving yours away and starting fresh the following year.

4. Take a Homeless Person To Lunch
The majority of homeless people I’ve come across are either mentally ill or just had a tough break in life and don’t know how to turn things around. However, interacting with homeless people can be a wildcard at times, not knowing if they’re going to try and hurt you or be cool. Be sure to take precautions if you do choose to try this tip out. The idea is to get together with a few other people, find a homeless man (or woman), take him out to lunch around the holidays, give him a gift card to a hotel to use for a night’s stay, and buy him a new outfit. You’d be surprised at how receptive they’ll be. They’re not all just looking for booze money.

Seriously, try giving if you haven’t already. If nothing else, it’s pretty fun, and the more creative you get with it, the more memorable it becomes. Also, the more you give back, the more blessings you end up receiving because your eyes are opened to all of the good things you have in your life.

How are you giving this holiday season?

(photo credit: Shutterstock)

Erik Folgate
Erik and his wife, Lindzee, live in Orlando, Florida with a baby boy on the way. Erik works as an account manager for a marketing company, and considers counseling friends, family and the readers of Money Crashers his personal ministry to others. Erik became passionate about personal finance and helping others make wise financial decisions after racking up over $20k in credit card and student loan debt within the first two years of college.

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