With all of the hustle and bustle of the holidays, we can find ourselves getting so wrapped up (no pun intended lol!) in our Christmas shopping, running around frantically with our nose to paper pulling items off shelves in order to cross another name off of our list, that we start to forget about the true meaning of Christmas. There is always so much going on, our stress levels begin to rise (or atleast mine do), we end up throwing the importance of Christmas out the window and follow the lead of everyone else …
I want to start this holiday season off on a high note and remind all of you that it doesn’t need to be like that. It is SO easy to help people that are less fortunate and give back to your community … and I promise it will feel so much better than watching a loved one un wrap another present that they probably didn’t “need”. It doesn’t need to be about how many gifts are under the tree and how much money you’ve spent on someone … it’s about spending quality time with loved ones, slowing life down for thos few days, unplugging, catching snowflakes on your tongue, laughing till your belly hurts, cozying up fireside and spreading love and cheer to others that need it the most!!
This time of year is the perfect opportunity to give back and I can assure you there’s nothing that will warm your heart and soul more than being able to help those who are in need, to ensure they too have food on their plates, that they have the daily necessities we tend to take for granted, and a smile on their face.
Last year instead of exchanging gifts my family and I sponsored two large families through the Kelowna Food Bank, needless to say, it was a tear-jerking (happy tears, of course!) and humbling experience for all of us! We loved it so much, we’ve decided to do it all over again and have turned it into a little family tradition. There’s really nothing like meeting the family personally, having the opportunity of handing the items over to them and seeing first hand, the sincere appreciation, and joy in their eyes. All of the warm fuzzy feelings here!!
This year I also jumped on the opportunity to take part in Operation Christmas Child!!! If you haven’t already heard of this amazing cause, you have to check it out!!! I spent a day shopping for goodies to fill a few shoeboxes, ranging from hygienic products, school supplies, and some fun items for the children such as necklaces and friendship bracelets!!
Once they were all filled and ready to go, we dropped them off at their dedicated collection site and soon they will be on route to sweet children who reside in the destinations outlined below!!
If you’re looking for a new way to celebrate the holidays this year or if you would like to start a new tradition with your friends and family, I’ve listed a few ideas for you below to get the wheels turning:
1) Sponsor a family through your local Food Bank: Try replacing gifts this year and get together with your loved ones to support one or two local families in need. This is a fantastic experience for the WHOLE family!
2) Take part in Operation Christmas Child: Gather a group of friends and turn it into a fun evening! Go shopping during the day for items to fill the boxes with, then at night have a wrapping party with a little holiday music and mulled wine!!!
3) Purchase a gift for someone in need in someone else’s name: Or, in other words, “Give the gift of giving!” For example, you could purchase a bike for a less fortunate child, type up a certificate and put it under the tree for someone with a message saying something along the lines of “Merry Christmas, this year I purchased a bike for an underprivileged child in your name!” … I mean how cool is that?!? Even better if they choose to pay it forward…then the gift keeps on giving!!
4) Donate to a charity: Any little bit helps, choose one of your favourite charities to donate to this holiday season or see my list below of charities (in no particular order) that are near and dear to my heart for some suggestions!
- Covenant House
- BC Women’s Hospital – Neonatal Intensive Care Unit
- BC Children’s Hospital
- WWF Canada
- Canadian Red Cross
5) Gifts that give back: If you do decide to purchase gifts this year, why not choose gifts that give back?!?! There are so many amazing companies out there that are dedicated to giving back to their communities and helping to make an impact on those in need. Stay tuned for this year’s Gifts That Give Back gift guide filled with amazing companies to choose from!! You can also look back and refer to last years suggestions as well if you’d like to get a head start!
I would LOVE to know what some of your favourite ways to give back during the holidays are, please share with me in the comments below!!
Jillian, I’m not a regular reader – your post just came up on my Twitter feed via another writer – but I am thrilled to see a personality like yourself advocating for fewer gifts and more giving at this time of year. My family stopped doing traditional gifts 10+ years ago and now my siblings and my mom and I find a cause to support each year. Most years it’s similar to #1 on your list – we are matched with a family and buy gifts for the kids and mom and do a big grocery shop to fill their fridge and pantry. It’s a Christmas highlight for all of us and leaves us free to enjoy each other’s company on Christmas day rather than stress over gifts. Thank you for spreading the word about better ways to celebrate the holiday season!
Hi Rachel!! Thank you so much for taking the time to pop on over and check out my blog!! It warms my heart that you do this every year, that is SO incredible, you and your family should be so proud!!!! Thank you so much for sharing your story with me! I hope to see you pop back on the blog in the future!! Happy Holidays to you and your beautiful family!! XOXO
Hi Jillian, I absolutely love the watch in the first photo where you’re using the scissors (the gold watch with the large white face). What brand of watch is it? Thank you Jillian!
Great to read! This will help a lot to me, to give back to your community or to those people who are in need. Not only on holidays but at the time of the weekend also you can engage with charity work for helping people in need. Volunteering in charity is also an another way to help people in need. Volunteering gives you an amazing opportunity to learn something new and to work for humanity and to understand humanity. You can learn different culture and tradition through volunteering. I got to know about volunteering abroad program from my colleague who suggested me this site http://www.mission-humanitaire-afrique.org/tourisme-solidaire-voyage-humanitaire/ to try something new this year.