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It’s Better to Give (Back) Than Receive – 5 Ways to Practice Gratitude and Giving this Holiday Season

December 1st, 2015

We all know it’s better to give than receive, but when you’re about to dive into a pile of Christmas gifts with your name on them, well, it’s hard to get the concept.

Luckily, there are lots of ways to celebrate the spirit of the season and give back to others (and yes, keep those presents, too!). Here are a few suggestions:

  • Look over your shopping list and add a few items for the greater good. For example, make a donation in a friend’s name to the local homeless shelter and let him or her know in a gift card that your present to them is helping others in need.
  • When you’re buying wreaths or poinsettias to decorate your home, buy a few extra and drop them off at an assisted living or nursing home. Elderly residents would surely appreciate the sights and smells of the season in the facility’s lobby or dining room.
  • Does your mom really need another bracelet or dad another tie? Create precious keepsakes by offering to digitize your parents’ or grandparents’ photo albums or home movies to preserve them for future generations. You can do it yourself, or find a local company that can transfer photographs and 35mm film to CDs.
  • We’ve heard the phrase “pay it forward,” but have we ever done it ourselves? Pay the toll for the car behind you, give the cashier an extra $20 to help cover the cost of the next shopper’s groceries, share a magazine with a fellow flier while you’re both waiting at the gate. It doesn’t matter if people don’t ‘look’ needy – if they have the means, they’ll be inspired to do the same!
  • Christmas has come and gone, but wait…did you receive a well-intentioned gift that missed the mark? If you’re planning to return the sweater in the wrong color or that jacket in the wrong size, turn someone’s mistake into an opportunity. Consider donating that sweater or jacket, and if you do need clothes, buy yourself a replacement. You’ll still look good — but feel even better!

It’s a special time of year, so make the effort to make others feel special. It’s not all about you – it’s about all of us, so give of yourself and give back! Happy Holidays!