By Kylla Benes

While the holidays can sometimes be stressful — the rush to find the right gift, attending a dizzying number of parties, and managing a whole lot of cooking and eating — it can also bring out the best in people. About
31 percent of annual donations are made in the month of December and charities often see an increase in the number of volunteers around the holidays.

Making monetary donations to your favorite cause or helping out at a local soup kitchen are classic ways to give back to your community, but, there are many other ways to give. Here are some ideas to inspire your holiday giving this year:

  • Try a charitable-spin on a holiday tradition by making a “reverse” Advent calendar this year. For each of the 25 days of Advent you and your family select one item to donate to a local homeless shelter, food pantry, or other charity. At the end of Advent, make the trip to drop of the donation a family event so your kids can see the impact of their kindness.


  • Throw a holiday party that requires an entrance donation: have your guests bring food, clothing, toys, or other items for a local charity. Make sure to tell your guests all about the charity you chose, so they know where their donations are going. Toys for Tots and Stuff-A-Bus are example organizations and events that operate during the holidays.


  • Get friends and family together to visit nursing homes or hospitals. Sitting and talking with residents and patients, or providing entertainment with holiday carols, can brighten the day of those who may not be able to go home and be with loved ones this year.


  • You can weave charitable donations into your holiday gift giving by donating money or volunteer hours in another person’s name, buying presents that donates items or a portion of the purchase to a charity, or purchasing items directly for those in need.


Of course, you don’t have to give just during the holiday season. Charities need help year-round so use these tips to inspire you and your family to give back any time of year!