It's that time of year again! We're coming up quick on two of the biggest holidays of the year. Thanksgiving and Christmas. That means food and presents, everyone's two favorite things!
Right about this time of year, I start seeing a lot of people encouraging others to volunteer and help others during the holiday season. I've already seen my fair share of them in the past few weeks. I absolutely love that people are trying to encourage others to be kind. I'm not so fond of people throwing 'during the holiday season' at the end. Volunteers are needed every single day, not just during November and December. Donation are needed every day. Kind act are appreciated every day.
There are so many ways you can volunteer or help others during the non-holiday part of the year.
Do you have an elderly or disabled neighbor? Offer to help them with grocery shopping, cleaning up after their pets, or cleaning their home. Invite them over for dinner, or dessert.
Do you have a neighbor with small children? Offer to babysit (preferably unpaid if you are not in need of money), or to watch a movie with the kids to give their mom a break. As a single mom, I would probably cry tears of joy if one of my neighbors offered to take my daughter for a walk so I could pee by myself.
Do you love animals? Look into volunteering one day a week at your local animal shelter. I volunteer with mine, and it has been an extremely rewarding experience so far. If you don't have a few hours a week, look into fostering a dog or cat for a shelter until they find a home. Fostering animals literally saves lives, as well as socializes animals and makes them better pets. If you get attached, don't be afraid to adopt!
Do you have extra money? There are so many charities, animal shelters, and research funds that you could donate to. You could also 'pay it forward' and pay for the person behind you in the drivethru. Food pantries are happy to accept donations of canned goods, or send a care package for a soldier overseas. This is a great option for someone with a little extra cash but not a whole lot of extra time.
Me bottle-feeding one of my foster kittens, my favorite way to make a difference.
You could offer to bring in a neighbor's mail while they are on vacation, let someone cut in line at the grocery store, or make a gift for a friend. One of my favorite ways to be kind and help others is to forgive strangers who are rude to me, instead of being rude back. Smile at people you don't know, say 'please' and 'thank you', hold doors open, tell others to have a good day. Being kind and helpful doesn't have to be expensive or time consuming, and it certainly doesn't have to stop when the holidays are over.
Since I started volunteering, helping my neighbors, being kind and fostering kittens, my life has become a little brighter. It makes me so happy, I can't even put it into words. Not only does it make me happy, but it makes others happy as well. Every kind act, every minute of volunteering, every penny you donate makes a difference in this world. Don't limit yourself to only spreading happiness right before Christmas.
Do you volunteer or otherwise help others? What is your favorite kind act you've been on the receiving end of? Tell me in the comments below!