Christmas is often referred to as the season of giving. But oftentimes, it’s so easy to get swept up in the chaos of the season and all that needs to be done that we miss out on the real meaning of the holidays, and fail to encourage those around us or help those who are hurting.
It’s important that we gather together with loved ones and enjoy giving gifts and reflecting upon our blessings. But it’s just as important that we prioritize intentionally serving others. With our already hectic schedules, how can we give back to others this season?
1. Start with your sphere of influence.
It may seem trite, but oftentimes, starting with those closest to you is the best way to make a difference. Take a step back and think about those you interact with on a daily or weekly basis. Your coworkers, your friends, your family and even people you see at the grocery store may need some extra kindness this time of year.
Start by making a point to reach out and check in on those around you. Ask how you can best support them during this busy time, and offer your heartfelt thanks for their impact in your life, either professionally or personally. Make a point to be kind and uplifting to customer service workers and restaurant staff, and be intentional about encouraging them verbally or financially. Starting with those in your sphere of influence is a great way to make a difference in someone’s life.
2. Give financially.
When it comes to giving back, many people immediately think of giving financial gifts to charities or other organizations. If this is something you are able to do, set aside some funds to give to a local charity or ministry in your community. You can also be intentional about blessing others as you see the opportunity.
Maybe someone close to you can’t afford to buy gifts for their children this year, or a local food bank may be short on donations. Set aside some money that you can use to spontaneously bless others, like by paying for a stranger’s groceries, leaving a generous tip for a server or even buying someone’s dinner at a restaurant. Take time to look around you and see where you can help financially — it can make all the difference!
3. Volunteer by yourself or with a group.
If you are unable to give financially, consider giving of your time instead. Look into local shelters or soup kitchens in your area — many charitable organizations are overwhelmed around the holidays and would greatly appreciate the extra help. Many local churches also do special outreaches around the holidays, so they may be a great start to help you get involved.
Volunteer by yourself or get together a group of coworkers, family or friends to go serve and make it an annual tradition. Volunteering together is an impactful way to make a difference in your community and in the lives of those you serve with, as you step out of your comfort zones together and help those in need.
The holidays can be a hectic season, but it can also be a difficult time for many people who have lost loved ones or may be struggling financially. It’s important that you regularly take time to pay attention to those around you and ask how you can support them. Be on the lookout for opportunities to show kindness and care for others — you never know the difference you might make in someone’s life.