During the holiday season it’s easy to lose sight of what the holidays should really mean between all the shopping and parties and presents. Below find five ways to give back this holiday season, and in return, get back to what the holiday’s are really all about: family, love, kindness, and charity.
1. Play Santa: For most children, the holidays mean a visit from their favorite toy-toting big man, Santa Claus. But for some, Christmas morning ends up a disappointment. One organization that I support, especially this time of year, is the NYC Mission Society, which focuses on helping underserved children, youth, and families. Another great program that benefits children is Toys for Tots, which raises money to provide underprivileged children with toys, books, and other gifts.
2. Be Personal: Instead of tirelessly playing with a photo perfect layout of you and your family for your holiday card, make it more personal. While writing your cards, think about who means the most to you--not the distant second-cousin you haven’t seen in five years. Send each holiday card with a short message telling the receiver why they mean so much to you. They’ll get an update on your family, as well as a meaningful note of thanks. Nothing says the holidays quite like gratitude.
3. Ask for Charity: No, I don’t mean ask for charity for yourself. I mean, instead of asking for presents, ask for people to donate to a charity in your name this holiday. Find some causes you are passionate about, and feel good that this year, you know they are getting the help they deserve. This is an especially great idea for those who are planning big trips around the holidays, since you are already spending so much money on a vacation, it makes to sense to give back in other ways.
4. Donate Your Old Coats: Imagine bearing a full winter without a proper coat. It would be, well, almost unbearable. Unfortunately, that’s what many people go through every winter. Each year, my company, TRUE Model Management, throws a Winter Warm Up party and asks everyone attending to bring a coat to donate. Last year, we were able to bring in more than 100 coats for those in need. Around the holidays most churches and schools will also be hosting coat drives where you can donate your old coats. If you’re in New York, like me, you can donate at any of the places New York Cares is running a coat drive.
5. Exercise your Holiday Spirit: And work off those delicious cookies, too. Around the holidays, Santa Run’s, Holiday 5k and Half-Marathons are held to raise money for good causes. Running USA has a list of all the December races being hosted in various locations around the country, so you can find a race near you.