Easy Ways to Give Back During the Holidays

Is it just me or have the holidays become a commercialized MESS? Shopping on Thanksgiving when you are supposed to be arguing over politics with family (I know that isn’t just me!), dragging kids out to the stores on Black Friday to save $50 on a mediocre television…the spirit of the holidays has become lost. But here’s the thing..there are tons of ways to teach your kids to give back to their community and really personify the spirit of the season. Here are some easy ways to give back during the holidays:

This post is sponsored by Big Blue Swim School. All opinions are my own.

Photo by Kristen Lisa Photography

Go on a walk and pick up all the litter you see.


Visit your favorite local shop for your holiday shopping. Because honestly…the locals love you more than those big box shops do.


Spend time with people–without your phone, without any agenda. Just be present and celebrate your relationship.


Instead of reselling your baby gear, donate it to a local non profit organization.


Shovel a neighbor’s sidewalk or driveway…don’t forget the salt!


Donate non perishable items to your local food pantry. Remember to include some special treats that your family loves to enjoy during the holidays, too (I’m talking about Gingerbread cookies and hot cocoa mix!).

Photo by Kristen Lisa Photography


Perform random acts of kindness, like paying for someone’s meal when you are in the drive thru lane, sending snail mail of gratitude, or dropping off delicious cookies with a friend.


Drowning in arts and crafts? Share them with the elderly in your community, whether it is a grandparent, neighbor, or residents at a nearby nursing home.


Adopt a family during the holidays and fulfill their “Dear Santa” list.


Know someone who is hurting during the holidays? Reach out to them with an invite to dinner, an offer to babysit, or just drop off a Starbucks gift card to let them know that they are in your heart this holiday season.

And if you are in Chicagoland, Big Blue Swim School makes giving back to your community throughout the year so incredibly easy through their “donate a swim lesson” program. Big Blue has partnered up with the Union League Boys and Girls Club so that you can provide high quality swim instruction not just for your child, but also for other children who need to learn how to swim. With your help, all children in Chicagoland will be equipped with the life saving skill…and who knows, you might be helping to shape a future Olympian!


How does your family give back this holiday season?

Happy Holidays!
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  1. Akhil Sharma says

    Yes, holidays and all the other festive occasions are merely a commercialized mess. We don’t realize the beauty of holiday season. In order to be happy, we need to make things happy for us; and donations is the best way to make your soul satisfied. Thank you for inspiring and showing a positive path.

  2. Jenn says

    Giving back to our community has always been important to us as a family. I tend to seek out new ways and ideas as often as I can. I also try to spend my money with businesses that do the same giving. It helps teach out kids what is important.

  3. Jared Burkholder says

    This is a great way to remind the kids (and me) that Christmas isn’t about what you can get but what you can give. I appreciate the reminder and the ideas for kick starting our own community involvement.

    • Amanda says

      It is all about giving, especially now that my kids are old enough to realize the importance of helping our community and not just thinking of ourselves.

  4. Stephanie Caruso says

    I love this simple, everyday list of what you can do. It doesn’t need to be some big, planned thing to teach kids to do for others – and their community. We regularly donate to the food bank locally – but I love the idea you gave me for donating items to a local nursing home. I’m sure they have a long list of needs that can benefit those that live there.

    • Amanda says

      Visiting the elderly is such an easy and impactful thing to do…I know that my Nana just lights up every time she sees my little boys, and they just love to see her, too!

  5. Kristy @ Mommy Hates Cooking says

    I love this! I wish that we would focus more on giving and the spirit of the season instead of running around to all the stores spending money and filling our homes with stuff. This was the first year that I had heard of Giving Tuesday, but I hope that it becomes more of a “thing”!

    • Amanda says

      Giving Tuesday has been “a thing” for a while…hopefully it spreads even more so it is as commonplace as “Black Friday!”

  6. Bites for Foodies says

    I love posts that remind others how to be grateful and altruistic during the holidays! My husband and I took the kids shopping last weekend to buy toys for the local Fire Station’s toy drive. It was a great experience!

  7. Tee says

    This list couldn’t have come at a better time as I’m trying to brainstorm ways to give back this holiday season. I love the idea of donating a swim lesson (cool that they do that at the Big Blue Swim School). Thanks for sharing these!

  8. Valerie says

    I do volunteer work all of the time. I love when others do it too. Many hands make light work. I love the idea of the donated swim lesson too. It’s very cool.

  9. Shana says

    I too like to give my time and volunteer where it’s needed. If feels so much better than spending money. I try to involve as many as my friends as well.

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