Give Back this Holiday Season

gift giving on a budget, photo of hands holding a heart, harris school of businessGifts from the heart

Are you a student on a tight budget? If so, you might be wondering how you’re going to manage gift-giving this year. However, sometimes the best types of gifts aren’t material goods. You can give back to others, including family, friends, and those in need, without a price.

Since the holiday season is one of giving and peace, think about these five suggestions to give back to others below. These ideas may help put you in the giving spirit. See how many people you can get to participate with you this year. The more people you can get to participate with you, the more chances you’ll have of spreading joy and seasonal cheer!

1. Organize or donate to a food drive, toy drive, or coat drive

Small donations can add up for those in need. If you and your friends donate one or two small gifts, you can build a substantial collection of donations for families in need. Try to organize a food drive or toy drive at your work or school.  If there is already one in place, why not donate an item? It doesn’t have to be big. Pay it forward with a can of green beans, pair of gloves, or a coat. These gifts will be appreciated by the recipients.

2. Send a letter to the troops

Some people don’t get to see their family or loved ones for the holidays. Consider the service men and women who serve in the military and are stationed at bases away from home. Write the troops letters of gratitude during the winter. You can find guidelines for writing letters on Operation Gratitude. The site also allows you to coordinate sending letters and care packages to the troops overseas.

3. Volunteer at a nursing home

Many nursing home residents have difficult holidays because their families aren’t nearby. Contact a local nursing home and see how you can volunteer. Think about organizing a group of classmates or friends to sing holiday carols, play word games or share stories with the residents. You could even bring gifts like cookies or other holiday goodies. The residents will be grateful for your time.

4. Donate blood

Blood donations are needed year-round and especially at the holidays. During this time of year, many blood banks run low. Your donation could mean a lot to somebody in need! You can visit the Red Cross’s website or take advantage of their app. It is easy to sign up to give blood and there may be a donation location close to you!

5. Volunteer at a soup kitchen

More volunteers are often needed in soup kitchens or food banks during the holiday season to help serve meals or organize holiday food donations. Call and find a time when they are most in need of extra help. Bring a friend so you can share the experience together.

6. Give back with a rescue gift

If you do have some money to spend, then why not donate it? Have you ever heard of rescue gifts? On the International Rescue Committee’s website you can make donations to families struggling through some of the worst humanitarian crises in the world. You can make donations of any amount or purchase small packages. You could help rescue lives from your living room by donating to worldwide catastrophes. Feel good knowing you are helping support the efforts to save lives.

Giving back doesn’t have to be expensive. Gifts don’t even have to be monetary, but they can always be meaningful. Giving your time and thoughts to those who are less fortunate is an honorable endeavor and it embodies the true meaning of the holiday spirit. Happy holidays from the Harris School of Business!

The Harris School of Business features student tips, advice, and health and wellness information in its weekly blog. For more information about how you can enter a profession where you give back to the community, contact us about our healthcare training programs today.