The holiday season is in full swing, and many Michiganders have begun the process of making shopping lists and checking off names. But if commerce is the largest cog in the holiday machine, then philanthropy makes up its core. If you want to help those less fortunate, but don’t have extra money to offer, there are still several other ways to do your part! For inspiration, here are five things you can do to give back during the holidays, without spending a dime.
1. Donate Your Belongings
Everyone has items in their house they no longer use – be it duplicates of tools and décor that collect dust, shoes and clothes that no longer fit or children’s toys that have been outgrown. Rummage through your belongings and donate all the things that are useful/in good shape, but no longer necessary for you to keep. Doing this not only frees up your home of extraneous clutter, but you can also claim your holiday donations as charitable deductions on your taxes!
2. Make Something
If you’re an avid proponent of DIY projects, you can put your creativity to work by knitting hats, scarves or blankets for those in need. If you’re not very skilled in that area, you can put your other talents to work. Organizations like Volunteers of America offer opportunities for great cooks to serve and prepare meals for the homeless. Because you spent the time and effort to create something for the holidays, it shows a greater dedication to the people you’re helping – making the reward that much greater!
3. Volunteer Your Time
During the cold winter months – and especially around the holiday season – food shelters are incredibly busy, and there is always a need for more helping hands. Just a few hours of your time will benefit more people than you’d think, and – should you choose to involve your family – it offers a great opportunity to bond with your loved ones. Check out this directory to find soup kitchens in Michigan, and contact your local organization to see how you can volunteer for the holidays.
4. Write Holiday Cards to Soldiers and Veterans
Show active-duty military and veterans your support during the Christmas season by sending them festive, creative holiday cards. These brave men and women sacrifice so much for our safety, and this thoughtful act lets them know how important they are to the community. If you’re wondering how to start this initiative, check out programs like A Million Thanks, or American Red Cross’ Holidays for Heroes.
5. Go Caroling
Spread holiday cheer this season by getting together a group of friends, family, or even strangers, and going caroling door-to-door in your neighborhood. It takes a certain level of confidence to sing in public, let alone in your own neighborhood, but caroling is one of the wholesome holiday activities. Bringing along a friend or relative who is karaoke star might be a great idea. This activity is a great way to connect with your neighbors and give back for the holidays without spending any money!
What other ways can people give back without spending any money? Share your ideas in the comments below!