‘Tis the season for giving back. My favourite ways to do some good this holiday season.

There’s a lot of reason to love the holidays, but helping out my community and creating a season of giving back is one of the most important for me.

I know most of us get to spend quality time with our loved ones, exchanging gifts and sharing fantastic meals together, but it can be a difficult time for some people. Whether they’re dealing with loss, family conflicts or financial stress, the season can be challenging, so what better time to focus on gratitude and giving.   

This time of year is a great way to give back, and I have a few ways I like to contribute. Whether you would like to volunteer your time, make a donation, or support a charity you love, there are so many ways you can do some good this holiday season. 

Increase your tips 

The holiday season is absolute chaos for those who work in the service industry, so why not increase your tip percentages next time when you’re out for a meal as a way of thanks? Go one step further and leave a small “Season Greetings!” message on the bill – we promise you your server will be thrilled by the gesture.  

The season of giving doesn’t have to be relegated to just restaurants either: Tip your mailman, hairdresser, gym trainer or your dog walker. It can apply to anyone who has made a positive impact on your life this past year.  

Volunteer at your local animal shelter 

This is very near and dear to my heart, and it’s one people don’t tend to think of when theyre trying to consider charitable acts over the holidays. Animals are just as hungry for love and affection as  we are. It’s even worse when theyre in a shelter and don’t have as much human contact.  

 I’m such an animal lover, as is my family, so I would bring the whole group together to help at our local shelter. Often dogs need to be walked and socialized, which is a great opportunity to go for a long walk. Plus, most shelters will also except small gifts and toys for the animals too, so feel free to come with a few special presents for the animals as well. It’s an incredibly rewarding experience!  

Holding puppy

Donate to the Salvation Army of Canada 

This is an invaluable organization that gives hope and support to vulnerable people in 400 communities across Canada and in 131 countries. They have a variety of ways you can give back to your community, whether you make a one-time online donation or decide to make monthly contributions.  

This time of year I love their Toy Mountain initiative where you can make holiday dreams come true for less fortunate children in your community by donating a new, unwrapped toy, teen gift or cash donation. Just the thought of a child having a wonderful toy to open up Christmas morning gives me so much joy. Visit www.salvationarmy.ca for more information. 

Serve up a season of giving 

I’ve brought my kids along to serve up meals to people who are hungry. It’s really such a simple gesture, but it has the biggest impact. Many shelters and soup kitchens serve special holiday meals this time of year – usually to hundreds of people. Take a few hours out of your day to volunteer your time. You can wash dishes; help serve food or welcome people at the door.  

Buy extra at the grocery store 

Most grocery stores now have the option to donate non-perishables right at the check-out counter, so add a few cans of soup, jars of peanut butter or canned tuna into your cart. And while food donations usually top the list for shelters, there is actually a number of items they need that aren’t edible by nature. Toiletries like soap, shampoos, toothpaste, feminine hygiene products and toilet paper are very much needed and will be very much appreciated, too.  

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