With Thanksgiving only a few days away, that means that the holiday season is here. The countdown for cooking, shopping and holiday planning is on.
The department stores are already decorated for Christmas. The exciting holiday events and family gatherings seem to come and go so quickly for most of us, but for others it is a very lonely time.
Many people are blessed with family and friends and have lots of events to participate in and enjoy together. I am encouraging everyone to think past themselves and bring joy and happiness to others by doing something thoughtful for someone less fortunate.
Kindness is the language that speaks to all.
President and Founder
It is always better to give than receive.
For many people the holidays are very lonely. This holiday, give a gift of your time or open your heart to the less fortunate. That is better than any gift you could buy.
We are so rushed during this time of year and it is easy to get carried away with everything besides the true spirit of the season. Shopping and parties seem to dominate the holidays, which often leaves little time to think about the less fortunate.
Take the challenge this season and find one way that you can give back. If you are looking for ideas, below we have listed places, organizations and ways to get involved.
Invite Someone Over
Extend an invitation to your holiday meal. Anyone from a co-worker without family or a neighbor who can't travel, they would most likely be delighted to join you.
Soup kitchens and shelters always need extra hands. Call churches, local shelters and soup kitchens to see where help is needed.
Visit a Retirement Home
Retirement homes are likely to have at least some residents who won't be able to see their families. Others may have no families. Older people are more prone to social isolation and loneliness. This would be an excellent time to plan a visit.
Volunteer at a Hospital
If celebrating Christmas is not your holiday, volunteer at a hospital so that those who do celebrate Christmas will have time off. Hospitals are always open and never get a break. Call your local hospital to find out if it will accept volunteers for Thanksgiving and Christmas. The hospitals will always be happy to assign a job to you that will help out.
Donate to a Food Bank
If you would like to donate to a food bank, find one that is local to you and get a list of the items they need. Food pantries also supply non-edible items such as toothbrushes and diapers. There is always a desperate need for these items.
Support Our Troops and their Families
Search for organizations that are looking for volunteers to help military families. If a family member is deployed, that creates sadness and stress for the entire family.
If you are unable to get away and donate your time, you can do your part and donate online. Visit www.feedingamerica.org. and see where your donation is needed.
Support Your Local Animal Shelter
As an etiquette consulting company, we spend a lot of time encouraging people to be kind and attentive to others around us. But when we extend this courtesy to more than just the people around us, and include animals, and Mother Earth, we create an entirely new (and larger) level of respect.
Around 8 million animals find their way to a shelter each year. Find out how you can volunteer at your local animal shelter. PetFinder.com is a great resource if you want to learn how to volunteer with - or donate to - animal shelters. It even offers information on how to foster needy animals.
This holiday season, instead of making it all about the events, food and shopping - make it about others who are less fortunate. Seek out people and places that need assistance. www. VolunteerMatch.org is a great resource if you're looking to give back, but not sure where to start. You can search by city and causes that interest you and your family.
For all of you who are parents of small children, teens and adults there is an old saying, "The apple never falls far from the tree." When you as a parent, set an example of kindness and thoughtfulness to others, hopefully your children will do the same because our actions speaks so much louder than our words.