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Ways to Give Back During the Holidays

For many of us, the holidays are a time to give gifts to our loved ones, but they’re also a great time to give back! If you're looking for a way to help others and make a positive impact during the holiday season, the following six suggestions can help.

A couch drive box full of coats.
  1. Donate to charity. Donating funds to your favorite charity is a great way to give back. In fact, Charity Navigator reports that in 2017, Americans donated a total of more than $410 billion to charitable organizations. If you've donated to an organization in the past, during this time of year you'll likely receive a fundraising letter explaining what the organization has accomplished with its funds and asking you to donate again. You can also see if your employer offers a matching gift program — a program that matches every dollar you donate to charity so your donation is effectively doubled. In addition, you can ask your loved ones to donate to your favorite charitable organization instead of buying gifts for you. Note that if you make a donation yourself, it may be tax deductible.
  2. Volunteer. Many charitable organizations ranging from food banks to animal shelters welcome extra help from volunteers during the holiday season. So if you have the time, select a local charity you'd like to support and contact them about any volunteer opportunities.
  3. Sponsor a family. Consider sponsoring a family together with a group of friends. This involves either donating funds to help a family defray the costs of groceries, clothing and other essentials, or sending clothing and gifts in the form of care packages. You can find this type of charity with many local religious and charitable organizations.
  4. Donate used winter clothes. Unfortunately, some people simply can't afford to buy new winter clothes. If you have any old sweaters, coats, scarves, hats or gloves that you and your family no longer use, bring them to your local Salvation Army, church or other local drop-off center where they'll be prepared for reuse.
  5. Shop at AmazonSmile. If you're buying holiday decorations, gifts or anything else online, why not shop at AmazonSmile? This program donates 0.5 percent of your purchase amount to the charity of your choice when you shop with Amazon. Simply sign up at and select a charity you want to support — Amazon will do the rest for you.
  6. Teach your kids how to give back. You're never too young to learn how to help others. Talk to your kids about what it means to give back and why it's important; then, decide on a way you can give back together. For example, you can choose a charity to donate to, select a volunteer activity you can do as a family or sort through your old belongings together to determine what you can donate.

Giving back during the holiday season not only allows you to contribute to a cause you care about, but it can also inspire those around you to do the same. And when you think about the difference that you're making, you might even be encouraged to continue giving back throughout the entire year.

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