Every year around this time, we start to get bombarded with emails and TV commercials about the newest toys and the best deals on the latest electronics. The holiday season revolves around gifts, both giving and receiving. While it’s a fun way to show your appreciation to those you care about, there is a lot that gets lost. There are millions of people in need who won’t receive any gifts. This year, start a new holiday tradition with your family and give back to someone who needs it.


Donate to a toy drive

Donating to a toy drive during the holiday season gives you the direct opportunity to put a smile on a child’s face. The children who benefit from toy drives are children who often would not receive any presents otherwise. While material items aren’t everything, it helps a child to feel as though they fit in with the rest of their peers.


Volunteer at a soup kitchen

50 million Americans don’t know where their next meal is coming from. Around the holidays, which largely center on food, that can feel even grimmer. Soup kitchens feed thousands of people and are mainly volunteer based. Set aside some time this year to visit one in your community and serve a meal to those in need. If you have a family, bring everyone along. It serves as both a great bonding event and also a reminder to be grateful for how fortunate you are.


Walk or run in a charitable race

Not only is exercise good for your health, but your exercise can also benefit the health of many others. Around the holiday season, many races, marathons and walks benefit different charities. By signing up to participate and helping to raise money, you’re directly benefiting the supported cause.


Foster an animal

Just as there are millions of homeless Americans, there are millions of homeless animals too. This year, take one in, even only temporarily. Many workers and volunteers spend less time at animal shelters around the holidays to be with their families, which means animals receive less care and attention. Fostering an animal helps to reduce overcrowding in shelters, which means they can take in other animals. It also helps them to become familiar with living in a home with other people, which they may never have before. Even if you don’t adopt the animal, you still helped to make a difference in the animal’s life.