Tis the Season of Giving Back to Blog

If you’re like me, you’re well on your way to being in the middle of full-on hectic holiday time. There are cookies to bake. School parties to attend. Too many presents to wrap.  Family dinners. Shopping.  Full parking lots. Angry horns.

Happy holiday sounds. 😉

I love the holidays, no matter how frantic and wild they can become.  Because under that frantic wildness, well, it’s a time to sit back and enjoy the life that we have.  And no matter what my five year old may think, it’s not just about getting presents at this time of  the year.

It’s about giving. About helping people.  Yes…it’s time for my annual giving post. The post that lists easy ways for you to give and help out others. The post that asks you to share some of your favorite ways to give, too.

(And a big thank you to the folks on Twitter and Facebook who shared their giving ways with me before Thanksgiving!!)

So let’s start the list…

ONE WARM COAT–Do you have a coat in the back of your closet that you aren’t using anymore? Has your child gotten too big for his coat and you’re buying him/her a new one? Then donate that old coat to OneWarmCoat.org.  This is the way that One Warm Coat works (taken directly from their website):

  • Donors clean out their closets and give their coats.
  • Volunteer leaders organize coat drives and collect coats in their home towns.
  • Social service agency volunteers and staff distribute the coats to those in need.
  • Sponsors help us get the word out in cities across the country.

If you’d like to donate a coat, visit their donor page.  On that page, you type in your zip code, and you can see a listing of the places that are donation sites in your area.  McDonald’s is collecting the coats in my area.

THE SALVATION ARMY–I’ve been a fan of the Salvation Army Angel Tree program for years. I’ve volunteered locally and seen for myself the difference that this program can make.  You can “adopt” a child in your area for the holidays.  The child’s holiday wishes (ex. Legos, a bike, or a Barbie doll) are listed on a form for you.  You buy the presents and they are given to the family so that child will have a present to open at Christmas.

You can also donate used clothes, household items, books, etc., to your local Salvation Army.  These items are always needed and–you can even get a tax deduction for them. Come on, that’s win, win.

WOMEN’S SHELTERS–On Twitter, several people told me that they like to donate directly to their local shelter for abused women and children.  They donate new or gently used clothing, toiletries (shampoo, soap, toothbrush), and toys for the children.  You can contact your local shelter to learn more about donation information.   This is a great way to help people directly in your community–people who are in need of some kindness after a very difficult time.

A FAMILY IN NEED–Some other very helpful folks on Twitter told me that, during the holidays, they go straight to those in need. Instead of donating to an agency, they find a needy family to help in their areas.  Some people talk to school counselors to see if there are children who need a little extra help at this time of the year. Some people find out from neighbors and try to help those who are having a hard time.  One person told me that she anonymously leaves the presents on the doorstep of a family that she knows is struggling.  And another told me that she bakes a pie each year for an elderly neighbor who doesn’t have any family to visit during the holidays.  There are lots of things you can do–big and small, to help out.

SMILE TRAIN–This is another organization that was listed during my Twitter Chat on giving.  This is the information in the banner on the Smile Train site:


Give a child back their future with surgery that costs as little as $250

The surgery and the changes that the surgery can make to a child’s life are truly amazing.

HOMELESS SHELTER–Do you have a few extra canned goods? Then donate them to your local homeless shelter. Clear up some cabinet space and give someone a warm dinner at the same time.

SHELTER PETS–Love animals?  Then help them from the comfort of your own home. Visit The Animal Rescue Site and just click their link to feed shelter pets.  By clicking their link, you will provide, “the value of  .6 bowls of food for rescued animals.”


And I know there are hundreds (thousands!) of other ways to give.  Please share your favorite ways to give with me. And have a happy holiday season!!

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10 responses to “Tis the Season of Giving”

  1. Diane Sadler says:

    I usually take all our clothes and furniture to the SA. about twice a year. Blankets sheets and towels go to the vet who takes such good care of our cat.

  2. Edie Ramer says:

    Another place to give clothes is a local women’s shelter. I’ve given mine to one. Because I’m small, they were extra happy to have my donation. Apparently they don’t get a lot of clothes in the smaller sizes. (That might be different in your area.) I think most women’s shelters accept children’s clothes, too.

  3. Rachel says:

    I like to get my kids together before christmas & go through their old toys. we donate the good toys to Havest House. They take childrens items & coats. I also make cookies for gifts for all the guys at my husbands work. They are single & don’t have alot of homemade treats. They seem to enjoy it. Last year my father had heart surgery in Oct & he has been cold ever since then. I donated 10 gift bags with blankets, note pads & pens to the hospital. I have been more Thankful since his surgery & I appreciate all I have alot more. Happy holidays.–Rachel

  4. Barb P says:

    Hi Cynthia! We don’t always have money or anything to give, but we try to do the Toys for Tots program and we also do the Macy’s letters to Santa. When you create a letter on their website, and put it into the mailbox at the Macy’s store, they donate a dollar to the Make A Wish Foundation. It does not always cost, in order to make a difference.

    • Cynthia Eden says:

      Barb, you are so right–if you can do something that doesn’t cost you, why not do it? I didn’t know about the Macy’s letter–than you so much for sharing it!

  5. Viki S. says:

    I always give to the local animal shelter and I drop money in the Salvation Army kettles every time I pass one. I also send support to an organization that helps women in developing countries sell handmade goods to support themselves and their families.