Ways to Make a Difference This Holiday Season

This holiday season encourages many to bring joy and love to people. Countless people long to make a difference, yet they don't realize that opportunities to make a difference are everywhere. By thinking globally and acting locally, you can make a difference this holiday season in the lives of families across the world, or across the street. Here are some ideas to get you started.

1. Organize a blanket drive.
It is cold outside, but imagine how thousands of homeless people may feel without an insulated home, or even a blanket to keep them from the cold. Organize a blanket drive with your local homeless shelter, and ask around for donations!

2. Operation Christmas Child
Operation Christmas Child is a project that stemmed out of a shoebox... literally! The participant fills a shoebox with toys specified for their age group and gender, and these boxes are sent to children in third world countries so that they can have a promising Christmas. Can't pay for toys? You can also help this project by stuffing the shoeboxes at Operation Christmas Child's warehouse. For more information, check out their website.

3. Practice random acts of kindness.
I'll never forget the time where I went to pay for my Dr. Pepper, but the server resisted, saying my bill was paid by an anonymous guest. It's random acts of kindness like this that restores my faith in humanity. Bless someone by paying for their drink at Starbucks, or complimenting them! If you live somewhere where it snows, shovel your neighbor's snow out of their driveway for them! Whether it is as simple as a compliment or as complex as paying the bill, you'll never know how far your impact will reach.

4. Say thank you!
Honestly, saying thank you is one of the most malnourished practices in American society today. Just a simple thank you can make somebody's day, especially if they feel like their work is never noticed. Cultivate a smile on their face by being sincere and grateful for all that they do. Need ideas? Thank your mom, dad, siblings, friends, janitors, teachers, anyone! We all need a thank you sometimes.

5. Use your talents to help the community.
The best way to show your appreciation for people is by using the talents and skills you have to bless others. For me, I love to coordinate events and write, and so my way of reaching out to the community is through writing articles and creating awareness about problems we face today, through events I coordinate. If you bake, make some delicious cookies for people to enjoy! There are tons of recipes to choose from. If you crochet or knit, put your talents to use by making clothes for children in foster care. Any talent can be used to help the community in meaningful ways.

Wishing you a happy, healthy and helpful holiday season,

Julia Schemmer