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Put Others First for a Happy Holiday

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The holidays are a wonderful time to get in touch with your past and present by celebrating with family and friends. Much of the time we accomplish this by sharing good food and good times. We create beautiful memories that we cherish for years to come.

However, it's also a time of year that presents a very specific opportunity to us; the chance to give back. There are so many ways to give back this time of year. You can go big and get involved in events that support the community or you can go simple and visit someone who is alone this holiday season.

Giving back is not only a good thing to do, it can also be a lot of fun. If you are looking at something in the community, search out opportunities. There are lots of food drives that are operated by schools, churches and local grocery stores. There are also several toy drives such as Toys for Tots and Operations Christmas Child, to name a few.

If you really want to be hands on there are several shelters that are always seeking extra volunteers during the holidays. I can remember when I helped out at our local soup kitchen. It was such a blessing to meet such wonderful people and to be able to help them. I realized there was a lot more to volunteering than just serving meals. I was honored with the chance to have a simple conversation with many of the people that I met. I remember leaving there and feeling so good and inspired. It was better than any gift that I could have been given..

When selecting a place to volunteer at there are several sources you can utilize. The newspaper often has listings in the community section. Many churches also offer opportunities that they post in their weekly bulletins or on their website. The same goes for many nonprofit organizations. If you're still unsure of where to direct your efforts, there are also several fantastic websites that pair volunteers with their interest.

Another way you can give back is to get involved with participating in a local fundraising event like a walk for cancer or a run for the local children's hospital. These are fun events and the monies raised go a long way to provide for important work. There are also campaigns that you can support that may give a percentage of items that you purchase directly to a specific cause. For example, I give a portion of all the revenue generated from my company's product sales to cancer research. It's something I hold close to my heart and I know several of our customers do as well.

The gift of giving is such an important thing for those that have challenges or are suffering. This is true even if you have to add volunteering to your already hectic schedule. I realize we are all busy this time of year, but trust me, along with making a difference for others, the gift of giving is the best present you could ever give yourself. Have a wonderful holiday! See you at the local toy drive!