Snow is falling, festive decorations are hanging... Tis the season to be giving! 

The holiday season is upon us and that means gearing up for holiday cheer, family gatherings, and of course一gift-giving! Nothing is more special than surprising your loved ones with presents you carefully picked out for them.

But, what’s the best gift of all? Giving back to your community!

Here’s a list of 6 unique ways you can give back to your community this holiday season.

1. Organize A Toy Drive

Have gently-used toys you don’t need anymore? Give them a new home through a toy drive! 

Not only can this clear out the clutter in your home, but it can bring a smile to a kid’s face. You can purchase new toys to donate as well—and depending on the age range—you can give books, board games, and more!

Compete with Santa’s elves and get your neighbourhood involved by organizing a community toy drive to spread the holiday cheer. Or just take a moment to find a local drive and drop off a toy!

2. Volunteer At Your Local Food Bank

If you have extra non-perishables or some time to cook up a hot meal, give back by taking some time to connect with your community and volunteer at your local food bank! 

For a lot of people around the world, the holidays are when people share good food and spend time with loved ones. And for some, food security is harder to achieve. Everyone deserves a yummy home-cooked meal, and spending time together is the best way to celebrate the holidays while giving back at the same time.

A great food rescue organization you can support is Second Harvest, whose mission is to save surplus food from ending up in landfills and redirecting it to Canadians who need it.

3. Giving Blood

Did you know that you can save a life for the holidays? While donating your blood might seem like an odd gift, it could impact someone’s life in a big way. 

There’s a high demand for blood all year round, but not enough donors. You can book an appointment with the Canadian Blood Services for patients who need it.

Change up your standard gift-giving routine by donating your blood, plasma, or platelets this holiday season. 

4. Pay It Forward

It’s no secret that inflation is hitting people’s pockets hard this year. If you have the means, there are many ways you can create a little holiday magic:

  • Adopt a family 一 Pay it forward by sponsoring a family for Christmas! You can pay for their Christmas meal, make a holiday care package, or fulfill their gift wish list for the parents and kids. SickKids Foundation has a wonderful Holiday Giving initiative where you can choose from a variety of programs to help families out during the holidays!
  • Pay for someone’s coffee 一 Next time you roll up to the drive-thru, let the cashier know that you’ll be paying for the driver behind you. Nothing is better than some kindness and a free hot drink! Need a feel-good moment? Check out this Pay It Forward line someone started at a McDonald’s drive-thru. 
  • Knit or crochet a scarf 一 Winter can be pretty cold, especially when the snow starts settling in. This means a lot of people are left vulnerable to Jack Frost. If you’re looking for a new project to work on over the holidays, try making a scarf to donate to someone in need!

5. Make An Online Donation

A great way to give back is to simply donate! Our friends at CanadaHelps make donating easy through their online platform. They’re an all-in-one organization that provides a way for charities nationwide to gather donations一and begin fundraisers online. Meaning that you get to choose from 86,000 charities across Canada and support the causes you care about!

No matter how big or small your contribution is, a little goes a long way. You could even donate in your loved one’s name as a gift, instead of a physical present for the holidays.

6. Leave A Legacy

Although estate planning and wills isn’t necessarily the most holly and jolly thing to think about around this time of year, it’s a great time to think about giving back after you pass away. Leave a legacy gift in your will by naming a charity or a non-profit organization一and it only takes a few minutes!

No matter how much wealth you have, anything helps! A contribution is still a contribution, and can leave a legacy beyond the holidays. 

Don’t have a will yet? We can help! Start for free today →

Wrapping Up

The holidays are a winter wonderland for many families, but it’s also a time to think about giving back. Nothing feels better than spreading kindness and sharing the holiday spirit with your community. 

Make someone feel like a special little snowflake by giving back for the holidays! You might even secure a spot on Santa’s Nice List this year.

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