1. VOLUNTEER – Is it something you think about, but rarely get around to doing? Many organizations need special help over the holidays – from soup kitchens and domestic violence hotlines to senior citizen homes & children’s hospitals. Find out what’s available in your own community. You can do it alone or recruit friends & family to share the experience.
2. DONATE – The holidays are a great time to purge your home & clean out your closets, drawers & kitchen cabinets. What do you own but never use? Bring these items to a local shelter, Goodwill or Salvation Army, particularly winter clothes & coats. And if you happen to have a box of old presents that you were planning to re-gift, consider giving them to someone who really needs them.
3. THE GIFT OF GIVING – Instead of buying yet another gift that a friend or family member doesn’t really need, make a donation in his or her name to a favorite charity or cause.
4. SHOP WITH A PURPOSE – Take a moment & give some thought to where & how you shop. Patronize stores and retail websites that sell handmade gifts, support small businesses & women entrepreneurs or donate a portion of their profits to charities. You’ll be helping other people while supporting businesses that do the right thing.
5. FEED THE HUNGRY – Donate canned goods to your local food banks and pantries. And if you’re organizing or attending office parties or holiday gatherings, anticipate whether you might have leftovers. If so, arrange ahead of time to deliver the excess food to local shelters.
6. MAKE A CHILD SMILE – Buy, collect & deliver toys to local charities or firehouses. There are collections every holiday season in every city & town.
7. CHANGE A LIFE - Join The Women’s Conference “Team Maria” & make a loan to support a women entrepreneur.
8. CREATE YOUR OWN GIFTS - The most thoughtful & cherished gifts can be those that you make yourself. Even if you’re not an artist, you can buy a frame & fill it with a montage of family photos or create a scrapbook of mementos.
9. GREEN YOUR HOLIDAY – Reduce, reuse and recycle, and discover new ways to become more environmentally responsible in your gift giving, entertaining, dining, travel, recreation & decorating.
10. REACH BEYOND THE HOLIDAY SEASON – Commit to giving back in the New Year. Make it more than a resolution. Make it a reality. WWW.WOMENSCONFERENCE.ORG will be bringing you tips & tools on how to be an architect of change and pass it on throughout 2010. Be sure to check in daily for our latest blogs, features, interviews and videos.
Do you know additional ways to give back over the holidays & beyond? Share them with us in the comments!