‘Tis the season of giving to others less fortunate.
Although I try my best to give back all year round, I know that giving back and blessing others is higher up on most people’s priority list this time of year, as it should be.
The holidays tend to make us feel more giving. But, that can be difficult to embrace when you are living on a budget and trying to make every dollar count.
Luckily, blessing others doesn’t have to cost you a penny.
Here are 25 ways you can bless someone for free this holiday season.
Volunteer Your Time
Instead of giving your money, be giving of your time. Try one of more of these ideas if you have some free time and you want to being a blessing to someone.
1. Volunteer at a Senior Center
Seniors love talking with young people (even if you don’t think of yourself as young these days). 😉
Go and visit some senior citizens. Bring some cookies or candy you made and ask them about their life. Old people love to tell stories of their life when they were young. Or, you could ask them about their favorite holiday traditions.
Bringing joy to senior citizens doesn’t have to cost a dime.
2. Volunteer at a Homeless Shelter
Some homeless shelters have pretty strict rules about confidentiality and safety for their volunteers, but if you have time on a regular basis and you want to give back, consider joining the roster of regular volunteers at a homeless shelter near you.
3. Volunteer at an Animal Shelter
You may find yourself walking dogs, scooping poop, or washing pets instead of just cuddling them like you had in your head, but I think you’ll still find it’s a fun way to give back.
4. Serve Meals on Wheels
Meals on Wheels does more than just drop off food for the elderly, its also a program to help the elderly have some social contact to help avoid loneliness.
5. Serve at a Soup Kitchen
People have to eat on the holidays too, so if you don’t mind giving up part of your Christmas or New Year’s to serve food at a soup kitchen, I’m sure the recipients would be grateful!
6. Shovel Snow for Your Neighbors
If you have a snow shovel and you’ll be outside doing your own anyway, why not scoop for your neighbors, too? This doesn’t cost you anything but some of your time. As a reward, you’ll get some extra exercise and endorphins. 🙂
7. Pet Sit or House Sit for a Friend Who’s Traveling
Getting a pet sitter is very expensive, so if you can bless your friend by pet sitting while they are out of town, I’m sure they’ll be willing to return the favor the next time you go out of town.
As a bonus, you could also bring in their mail, water the plants, etc. to make sure their home is looked after while they’re gone too.
8. Babysit for a Couple so They Can Have a Date Night
If you don’t mind watching children occasionally, you could bless someone by watching their kids so they can have a date night all to themselves. Again, if you have kids, they might be willing to repay the favor for you sometime, too!
9. Join Big Brothers, Big Sisters
I was a big when I was a teenager and it was so rewarding to help a younger child in need of guidance. If you have some spare time and enjoy helping at-risk youth, BBBS is a great program.
10. Assist the Elderly with Their Groceries at the Store
A few weeks ago I was checking out at the grocery store behind an elderly woman who was in a motorized wheelchair, but she had a full-size grocery cart full of items. When she got done checking out, I noticed that she was having trouble maneuvering the cart. After I quickly checked out my own groceries, I helped her push her cart to her car and load her items before taking care of my own. It made me feel so good to help her out!
11. Run Errands for Others
Busy, working moms, or elderly people without transportation would probably love to have someone help run a few errands now and then. If you’re going out anyway, check to see if they need anything.
12. Do Someone Else’s Chores
If you and your spouse, or you and your roommate, split up chores around the house, do more than your fair share of the work on a week when they aren’t expecting it.
13. Go on a Walk and Pick Up Trash
Take a bag with you when you go on a walk and pick up any trash you encounter.
14. Volunteer for School Activities, Like Sports or Academic Events
Volunteer to run the time clock or take tickets at sporting events. You’ll usually get in for free!
Donate Your Stuff
If you’re short on time and money, you might be able to donate some of your stuff to bless someone this holiday season instead.
15. Cook a Meal for a Family in Need
Do you know someone who just had a baby, has been sick, or had a family member in an accident? If so, you could take a weight off their mind by providing them with a hot meal one evening.
16. Donate Items from Your Home That You No Longer Use
Clean out your closets and drawers and take your stuff to a local charity. As a bonus, you can get a receipt and deduct it from your taxes!
17. Go Door-to-Door to Collect Items for a Coat Drive, Toy Drive, or Food Drive
You can donate items of your own to a coat drive, toy drive, or food drive to bless someone this holiday season, but it’ll be even sweeter if you can collect items from others and donate those as well.
18. Donate Food from Your Coupon Stash
If you’re big into extreme couponing (I used to be!), donate some of the items from your stash to a local food pantry. Some families needs extra food at this time of year when their kids will be home all day during winter break.
19. Donate Personal Hygiene Items from Your Coupon Stash
If you have extra deodorants, shampoo, soap, etc. most homeless shelters would be glad to take it off your hands. If you got it for free with coupons, it’s even better because you can donate it without spending a penny.
20. Donate Blood
I give regularly to the blood drives in my community. All it takes is a little time and a little blood to give back and possibly save someone’s life.
21. Make Treats for Friends or Neighbors
Donate a bit of your time and your baking ingredients to make some special holiday treats for friends or neighbors.
22. Donate Books, Magazines, or Office Supplies to Libraries, Churches, and Schools
These places are low-budget and need things like books, magazines, and office supplies to perform their duties.
Things That Take Nothing at All
These things may seem simple, but they can have a big impact.
23. Compliment Everyone You See in a Day
Find some way to compliment everyone you see. This is a simple way to bless someone and make them feel good.
24. Check in on Elderly Neighbors or Family Members During Bad Weather
During a time of blistering cold or bad winter weather, take a few moments to call your elderly neighbors or family members to make sure they are doing ok.
25. Loan Money on Kiva
Loan money to an entrepreneur on Kiva. Loans start at $25 and as soon as you get your money back you can re-invest it into another loan or just put it back in your bank account.
You don’t necessarily have to spend money to bless someone this holiday season.
Can you think of any other ways to bless someone for free?