Creative Ways to Give this Holiday Season

Giving during the holiday season can be so much fun if you can think of creative ways to do it. Instead of simply handing over money and things you don't need to a charity and then forgetting about it, you can give directly to the needy and make it an event that both you and the recipient will remember for a long time. Don't worry if you don't have much to give because no donation is too small. At the right time, even the smallest of gifts can make a big difference.

Here are 4 creative ways to give that you can try this holiday season.

Buy groceries for a family in need:

A few dollars may just be small change to you, but there are families who can't even spare a dollar to buy groceries. While charities often help them out, groceries don’t always make the list. So, the least you can do for them is to buy them groceries. Find a family that is in need, tell them how you intend to help them, talk them into accepting the gift, ask them what they would like, and then buy the things they have asked for. You can either go shopping by yourself or take a member of the family along with you. The total bill may not be much, but you will have memories to cherish for a lifetime.

Pay for someone's meal at a restaurant anonymously:

You may not think that walking into a restaurant and paying for a dinner anonymously is a good idea. After all, everyone who is there has at least the money to pay for his or her meal. However, not everyone who eats in a restaurant I can actually afford to eat out can often. Survey the hall from your table without drawing anyone's attention and determine which diner is the most likely to need help. Once you know that he or she has finished eating, ask the waiter to add their bill to your bill, without telling the customers.

Pay for the person's grocery who is in line in front of you:

Many people have no choice but to live on a tight budget during the holiday season. You may see them buying a cart full of groceries in a supermarket and not know if they’ve saved for a few months just to give their family a great Christmas dinner. Take your position at a vantage point not far from the point-of-sale terminal and watch the shoppers without drawing their attention. Once you have identified someone who may need help, stand in line after him or her, and politely offer to pay his or her bill. If he or she agrees, then pay the bill, accept his or her gratitude (if it comes) and walk out.

Buy gift cards and give them out to homeless people:

Gift cards provide a great and convenient way to give, especially to homeless people who can only dream of dining in a restaurant. Buy a few Tim Horton's Gift Card and give them out to homeless people who you see on the streets.

Picture by Ginny

By Shondell Varcianna

December 05, 2014