Welcome to the Yule & Winter Solstice Holiday Series!
No matter your religious affiliations, this series will be about celebrating the season of Winter. So gather around peculiar friends, while we celebrate nature and the longest night. During this time we rest and reflect with introspective thought. Even now at the darkest time, we know that each day will bring more warmth and light. That the sun will rise again bringing with it hope and joy. I hope this helps you feel inspired to celebrate winter. You can check out more of this series on this blog or on Youtube right now!
I’ve always believed that the true meaning of the holiday season is spending time with loved ones and spreading kindness and cheer. That’s some serious Winter magic! I love finding charities that support my local area! Not only do I love helping to support my local community but I truly know where the funds are going. These are some that my family and I enjoy contributing to and hopefully they’ll give you a few ideas for your area! I also made a video below showing my sister and I doing our Black Friday shopping for our favorite charity!
- Soroptimist International of Boise is one of my favorite ways to give in my area! Since 1946 they’ve been doing a community wide gift giving event that provides presents to those who would go without due to financial or family circumstances. The recipients are seniors living in local nursing homes and foster children. Every Thanksgiving they publish a list for the “oldsters” and foster children and what they’d like for Christmas in our local newspaper. Every year my mom, sister and I pick who we’re able to provide gifts to and register on their website. Then we plan for BLACK FRIDAY SHOPPING and prioritize getting them some awesome gifts. You can see my sister and I doing this in the video above. It is truly humbling to see what gifts are requested and I always try to take a moment and be thankful for all that I have. After buying and wrapping the gifts (correctly labeling them with gift tags) we drop them off at one of the donation centers. Although I don’t get their faces when they open the gift, it still truly warms my heart to think that wherever they are, they know someone was thinking of them. This chapter is local to the Rocky Mountain region but you can find their International website here their mission is – “Soroptimist is a global volunteer organization that provides women and girls with access to the education and training they need to achieve economic empowerment.”
- DON’T FORGET THAT YOU CAN ALSO DONATE YOUR TIME! Giving back doesn’t always mean financially. A few years back I was so lucky to be a part of Shop With A Cop “Each year officers are paired with a child (ages 5 to 12) from the community that would benefit from a positive experience with law enforcement. Children are chosen to participate based on if they’ve had an adverse experience with law enforcement, i.e. they’ve witnessed their parent being arrested or they’ve been involved in a criminal investigation. The hope is that this program will improve or build a positive relationship between law enforcement and the child.” On the morning of the event the child and officer are paired together at a breakfast event and then they drive with the lights and sirens blaring to Wal-mart (at least in our area). Each child is given a certain amount of money to spend and they go through the store with their officer and pick out gifts for themselves and loved ones. They need plenty of volunteers to help with this event! To start with we all line the front of the store and cheer them as they enter! To see the excitement on the children’s faces is truly overwhelming and I definitely got a little choked up. I was so stoked to be an elf! So I headed to the back of the store and hung out with Santa. After each child was finished shopping they got in line to receive a gift (which is what I was handing out) and take a photo with Santa. All I gave was my time and it was truly a magical moment that I will remember forever.
- Ok….so if you haven’t noticed….I’m a crazy cat lady. Don’t get me wrong dogs are cute and all but…..cats are snuggly, sweet, and so freaking entertaining. So I’m all about supporting our local business Simply Cats which is a cage-less and no kill shelter. Although, I’ve yet to adopt any of my kitties from there (no particular reason it just hasn’t worked out that way yet), I donate by sending them something on their Amazon wish list or donating my Amazon Smiles proceeds to them. You can do this by supporting the Humane Society or local shelter in your town!
- Arbor Day Foundation – This is something I’m VERY passionate about. This entire blog is about celebrating the seasons and connecting with nature. With all the mother nature gives to us, it’s important that we give back to her as well by reducing the effects of climate change, increasing the habitat in our local areas and replanting and restoring our forests. There is currently a #teamtrees project going on to plant 20 million trees by 2020, every dollar plants one tree and I’ve already donated! The last email I received from them said they’re currently at 17 million.
- My sister is very involved in Interfaith Sanctuary – “Our shelter began with a simple goal of giving our most vulnerable homeless population a safe place to sleep and a warm meal 7 nights a week. In the past couple of years we have made a deeper commitment to our guests. We continue to provide them with a safe place to sleep and a warm meal nightly but we have also brought an amazing team of case managers into the mix to help bring these guests hope and second chances We are making so much progress because this dedicated team shows up each day prepared to do battle on behalf of our guests. They leave no stone unturned to find solutions to the problems that have been holding our guests back, and they walk alongside them until they have their feet firmly rooted back on the ground. Self- sufficiency for each of our guests is our ultimate goal, but, just like with a new plant, it takes lots of water in the beginning to establish its roots and then, with some patience and support, it can continue to grow and blossom on its own.” You can do something similar by supporting your own local homeless shelters.
- The Trevor Project – “We are here to end suicide among gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, queer & questioning (LGBTQ) young people in America through life-saving, life-affirming crisis services, resources, education, and advocacy. We recognize that our country faces an alarming reality: LGB youth are 4 times more likely to attempt suicide as their straight peers; questioning youth are 3 times more likely; and it is estimated that over 40% of transgender people have attempted suicide. We know that that these numbers are set not in stone – it only takes one supportive adult to make a difference in a young person’s life. We will continue to work 24/7, 365 days a year to make sure that LGBTQ youth always have a safe place to turn to for help: whether it’s over the phone, online, or through text. We are here – you are not alone.” This is an absolutely wonderful charity to donate to and is very easy to do through their website.
What ways do you like to give back this holiday season? Comment below and let me know! I hope your Winter Holiday is TRULY magical and as always remember……..