Helping Hand: 5 Ways to Give Back This Holiday Season


Whenever the holidays roll around, I get this overwhelming urge to give back. I am a strong believer in supporting charities, standing up for great causes, and giving back to my community year-round. But there’s something about these winter months that makes me want to give a little more…

Lending a helping hand not only aids others in need, it’s also very rewarding. To inspire you to give back this season, I’ve put together 5 charitable ways you can contribute to your community. Take a peek below and discover how you can make a difference during the holidays…

  1. Make cards for hospitalized kids. This act of kindness takes almost no time at all, and it will instantly brighten a child’s day. Get together with your friends and personalize greeting cards with watercolors, glitter, stickers, and stamps. Make sure to write a sweet message inside too. I have no doubt that any local hospital (and their patients!) will be over-the-moon with excitement when you show up to with your cheerful letters. One of my favorite organizations that facilitates this is Cards for Hospitalized Kids.
  2. Adopt a family. Have you ever wondered what it would feel like to be Santa? The Salvation Army must have had this question in mind when they started their Adopt-A-Family program. They match an impoverished family with a group of people who plan to provide an entire Christmas for their “adopted family.” You can sign up with your family or a group of friends to shop for your adopted family’s presents on their Christmas list and deliver them on Christmas morning. Go to Salvation Army to learn more.
  3. Donate a Christmas tree to our troops. I can’t imagine being away from home during the holidays. So I was pretty moved when I came across the website Christmas Spirit Foundation and read about their program called Trees for Troops. It allows Americans to donate Christmas trees to a group of U.S. troops who are overseas during the holidays. The process is pretty simple: Just go to one of the tree lots that are participating all over the country to purchase a tree. They will place it in a FedEx truck that’s already on the lot, so you will literally be able to see your tree waiting to get shipped off to American soldiers. To make donating even easier, just plan on buying your own Christmas tree at one of the lots that participates in this program so you can buy another one for our troops while you’re there. Head on over to Trees for Troops to learn more.
  4. Serve at a soup kitchen. In my opinion, the most valuable ways to give back involve interacting with the people you’re helping. Volunteering at a local soup kitchen during the holidays is a great way to have a hands-on experience with community service. The way it works is you arrive at the kitchen with a group of volunteers in the late afternoon to prepare a giant meal for the homeless that evening. When it’s dinnertime, a long line of hungry men and women will come through and you will serve them a hot meal—most likely the first one they’ve had in days or maybe even weeks. I guarantee you will have a newfound appreciation for the food on your own table. Search for a soup kitchen near you by checking out
  5. Donate your closet clutter. I saved the easiest for last… This twofer will inspire you to clean out your closet and give to someone in need over the holidays. Assess what you have in terms of clothes and shoes, and figure out what you absolutely don’t need anymore (for my course in closet cleaning the charitable way, click here). Separate the things that are still gently used and in good condition—this will be your donate pile. Make sure you’re giving away items that you would want to receive (no undergarments or tattered clothes ladies). Then, just place the things you’re going to donate in a box or a bag and contact Goodwill—they will even come pick it up for you! Chances are you have nicer things than someone who is less fortunate could ever dream of owning. Your closet clutter will make their holiday season truly special. To learn more check out

Another great idea is to participate in Toys For Tots. Click here for more info!

I hope these ideas inspire you to give back this season and spread the holiday cheer far and wide.

How will you give back during the holidays? What’s your favorite type of community service?

Share your stories, tips, and holiday plans in the comments below so your fellow members can read them too.

Happy holidays!

XO Lauren

Photo Credit:

Categories: Grow, Helping Hands, Holiday Specials, Lauren Conrad
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  • Melissa Panici

    LOVE giving back! I’m definately giving to Goodwill. I have a lot of clothes that are gently used and don’t fit me anymore so I would be happy to do this:) I really want to work in a soup kitchen sometime. It would feel nice to know that the homeless will be getting a nice hot meal. Thanks for the list!

  • Rachel Trampel

    Great ideas! I am working on getting rid of items in my closet to give to Goodwill! I think it would be nice to make cards too, what a great idea!

  • Cassandra Cupo

    This is awesome, Lauren! Thanks for spreading the word. Most people want to help but don’t know where to start or who to contact.

  • Ashley Rizzardo

    I always donate to Toys for Tots! :)

  • Rachel Moltz

    Awesome ideas, Lauren! Thanks for all that info. The holidays are definitely about giving back. My office staff donates several families and we all sign up who we want to sponsor. I like getting stuff for the children and making their holidays special. I love this time of year!!

  • Amanda Gongleski

    Ohh my gosh, Lauren I always love everything you post… but the idea of making holiday cards for hospitalized kids has me more excited than anything I’ve read lately!! Such a simple way to give back and spread that holiday cheer!

    I know what I am going to be doing this weekend!! :)

    Thanks for the AMAZING post!!!

  • prey pray

    Great post. We are donating 10% of profits now until Christmas to the Wounded Warrior Project. Plus some amazing savings.

  • Jessica | My Style vita

    Okay first, I love that picture, it’s too adorable not to share (or recreate in an outfit post? although there’s no snow in Atlanta). and second, I love spreading holiday cheer and helping others during this time. I love using holiday cards that benefit a charity like the ASPCA, my favorite charity to help!

    xoxo Jessica

  • AoifeMC

    Great post; it’s great that you’re tackling this issue and reminding people of the importance of charity work and giving back to your community over the holidays.

    However, please be conscious that the Salvation Army are a Christian charity group and one of their primary goals is the advancement of the Christian religion in society. Of course, they do wonderful work in the community, but anyone wishing to support the Salvation Army should be aware that this is a group that, for example, actively takes steps to discriminate against the LGBT community and are outspoken supporters of the pro-life argument. Naturally, if these are your beliefs it would be logical to provide support for the organisation and their work. But to those who are passionate about equality, civil rights, and supporting one another without imposing Christian beliefs on society, please read up and inform yourselves of the Salvation Army and the aim of their work before devoting your time or money to this organisation. If you do not wish to support a group that actively seeks to oppress equality and the civil rights of the individual, please be aware that there are other, extremely deserving charitable organisations that are also worthy of your time.

  • Amanda Kennedy

    my dad was a marine, and i’ve started Toys for Tots drives in his honor at several local businesses! that is an amazing way to give back, especially because every year Toys for Tots receives less and less toys. Great organization for a great cause!

  • Tracey

    this year instead of the adults exchanging gifts, we’re adopting a family at a local shelter that houses women and children that have been victims of domestic and sexual violence. it feels so good to give back! great post! :]

  • dannonkendall

    This is awesome Lauren, thank you! I’ve been wanting my husband and I to start doing this every year at least around Christmas. We just got married in April and I think this would be a great tradition to start for us and to do with our future children!

  • Mariana M

    I really feels good to give back, this year I’ll donate some cute clothes to someone in need

  • suzanne

    Great ideas Lauren! I donated my closet clutter a week ago and it feels fantastic :)


  • Deanne Castro

    Great Idea! :)

    Please check out my fashion blog at:

    Today’s post: Favourite Celebrity Outfit Of The Week: Selena Gomez


  • Rachelle

    I give away part of my closet to people less fortunate in Haiti, i’m originally from there and my mom always told me that I was blessed enough to afford new ones when I wanted to sell them on eBay. And I’m so happy I listened to her because I know realize how lucky I am and how I take a lot of things for granted.

  • Abigail Warren

    Great ideas Lauren! I’ve decided this year to take all the money I would have spent on holiday gifts and donate it to a charity to help those still putting the pieces back together from Hurricane Sandy. There are so many people who have lost everything that I feel that buying gifts for people who I know already have the necessities of life seemed silly this year. I’m specifically donating through the Stephen Sillers Foundation at I wish you and your family an excellent holiday season!!!

  • Karie Obremski

    Wonderful. I absolutely get fully heart-warmed around this holiday season because I just want to give and buy for other people! I truly get joy out of giving to my family, friends, and even strangers. I volunteer for many services in my town area, at college, and wherever I can. Volunteering is an easy and joyful task to do for others. My sister and I always get together piles of our clothes that don’t fit and send them to Goodwill or hand them down to our cousins.

    This year I think I will try to volunteer at a soup kitchen. I try every year to send some cards to troops, as I did in elementary school, so this year I would like to send a Christmas tree to the troops. That would be completely heart warming.

    xo. Karie

  • Kelby Peachey

    I’m participating in a toy drive for kids who suffer from arthritis and have to get an IV infusion every month in order to feel better.

    I’m also participating in the Jingle Bell Run/Walk which raises money for arthritis research and hopefully, one day, a cure.


  • Kayla Wachtel

    Great ideas! I fill a stocking for a foster child through our local CASA program. Every year I make sure to pick the age group that needs the most help!

  • My Style Diary

    Great ideas! I wanted to do a shoe box but I’m too late.. might try one of these ideas. :)

  • Cesie Alvarez

    I LOVE serving at the homeless shelters. It’s a great way to actually see where all your help is going. And interacting with the people is very rewarding.

    Stay warm at work

  • Lovelikewhy

    I have a friend who every year volunteers on thanksgiving and Christmas Day at the Salvation Army, he uses his day to serve others, such an inspiration. I want to send Christmas gifts to these children I met in the DR over the summer.

  • Lizzie

    The new nonprofit I’m starting is throwing a holiday party in a village in the Dominican Republic. We are taking down clothes and toys to the families. If you want to contribute find us on Fabebook

  • Amy

    My store is adopting a family for Christmas and are all pitching in to buy presents for them. It is my favorite way to give back.

  • Nathalie Maxey

    Awesome ideas!

    XO Nat

  • Kylie Miller

    My family and I always volunteer around this time of year. We have a non-profit organization and we adopt families to help them have a great Christmas. Check out my blog:

  • Beauty to Sparkle

    I think the best way to give back is to donate money or presents to countries who are going through a crisis and are not going to be able to enjoy the holiday season. Anything little counts. Share the love!

    Check out my beauty and motivational blog to find out my thoughts on a cream eyeliner and what I did for Thanksgiving!
    Here is the link:
    Thanks, Dina
    P.S. If you like what you see, please don’t forget to follow :)

  • alex jones

    This is really great idea of Donating things to helpful on this festive season of Christmas. I really appreciate that. This is good time to purchase needful; things like mattresses, beddings and many more.

  • Paulina Mo

    Such great ideas to give back!
    Check out my latest outfit on my fashion blog:

  • vhines57

    I am a student at the University of Illinois in Urbana Champaign. Not only do I work hard at getting an education but I work hard on giving back. I am on the Leadership Team for Colleges Against Cancer a club here. Every year we put on Relay for Life, an event in which teams sign up to stay up all night and raise money for cancer research. This year our event is in April for one night of fighting back we do not sleep because cancer never does.
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  • Lacie Blake

    These are such great ideas!! I actually work at a daycare that is owned by a local church. During Christmas the church helps some families in need. This is my first year working here and instead of giving each other gifts we have decided to buy gifts for one of these families. The family that we chose is actually very close to my heart, it is a single mom and her son who is the sweetest child on this planet. When making the list the mom actually only put stuff on there for her son. She only put stuff for her when the director asked her to. One of the things on her list was a microwave. I have decided to take it upon myself to buy the microwave. I want her to have something nice to open on Christmas. I have a little extra money in my pocket so this is a great way to be giving back to someone. The love she has for her son is so inspiring to me and I hope I can be like her when I am a mother.

    I hope everyone enjoys my story and has a GREAT Christmas!!!

  • Raven West – Thank you for the inspiration! Thanks to your idea, I spent the last week making 30 holiday cards for the Children’s Hospital at OSF in my city. I’ll be dropping them off tomorrow evening. <3

  • Mindee Krymer

    Every year for about 5 years now, each person in my immediate family (myself, my parents, and my two sisters) comes up with a charity that is important to us in one way or another and donates to them (in the past it has been $200 each, but this year we all had a little extra money and did $300 each). Then on Christmas Eve, the five of us gather around the Christmas tree and share what charities we each chose and why, and then we all vote on which charity we like best (we can’t vote for our own!) and my parents’ business doubles the donation to whichever one has the most votes. (Luckily we have an odd number of people so there is never a tie!) Charities that have been donated to in the past include:

    Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS
    United Way for Hurricane Sandy Relief
    World Resource Foundation
    The Trevor Project/It Gets Better
    National Alliance for Mental Illness
    Project Water
    Alzheimer’s Association

    …and a lot more!

    I would suggest that all you readers encourage your family to do the same next holiday season. It feels so good to give back and is a great excuse to gather the family.

  • Theresa

    Trying to save money on savings catcher
    To help the less fortunate kids for the holiday ! Its free and easy
    Just send me the tc number at the bottom of the reciept
    And the date (within 7 days of purchase)

    We all shop at walmart Anyway so send in those tc numbers and dates and lets start saving some money for the kids

    Every reciept is really appreciated help someone less fortunate this season email: [email protected]



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