It feels like Halloween ends and Christmas begins these days. Becoming a mom has me looking at the world a bit differently. I’ve been so grateful for the help from friends & family and just overall human connection in conversation. In the past, I’ve been crazed to find the perfect gift. I typically spend hours upon hours creating the Girl Meets Party Gift Guide. While it’s so fun to create and shop, the holidays are not about the gifts. The holidays are about celebrating our connection to other people, which is why this year I’m sharing the Girl Meets Party Giving Guide. I’m challenging all of us to try and check off all six items on the list this year and give back. Can you do it with me?
Holiday giving checklist
1. Call a friend you haven’t talked to in over three months (no texting!)
When is the last time you spoke to a friend on the phone? If you’re like me, you’ll fire off a quick text to check in. And if you’re lucky, you’ll chat via text for 20 minutes. However, when’s the last time you picked up the phone just to say hello? Connecting with friends, especially over the holidays, to catch up and share a memory simply makes you feel good.
2. Send a card to a parent or relative sharing how much you love them
My mom has always said, ‘your kids are on loan until their 18.’ In a lot of ways, that’s really true. Parents are always ready to chat and hang out. They’ve done so much for you, but have you thanked them recently? Pick up a cute card (maybe from Paper Source) and send a handwritten note. It’ll make their week!
3. Bake cookies or make a simple meal and bring it to a shelter, church or someone in need
Food goes a long way over the holidays. There are so many people in need. Reach out to your local shelter or church to see where you can donate. You can also be more spontaneous about it and simply give food to a homeless person you see on the street. Obviously, politely ask first, but I’ve done this before and they’re typically very receptive! True story, when I worked in the Boeing Building downtown Chicago, I used to make 2 servings of dinner every night and bring my leftovers to the same homeless man the next day. Make them feel loved. Their life is hard enough. Your small gesture can make their year!
4. Buy a toy and drop it off at a toy drive or sponsor a family
Toys for Tots makes it so easy to donate. Thousands of kids around the country go to bed hungry during the holidays and don’t have any toys to celebrate. You can spend $20 at Target to buy a toy or two for children in need. Often times you’ll also see donation boxes at local grocery stores or churches. If you attend a church, you can often sponsor a family through them. Doing so is such a great way to give back!
5. Do 1 random act of kindness a week for a stranger
This one might be my favorite in the giving guide because it’s honestly the easiest. Be a good human. Be nice to people. It’s so easy to surprise 1 person a week with a little something. Hold the door open for a mom trying to get out of a store with a stroller. Buy a cup of coffee for the person in line behind you at Starbucks. Whatever it may be, you’ll make someone’s day and inspire them to be nice to someone else.
6. Drop something off for a neighbor
Maybe this is an urban thing, but how often do you talk to your neighbor? I live in a condo building and we rarely chat with our neighbors. Make some cookies or pick up an extra bottle of wine to leave at their doorstep and say hello. Pairing it with a handwritten note would be really nice!
Giving Guide For the overachievers
1. Surprise someone who lives alone with a visit or phone call
The holidays can be a super lonely time. For some reason, we all put pressure on ourselves to have a Hallmark movie holiday when that’s no one’s reality. For those that live alone, it can be particularly difficult. Reach out to them. If you’re close by, make a date with them to spend time. If they’re far away, give them a quick phone call to tell them you appreciate them.
2. Volunteer at a nursing home to talk to the elderly – ask them about their life
When I think about people who are often alone, I think about the elderly that are in homes. They’ve lived full, rich lives. Visit them and ask them about it. Create the human connection that they may be missing.
3. Bring food or shelters to a pet shelter
Reach out to your local pet shelter and ask what they’re in need of. You may even have old clothes or blankets you can donate to shelters for warmth during these cold winter months. Cleaning out your closet has never been so rewarding when there is a purpose behind it.
I hope our giving guide inspires you to give back. If you check all 6 off the giving guide list, great! If you just do one thing, that’s great, too! What I want you to take away from this is if you do one nice thing for someone, they’ll be inspired to do something for someone else. It’s precisely why I wanted a giving guide instead of the gift giving guide this year. Wouldn’t it be nice if we all treated each other well over the holidays (honestly, just in general)? While I may not be creating a gift guide this year, some of my friends have that you should certainly shop! Nicole from Cedar & Rush has a great list for those that are hard to shop for. Jess from 26 and Not Counting has great style and her wish list does not disappoint. The Everygirl is always my go-to for all gift exchanges. Their ideas are on point! Kelly from Passport & Cappuccinos has amazing ideas for her! Lastly, Lauren from Lake Shore Lady has my favorite for the home gift guide!
Affectionately known to her friends as Millennial Martha for her love of DIY and decorating, Jen can’t help but pour her heart + soul into everything she touches. She’s loved to entertain since acquiring a table and chairs, and giving gifts is one of her favorite hobbies. Jen is the creator of Girl Meets Party. Her dream is to share her passions with the world in hopes to inspire others by making the seemingly unattainable attainable.