Gifts that Give Back
In this blog post, Olivia + Laura share the most important part of the holidays; giving back to those around us. Read on for ways to give back that'll make your heart grow three sizes.
Regardless of if you celebrate Christmas or not, the holidays are the time of year when we get prompted to give back. We realize that the holidays have gotten too materialistic, and although it's great to receive, gifts it feels even better to give back. That's why we have created a list of ideas that can get you inspired to do some good this time of year.
Make a Donation
There are so many local organizations in Montreal that could use your help this holiday season. Here are just a few to name. Remember that any little bit helps!
Remax Excellence Toy Drive
On December 19, RE/MAX Excellence is hosting their annual toy drive where they will be accepting new toys. All toys and proceeds collected will be donated to the Montreal Children’s Hospital and the Sainte-Justine Hospital. They are also accepting donations anytime Monday to Friday — see their Instagram post for more information about times and location.
Cards for Seniors
With certain restrictions in place, seniors in residences will unfortunately be isolated from their families this holiday season. It can very lonely for them so sending them a card will surely brighten their day! This is a great initiative started by Sylvie Chevrier on Facebook, who has shared the address to multiple residences in and around Montreal who are accepting holiday cards. Check out her post to see which residence/person you would like to send a card too! (Unfortunately we weren't able to link the post but you will be able to find it by searching "Sylvie Chevrier" on Facebook if you are interested).
Here are the names and addresses of some other seniors homes that could use some extra love this holiday season! (Thank you to @carineangelillo on Instagram for sharing them with us!)
- Jardin des Saules: 393 Boul. des Prairies Laval, QC H7N 2W4
- Les Jardins de Renoir: 1400 Boul. Chomedy Laval, QC H7V 5C5
- Résidence de L'Amitié: 9167 Boul. Gouin O. Montreal, QC H4K 2E2
Sun Youth: Christmas and Chanukah Baskets
During the holiday season, Sun Youth distributes Holiday baskets to over 12,000 people each year. Not all donations have to be financial donations, Sun Youth accepts material donations as well such as food and clothes. Through their holiday baskets, people are able to donate non-perishable goods and Sun Youth will include a new toy for all children under the age of 12. Christmas basket giveaway is held between December 18th and 24th. Chanukah baskets during the same period depending on the Hebrew calendar. Check out their website for more details on how you can donate!
CTV’s Spirit of Giving
This year’s Spirit of Giving campaign is a little different than usual. Due to Covid-19, they will be collecting donations solely online and will all be evenly distributed among all deserving partners/charities like, Renaissance, Share the Warmth, WIAF and many more. The campaign runs from November 30th until January 3rd, so you still have plenty of time to make a donation if you wish to do so!
Local Church/Place of Worship
Most churches/places of worship during the holiday season will likely be fundraising for needy families in their community. An example is St. Brendan’s, where every year churchgoers get together to prepare and personally deliver food and gift baskets to families in need. In its place, they will be accepting donations online via their website. Contact your local place of worship to see if there’s any way you can help!
Sox in a Box
Give back to your community by simply donating a pair of socks. Certain things are not a luxury but a necessity, but we often times don’t recognize these little things we take for granted. Vince Lacroce is working with Dans La Rue, Chez Doris and Saint Michael’s Mission and will donate the socks to these charities. Click the Instagram post to get more information about dates, times and locations. Remember that every little bit helps!
We can't deny it; the holidays are a time where we spoil people and get spoiled. There's nothing wrong with that, but sometimes we forget to put love and effort behind the gifts we buy. Not every gift needs to be elaborate or expensive because some of the best gifts come from the heart. When we were younger, our parents would love the arts and crafts we made them at school-- let's bring that effort back! Here are some ideas of small gifts you can give this year:
A coupon book (they are not just for kids)
A picture frame with a photo that speaks 1000 words
A stocking filled with everyday essentials like a new mug or a toothbrush
Volunteer to cook a restaurant-quality meal
Bring someone to look at the Christmas lights with hot chocolate
These may seem small, but sometimes it's easier to go out and buy something expensive instead of putting thought into what we give to others.
Buying local is the gift that gives back because it is a win-win situation. You receive the item of your choice while simultaneously supporting a local company. On O+L, we love supporting small businesses, whether that means buying from them or sharing their posts on our blog and social media. That's why this holiday season, we challenge you to buy as many local products as possible. This year has been difficult for all of us, especially the local businesses. So do what you can to support those MTL or Canadian companies.
If you need some inspiration, check out our last blog post, Gifts for Everyone. Or, the guide on @lauradelgrossoo's Instagram.
Time is something we can't buy, but it is something we can choose to give. So, this holiday season, willingly give your time to those you love or organizations you support. And the best part, IT'S FREE!
Unfortunately, this year, giving our time means something different, considering we have to physical distance from others. Nonetheless, there are always other ways you can devote your time.
One way you can socially-distance and be mindful of your time is through a phone call or zoom call. If you are lucky enough to have your grandparents still with you, then call them out of the blue! Ask them about their day or remind them of a memory you hold dear. That unrushed encounter will mean the world to them and can make their day so much better. This method also works with other family members or friends!
Another thing you can do is help strangers because you might not get anything in return, but you'll know you did something good. Here are some ways how:
Donate your time to an organization by helping them sort through food
Go out and buy food for these same organizations
Dedicate time for Meals on Wheels: they serve food to elders who have lost their autonomy.
Just be Nice
I think we sometimes take this one for granted but being nice is underrated. This little action can go a long way and doesn't require much effort. We get it, sometimes life gets in the way, and we focus exclusively on ourselves. This doesn't mean that we are terrible people, it just means that this holiday season, we have to be better. Here are some ways how
Be nice to your retail workers
We, Olivia and Laura, have worked with the public, and let us tell you, people can be rude. Don't be one of those people. Ask your retail work how their day is going, say please & thank you, and try to be considerate. They are working with the public during a pandemic, be thankful
Hold the door for people
Smile-- even under your mask, we can see it!
Give your spare change-- someone might need it more than you
Pay for the person in the back of you at a drive-thru
Wish someone happy holidays
None of these actions take much time or require being wealthy. Remember, little actions go a long way!
Thank you for reading this week's blog post in the holiday series. Full disclosure, this blog post was supposed to be another gift guide, but we felt that we had to write about something that embodies the true meaning of the holidays.
If you still want to see a stocking stuffer gift guide, feel free to DM us on Instagram @oliviafuscoo and @lauradelgrosso.
P.S: Only 15 more days until Christmas!
Have a holy joly rest of the week!