50 Ways To Give Back This Holiday Season

The Christmas season is here! All of the crazy Black Friday videos online made me realize today would be a great day to share my list of ways to give back during the holiday season. It’s important to remember this is a season of giving more than it is a season of getting. My family’s goal is to do at least a handful of these ideas each week leading up to the holidays. I tried to include a number of ideas that were either free or fairly cheap so even if you are on a budget you can find ways to give back!

1) Bake cookies for a neighbor

2) Buy gifts for a child on the Angel Tree

3) Take your family and friends to sing carols at a nursing home

4) Adopt a family and buy them gifts for the holidays (this can be someone you know personally or you can contact a charity in your town to find a family in need)

5) Send a care package to someone in the military

6) Volunteer at a food bank or a non-profit that packs meals for the hungry (like Feed My Starving Children in the Chicago area)

7) Donate art supplies to a local afterschool program

8) Pay for someone behind you in the drive thru

9) Donate toys, books and games to a children’s hospital

10) Babysit a friend’s children so she can have some time to herself

11) Donate clean water (charitywater.org)

12) Make a meal and drop it off to a new mom, someone who lost a family member or someone who is homebound

13) Leave a large tip for your waitress or barista

14) Drop off magazines you’ve already read at the hospital for people to read while in the waiting rooms

15) Donate pet food or cat litter to a no-kill animal shelter

16) Hold the door open for someone at a store and wish them a good day

17) Donate toiletries to a homeless shelter

18) Adopt a pet or use your social media channels to share about a pet that needs to be adopted

19) Host a pajama and book drive for the Pajama Program

20) Pay for someone’s groceries at the grocery store

21) Donate used items to a thrift store that gives back to charity (my favorite is Savers)

22) Bake treats to bring to your local school for the staff to enjoy

23) Put money in the Salvation Army bucket when you pass by (or volunteer to ring the bell yourself)

24) Shovel someone’s driveway for them

25) Donate food to the local food bank

26) Fill a shoebox for Operation Christmas Child

27) Hand out gas gift cards to those pumping gas at the gas station

28) Send a handwritten note to a loved one telling them how much you appreciate them

29) Make cards for those in a nursing home or hospital

30) Help grant a child’s wish through the Make A Wish Program

31) Donate blood through the American Red Cross

32) Buy a meal for someone in need

33) Donate to a cause that is important to you

34) Donate hats, gloves and other winter accessories- many Churches have “Mitten Trees” where you can donate them

35) Plant a tree in celebration or memory of a loved one through the Arbor Day Foundation

36) Have children create thank you cards for community workers and deliver them along with a treat

37) Volunteer your talents. Whether that’s offering your marketing services to a non-profit, cooking food for the homeless or tutoring children

38) When purchasing Christmas gifts, shop local or purchase an item that gives back (like something from the World Vision gift catalog)

39) Donate coats and blankets to a homeless shelter

40) Bring a gift basket of essentials to a new mom

41) Volunteer at an animal shelter

42) Offer to help someone clean their home or wrap their Christmas gifts

43) Donate toys to Toys For Tots

44) Pack ziploc bags or stockings with toiletries, snacks and an encouraging note and store them in your car to give to any homeless you may pass by this season

45) Make a blanket or pillowcase dress to donate

46) Volunteer at a nursing home

47) Head to the store and leave kind notes of holiday cheer on windshields

48) If you have a friend who will be alone for Christmas this year, invite them over to celebrate with you at your house

49) Send a letter to a hero in the military

50) Spend time with your loved ones. Remember- your presence is more important than your presents

What does your family do to give back? I’d love to read about it in the comments below!

An Easy Way To Support Great Causes In Chicago

(Disclosure: This is a sponsored post but all thoughts are my own.)

I love sharing about easy ways to support worthy causes so I’m excited to share about the new way that you can help support the Epilepsy Foundation of Greater Chicago (EFGC) and Vietnam Veterans of America (VVA). EFGC is particularly close to my heart as my mom passed away during an Epileptic seizure in the middle of the night back in 2009 and I support their work in helping prevent, control and cure Epilepsy so that nobody else has to experience the loss of a loved one in the same way. Vietnam Veterans of America is also a great organization, supporting veterans and their families.

The two charities- through their partnerships with Savers –opened four Donation Drop Spots in the greater Chicago area this year. At the Donation Drop Spots, people can drop off their gently used goods which support the EFGC and VVA’s programs because Savers pays them for every donation made at the Donation Drop Spots.

The new Donation Drop Spots are open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and are conveniently located at:

  • 115 West Rand Road, Arlington Heights, IL 60004 (Donations benefit Epilepsy Foundation of Greater Chicago)
  • 7212 W 191st Street, Tinley Park, IL 60487 (Donations benefit Epilepsy Foundation of Greater Chicago)
  • 13200 Cicero Ave, Crestwood, IL 60445 (Donations benefit Vietnam Veterans of America)
  • 2300 US Highway 34 Oswego, IL 60543 (Donations benefit Vietnam Veterans of America)

Not only do your donations help charity but you also help create a better world by donating instead of throwing things away. Savers as a company is one of the largest recyclers of used goods in the world, keeping 650 million pounds of reusable goods out of landfills each year! The items you donate are sold at Savers stores and given a new home.

images courtesy: Savers

Savers sells vintage and name brand clothes, shoes and accessories for the whole family along with a variety of household goods. They are different from other thrift stores because they are clean and well organized with all items in good condition and affordably priced. With more than 100,000 items on the sales floor at one time I always find a cart full of items to take home. My favorite things to buy at Savers include kid’s clothes (especially sports brands, jeans and dress shirts), books and toys.

The holidays are coming up and if you are looking to save money consider checking out Savers for some items on your shopping list. One gift I purchase used is books. My kids don’t know the difference between a brand new book and a gently used one but I often save $3-$5 per book buying them at Savers. There are also plenty of new-with-tags items that can be found at discount prices. What will you find at Savers?


Child Sponsorship Works

We sponsor a little girl through Compassion International named Rita. I found this infographic online and thought it was interesting so I wanted to share. Often times we think “I’m just one person, what can I do?” but we can make a big difference to a child.

Compassion International Child Sponsorship Works

Infographic from Compassion International.


Google LG Nexus 4 Phone & Service from GIV Mobile‏ {Giveaway}

Have you ever heard of GIV Mobile? I hadn’t but when they contacted me asking if I wanted to do a giveaway for you all of a new phone I took a look at their site and said yes, please after I learned more about them.

GIV Mobile is a new, no contract wireless service that donates 8% of a customer’s monthly cell phone bill to charity.  Each GIV Mobile customer can choose up to three charities to receive the 8% every month, from 8 categories including Animal Welfare, Arts, Culture & Humanity, Education, Environment, Health, International, Human Services and Public Benefit. The full list of pre-screened charities can be found at http://givmobile.com/charities/view. Isn’t that awesome!? I love companies that give back to those in need.

Here’s how it works:

With GIV Mobile, customers may choose from two affordable no-contract plans to use with a GIV Mobile phone or their own unlocked, GSM phone:

·         $40/month Unlimited Everything – talk, text, MMS, International text and web (first 250MB up to 4G/3G speeds) on all 4G enabled phones and smartphones.

·         $50/month Unlimited Everything – talk, text, MMS, International text and web (first 2GB up to 4G/3G speeds) on all 4G enabled phones and smartphones.

GIV Mobile wants to offer one of you a new Google LG Nexus 4 Phone and 3 months of their service.

Put the power of Google in the palm of your hands with the LG Nexus 4. The LG Nexus 4 comes pre loaded with your favorite Google Apps, and is powered by Android 4.2 (Jelly Bean) OS. Keep up to date as the latest scores, weather, and traffic appear automatically throughout the day with Google Now. The 8-megapixel Photo Sphere camera lets you take and share amazing panoramic photos or stunning 360-degree Photo Sphere pictures.

So let’s review….GIV mobile gives you an affordable monthly service plan, donates money to charity, and gives you the choice of amazing phones. Sounds like everyone is a winner here!


One reader will win a Google LG Nexus 4 phone and 3 months of “Unlimited Everything” service from GIV mobile


 {Do any or all of the following, leave a separate comment for each you do}

1) Leave a comment telling me what you learned about GIV mobile

2) Share this giveaway on a social network and leave comment telling me you did

3) Tweet @aliciamarie112 and tell me what your favorite charities are. Use #WirelessForACause  in your tweet

4) Follow @GIVMobile on Twitter

5) Follow @aliciamarie112 on Twitter

Giveaway ends September 15, 2013 at 11:59pm. Must be a US resident, 21 or older to enter.

(Disclosure: I was not compensated for posting this.)

Holiday Weekend Blog Reading

Just wanted to post links to my recent posts on the two sites I contribute to weekly.

Inexpensively.com is a “national network of frugal bloggers whose goal is to share their knowledge of living inexpensively”. I write about charities. Some of my recent posts include:

*Creating Art To Feed The Hungry (The Bread Art Project)

*Give Money By Playing Games

*Become A Mentor, Change A Child’s Life

The other site I contribute to is called Seeds of Faith and I write about things I’m thankful for. My three latest posts are:


*Quiet Time

*New Beginnings

Do you have any posts you would like to share with me?