The Holiday Season Doesn’t Look the Same for Everyone
With the holidays just right around the corner, many of us are already counting down to the season’s celebrations and sharing warm holiday cheer with the people we love. From holiday season flavours, to presents, and even the simple, heartfelt joys of family, love, and togetherness, there’s a lot to celebrate and be thankful for. But not all holidays look the same—the season is not always as merry and bright, and the bells and carols don’t ring so loudly for everyone, especially the underprivileged and less fortunate.
For many who continue to grapple with a lack of access to even the most basic necessities, the abundance of the holidays is yet another reminder of inequalities that persist in our community. Throughout our battle against the global pandemic, the holidays—usually a time spent with loved ones—can also be a painful reminder of the people we have loved and lost, and memories of better, brighter days. As the rest of us prepare to celebrate, it’s important to remember what it is we’re celebrating, and how, even in own, smallest of ways, we can share in the spirit of love and giving.
The Power of Community
If we have learned anything over the past two years of living through a global pandemic, it is the strength and power of our community. Good things happen when we work together to advocate for and support vulnerable populations. From supporting unhoused populations, to survivors of domestic violence, and individuals with developmental disabilities and complex care needs, we have made countless strides especially over the past year to extend our help and support where needed. Still, the work remains, especially as we enter the holidays and wish for renewed hope in the coming year.
Make the Holidays Count
How are you celebrating the holidays? As we reflect on what this season means to each of us, and our learnings and growth over the past year, let’s make these days count. More than sharing the joys of the holiday season with our loved ones, take a step back and think of the bigger community we are all a part of. See how you can give back and spread holiday cheer among those who need it most—and remember the true meaning of the season.
Top Five Holiday Gifts for Giving Back
- Charitable gifts
This upcoming holiday season, there’s no simpler and easier way to give back and share your abundance than making a meaningful donation. Think about the causes and advocacies close to your heart—one you have always supported, or whose needs you recently learned about. What is it about their work in the community that inspires you? From homeless shelters to children’s welfare, and non-profits that support individuals with developmental disabilities, there’s no shortage of causes and charities you can support in Toronto—and who need your help. Remember, no matter the amount you donate, every dollar counts and makes a difference.
2. Charity gift cards
Looking for the perfect present for your loved ones? Instead of ticking off their traditional wish list, think of what matters most to them. Is there an advocacy or charity close to their heart? Do they want to make a difference in the community? CanadaHelps offers charity gift cards that allow you both to pay it forward through a gift that gives back. Give your loved ones a charity gift card that they can use to support a cause they value and share in the joy of giving back and making an impact, together.
3. Dedicate your donation
Aside from celebrating, the holidays are also for remembering. As you reflect on the past year and what this season means, you might remember an advocacy is near and dear to a parent or sibling who has since passed on. The holidays are a great time to donate to their favourite charity in their name. A donation in their memory is one of the greatest, most heartfelt ways to honour the life they lived, and remember their impact in the community. There is a certain comfort and peace in knowing that their memory lives on, and even long after they have gone, they can continue to make a difference.
4. Volunteer your time and talents
There are lots of ways to give back this holiday season—and not all of them are monetary. Some of the best gifts ever given come from the heart: time shared and spent well lending a helping hand. Charities, non-profits, and shelters work around the clock especially during the holidays to help provide for those in need and share the warmth and joy of the season. Volunteering is a great way to help and make an impact.
Even spending a couple of hours serving food in shelters or reading stories and music to children with developmental disabilities goes a long way in making this season merry and bright. With tons of local non-profits and charities in Toronto, you won’t have trouble finding one in your area that will surely appreciate the extra help during the holiday rush. Plus, even if you’re staying indoors, you can still make a difference at home and online. Virtual volunteer programs are always welcoming new volunteers to connect with clients over video – sharing stories, music, arts and crafts activities, and more.
5. Donate food, clothing, and toys
Did you know that some of the best gifts for giving back can be found at home? You’ll be surprised to learn that you have a lot more items and useful supplies already sitting in your garage, kitchen, or the kids’ closets and play areas. With the holidays coming up, it’s the perfect time to share your abundance.
Whether you have more than enough to share, or you’re picking up items to donate at your local grocery store, essentials like non-perishable goods and clothing are always welcome, and go a long way in helping keep a lot of people warm, safe, and nourished during the winter. For children, sharing toys and books are sure to lift their spirits and bring happy, hopeful smiles. The best part is, these in-kind donations directly address immediate needs, eliminating the work of allocating budgets to holiday presents and supplies.
Looking for meaningful gift ideas and ways to give back this holiday season? Safehaven welcomes donations for our programs that support individuals with developmental disabilities in Toronto. You can also make a difference—safely and at home—by joining our virtual volunteer program. Together, we can make this season merry and bright, and make everyone feel that #WeBelong. Donate to us here or sign up to volunteer.