December - The Time For Giving Time, Talents, Treasures, And Thanks

13 min read DEC 01, 2023


The holiday season is in full swing now, and many folks are looking for ways to give to others.

In fact, December is often dubbed the month of giving.

Generally, this is thought to stem from the fact that as many seek to buy and give gifts to loved ones, they’re then equally inspired to give back to their neighbors, communities, and even organizations which can make a true difference in the lives of others.

But, what comes to your mind when you think of giving throughout the month of December?

For most folks, we enjoy the tradition of gift giving because it provides us with a specific time/purpose to bless others, a tangible way to show that we care.

But, what about giving to those outside of your family, friends, or colleagues?

There are a variety of ways to give to others this time of year that don’t involve online shopping or long lines at department stores. From giving a meal, serving others in need, providing help, lending a hand, or generously donating to meet the needs of others, December is filled with opportunities to give.

And honestly, isn’t that what the spirit of the holiday season is truly about…finding joy, spreading joy, and even being the joy someone else may desperately need throughout this month and beyond.

The problem is, when looking for ways to give to others, we can sometimes find ourselves at a loss for ideas.

And, that’s where we come in. Today we’d like to explore a variety of ways to give throughout the month of December, using your time, your talents, and your treasures to bless others.

Giving Your Time

Sometimes giving your time, or volunteering, involves your unique talents as well, so give us a bit of grace here as some of these may overlap between sections. But, for the most part, here we’ll be covering a variety of ways you can bless others by offering up your time.

1- Online Volunteering

Did you know you can volunteer your time, for the betterment of others, without leaving your home?

Many folks would love to volunteer their time, but sometimes work schedules, parenting, and other constraints keep them from doing so.

Volunteering online can be a great way to give back for those who either find that their work schedule creates a conflict or simply cannot volunteer in person.

Here’s just a few ideas for those looking to volunteer their time online…

  • You can donate your time and services by proofreading material for online distributors who seek to turn Public Domain books into ebooks, available for all online. Distributed Proofreaders is one company which utilizes the work of volunteers in this manner.


  • If you are skilled in the area of business, BPeace is an organization which uses the help of volunteers (particularly those with business skills) to aid entrepreneurs in communities, particularly women, helping them build or grow their small-medium sized businesses so they can become financially independent.



  • Did you know you can volunteer your voice to be used by those who suffer with speech impairments? Many who live with speech impairments rely on synthetic voices to help them speak. VocaliD’s Human Voicebank is an online program allowing volunteers to submit speech recordings to be used by those in need.

2- Mentor and/or Tutor Students

Many students could use a little extra help when it comes to homework and/or fully grasping the topics presented in class. Tutoring is a simple way to volunteer your time that gives back in a great way.

Your time spent helping students of all ages can mean the difference between success and failure, the difference between a child or teen’s frustration/discouragement and a true love for learning.

To do so in person, simply contact your local school system for more information. Or, if you know a teacher, contact him/her to see if there are other ways to help in this area.

And, building off of our first point, you can even volunteer your time as a tutor online.

iCloudBe is an online tutoring company which utilizes the help of online mentors or volunteers to empower at-risk middle and high school students, helping them reach their goals and stay in school, setting them up for a lifetime of success.

3- Calling All Pet Lovers

Animal shelters are commonly at full capacity throughout the holiday season. So, if you’re an animal lover, you can volunteer throughout the month of December and beyond by fostering pets.

Not only will you be bringing furry cheer and four-legged joy into your home for the holidays, you’ll be meeting a need for shelters as well as preparing a pet for its fur-ever home after the giving season melts into a new year.

And, if you are unable to volunteer your time and home through fostering, you can always spend your time lending an extra hand at animal shelters this time of year.

4- Food Pantries, Serving Lines, And Shelters

Food banks/pantries and shelters are often working tirelessly to meet crucial needs this time of year.

What needs?

Food, clothing, and toys are commonly collected (especially throughout the holiday season) to meet the needs of families, helping them out at Christmastime, putting food on their tables, or keeping them warm as the bitter cold blows into town in many areas across the country.

So, such places commonly need volunteers to organize donations, prepare and serve meals, or package items to be handed out to those in need.

5- Assisting The Elderly

Providing assistance and showing care for senior citizens throughout the holiday season is a great need.

You can give the gift of your company/companionship by visiting elderly neighbors, volunteer your time at a local nursing home or assisted living facility, or you can even donate your time by preparing or delivering food through services such as Meal on Wheels.

Using Your Talents

As we mentioned in the section above, time and talents often overlap when it comes to giving, so some of these ideas may involve your time as well.

But, when it comes right down to it, giving back to others is often enhanced when you give a part of yourself to bless those in your neighborhood, town, or community.

We’ve each been granted unique qualities which can lead to specific talents that can be used to bring joy to those around us. So, consider the following ideas when you’re looking to give back this year.

1- Calling All Crafters

If you love to craft beautiful pieces, be it through the talent of sewing, crocheting, or knitting, painting, building, and more, you can definitely be a blessing to others this time of year.

Shelters and senior citizen centers are often in need of winter clothing items, many of which can be made by hand.

Handmade quilts, blankets, even scarves would make fabulous donations/gifts for cancer patients. Can you imagine how receiving such a heartfelt, handmade gift could lift the spirits of those going through medical trials throughout the winter months (and beyond)?

Some crafts make great donations at animal shelters as well, so be sure to contact your local shelter for a list of such needs.

Carpenters can offer great help by lending a hand in partnership with organizations such as Habitat for Humanity and others.

And, you don’t even need to seek out large organizations to make a difference. Recently in our subdivision, there was a single mom who reached out on social media about needing help putting together a wooden playground set for her young son.

I was thoroughly blessed as I saw a few gentlemen comment and offer assistance, volunteering their time and talent to build the set for the boy. I can only imagine the joy felt by this mother and her child at such heartfelt giving.

2- Make A Meal, Take A Meal

If you love to cook/bake, consider making a delicious meal to bless your neighbors, colleagues, and others.

Also, contact local shelters or missions to find out if your culinary skills make be of use in these areas.

3- Be A Blessing Through Music

If you play an instrument or are a gifted singer, consider volunteering your time to use this talent at senior centers, veteran facilities, and more where you can give the gift of music, memory, nostalgia, and more throughout the holiday season.

Music is therapeutic and simply warms the hearts of hearers. Using this talent to bring joy to others throughout the month of December and beyond is sure to bring smiles and lasting cheer to any you choose to bless with this gift.

4- Organize, Organize, Organize

There’s power in numbers, so plan to gather a group of friends, family members, neighbors, or coworkers this month to organize a food, clothing, or toy drive, collecting needed items for families.

Then, donate the collected needs to a shelter or organization seeking to provide for families throughout the season. (It’s best to contact organizations in your community prior to organizing a drive, this way you can learn of specific needs and ways you can best meet them.)

5- Wrap It Up

Let’s face it, some folks are just gifted wrappers. If that’s you, consider using your talent at a local shelter or nonprofit.

Organizations which collect toys for families in need during the holiday season are often looking for talented gift wrappers to lend a hand…or curl a ribbon or two. So, consider amping up your holiday spirit this year, and give back by donating your time and wrapping talents.

Giving Of Your Treasures

Giving your time or using your talents to bless others this time of year is a marvelous thing, but there are still many opportunities to give back in monetary ways as well.

Many organizations rely on monetary donations to fulfill their unique mission. And, in some cases monetary or gift donations are required to provide needed items for families, etc.

Aside from giving through your time and talents, consider the following ways to bless others through the following monetary offerings…

1- Coffee, Lunch, And Kids

I recently saw a post on social media that went a little something like this: “instead of paying for someone’s coffee or lunch in the drive thru line, call your local school and pay off the overdue lunch balance for a child (or two or three).”

I have to say, I think this is a fabulous idea!

Now, don’t get me wrong, there is definitely value in paying it forward in the coffee or fast food drive thru line (or inside). This small gesture can do big things for a person, lifting one out of a poor mood, providing needed encouragement, spreading cheer, etc.

However, for some children, specifically their families, paying for school lunches can be a struggle. And, while there are certainly programs that lend needed help for such families, sometimes life happens and needs arise.

In such times, it’s not uncommon for lunch debt to accrue. So, one way you can donate monetarily this season is to call your local school(s) to inquire about anonymously paying off any outstanding lunch tabs.

And, while we’re on the subject of schools, also consider donating your time, talents, and treasures when it comes to teachers and school classrooms.

Particularly for parents, your child’s teacher would likely welcome any offers to help with needed supplies…through December and beyond.

2- Clothing, Food, And Toys

Especially during the month of December, many families are in need of donations for holiday meals, weather-appropriate winter clothing, and toys.

Consider donating new or gently used items to shelters or organizations in your area seeking to fulfill such needs.

There are also numerous programs this time of year that collect toys for underprivileged children all around the world.

Angel Tree, Adopt a Family, Operation Christmas Child, and many more missions of similar nature all do wonderful work this time of year. If you’re able, seek to help any such organization reach their goal of blessing families this season.

3- Donate To Worthy Causes

Many organizations and nonprofits would not be able to reach their goals or fulfill their mission without generous donations.

This December, as you seek to give monetarily, consider those organizations whose mission or cause aligns with your beliefs and passions, allowing you to take part in the good these groups do for our towns, communities, and world.

4- Care Packages

For our soldiers or troops, first responders, teachers, nurses, and other public servants, consider buying items to fill care packages or prepare a nice gift box for these selfless servants to enjoy while meeting the needs of the communities they serve this season.

You likely know where to take such gifts to your local heroes, but for sending packages to our military members, you can contact your local VFW or Red Cross chapter for useful information, guidelines, and instructions.

5- Gift Cards And Toiletry Bags

Some call them blessing bags, some have other terms for this concept, but you can contact your local homeless shelter to learn of needed items which you can purchase to fill bags to hand out to the homeless this season.

Aside from this, you can also purchase gift cards for local restaurants to hand out to those in need (for dinner or simply a pick me up).

As far as gift cards are concerned, this is also a wonderful way to spread cheer throughout your neighborhood, placing gas or food gift cards in random mailboxes, or specifically at those residences where you know someone has a need.

And lastly, don’t forget, while you’re out enjoying a meal this month, you can always purchase an extra meal for a person in need (either to give out immediately or have the restaurant dispense as they see fit).

Giving Thanks

It’s been said that a heart full of gratitude leads to a life of generosity.

All that we’ve mentioned here today surrounding the subject of giving stems from a heart filled with thankfulness.

You’ve likely heard Dr. Charles mention that he enjoys beginning his day by listing at least three things he’s grateful for, and many of us here at Lifeboost follow this same practice.


Because gratitude is life changing!

Did you know that practicing daily gratitude can improve your physical health?

Focusing on the blessings in your life, from the gift of a loving spouse to the beauty of a sunset you witnessed on your way home from the office, can decrease pain levels, improve your quality of sleep, decrease your risk of chronic disease, allow your immune system to function optimally, and much more.

Daily gratitude can also improve your mental and emotional health by reducing symptoms of depression and anxiety; it can even boost your overall mood.

But, aside from these healthy perks, research shows that having an attitude of gratitude actually prompts a brain shift, one bent towards giving.

One study found those participants who practiced daily gratitude showed an increase in how their brain responded to giving to others. Specifically, in those individuals who practiced daily gratitude, their “prefrontal cortex increased the value it placed on benefits to others.”

In other words, the notion that thankful people tend to be more generous is, in fact, scientifically true.

So, throughout the month of December, as you enjoy the holiday season with friends and family, I would like to challenge you to intentionally look for the numerous blessings in your daily life.

And, seek to list or write down those blessings - from the joy of a hot cup of freshly brewed coffee, to career milestones, family gatherings, a soft blanket to curl up with in your favorite chair, a friendly encounter with a cashier, and so on.

Then, in the midst of this intentional practice of gratefulness, with the ideas we’ve covered here today in mind, find a way (or multiple ways) to generously give to others throughout the month of December and into the new year.

Happy Holidays, and happy giving!

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Headshot of Becky Livingston Vance
Becky Livingston Vance Content writer

Becky is a mother, educator, and content writer for Lifeboost Coffee. She has had three years’ experience as a writer, and in that time she has enjoyed creatively composing articles and ebooks covering the topics of coffee, health and fitness, education, recipes, and relationships.


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