I think it is important to give back all year round but I feel like it is especially important to remember those in need during the holidays. I donate all my old clothes to the Salvation Army year round because when my grandfather was a little boy they use to help out his family.
Since I was a little girl I have always donated toys (new and used) to the needy kids during Christmas time. My parents would tell me that if I wanted Santa to bring me new toys that I would have to help out other children too. We would go through my toys and donate them to the Salvation Army and then we would go to the toy store and pick out a new toy for a boy and a girl. (These would go to Toys for Tots.)
As an adult I still do this. I feel it is really important to give to children because they do not understand why their parents may not be able to buy something. They are innocent and it literally brings me to tears thinking about a child with nothing to open on Christmas day.
I usually give to Toys for Tots but the last couple of years my church has teamed up with a local group, the Sandpipers. They collect toys for children in foster care. Children in foster care are not allowed to keep anything that their foster parents may give them. Everything a foster care child gets is through social services, including presents. What the Sandpipers do is collect toys for each child. The child makes a decoration and puts what they want for Christmas on the back. Then they set up a tree and decorate it with the ornaments. You get to choose which child you are going to buy for and you get to keep the ornament as a memory. I really like this because it feels more personal than just dropping a toy in a box.
This year I choose a 1 year old girl who wanted Disney Princess dolls.
I bought her a couple of the dolls and decided that they needed a house to play in too, so I bought one of those too. ;-) I just wish I could see her face when she opens it.
How do you give back?