We all know 2020 has been a tough year for everyone and the holidays this year are going to be a bit different. With a pandemic raging around us, big family gatherings are likely going to have to be swapped out for more intimate gatherings in individual households.

This is the perfect time to show some compassion to each other and give back to your community. It’s needed this holiday season perhaps more than any other year in recent memory.

Here are 11 ways you can safely give back this year. 2020 may have ravaged us, but we can still make the holidays special for others.

1. Connect, Communicate, Care

While physical distancing and self-isolating has helped slow the spread of COVID-19, it can also lead to loneliness. Stay in touch with friends, family and neighbours. Check on anyone who doesn’t have someone to spend the holidays with. A thoughtful card or phone call can go a long way, especially this year.

2. Be a Santa to a Senior

The Be a Santa to a Senior initiative identifies local seniors who may not receive a gift and posts their Amazon wish list on the website. You can purchase a gift for a senior and it will be delivered to them. Since the gifts are part of a wish list, you know it’s something they’ll like. 

3. Say thanks to essential workers

There are always people who have to work over the holidays and this year, essential workers have been especially important. Show your appreciation for them with a card or a small treat. 

4. Donate Blood

There is virtually always a need for blood donation. This year it’s especially needed. Book an appointment with Canadian Blood Services and potentially save a life. 

5. Make Deliveries

Volunteer to make deliveries of things like food and medicine to vulnerable people like the elderly and those with disabilities. Check with local churches and other service groups for information on how to volunteer. If there are no opportunities to volunteer, consider donating instead.

6. Help Children 

Many children are also going without essential items and services this year. Consider donating new, unwrapped gifts to local charities, purchase items for a charity by visiting their Amazon wishlist or find some other way to donate to children’s charities. Air Miles are something else you can often donate to charities.

7. Organize a Food Drive 

A lot of people have suffered in the economic downturn this year. You can help relieve some of the stress by collecting nonperishable foods from friends and family and then donating them to a food bank. 

Check with local charities to see if they need other non-food items, too. 

8. Raise Money for Charity

Rather than exchanging gifts this year, consider asking your loved ones to make a charitable donation in your name.

9. Help the Homeless 

Not everyone will enjoy warmth and cheer these holidays. Fill some stockings with personal hygiene items, socks, toques, gloves, healthy snacks and more to deliver to a homeless shelter. Get the whole family involved.

10. Remember Four-Legged Friends 

Our furry friends need love, too. Help out a local animal shelter with dog or cat food or other necessities like cat litter, treats, leashes or whatever else they need. If you have room, you can always adopt or foster a pet. 

11. Donate Your Time and Talent

Volunteer your time and talent for local charities. If you sew, for example, maybe there are opportunities to sew face masks. There are also crisis hotlines that may require volunteers. 

This has been a harsh year for many people and the holidays are going to be especially difficult, as many folks won’t be able to be with their loved ones when they usually are. Giving back is more important than ever. 

Happy holidays and stay safe, everyone!

While you may not be thinking about awnings or shades at this time of year, please contact us for any awning or shade needs you may have (like giving them for a Christmas gift).

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