I may not be able to get behind the endless pushing of Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales, but #GivingTuesday, now that is 110% something I can and do get behind and will absolutely share about.
If you're looking for some ideas of how to give back today, or really any other day throughout the holidays and year, here are 35 ideas, many of which don't even require you spending money (or lots of money).
1. Give a cup of coffee, breakfast or lunch to the person behind you in line.
2. Clean out your closet and donate gently used items to Salvation Army (in some areas they do free pick-ups, FYI), Goodwill and/or women's shelters.
3. Make a batch of cookies/muffins/soup for your neighbor.
4. Share the social media love. Call out a friend's small business, share accounts that inspire you, dedicate a post to someone that you love following.
5. Check your pantry for unexpired and unopened canned and boxed goods...donate them to a soup kitchen.
6. Donate books you no longer read to a nursing home, or, children's books to a school in an underprivileged area.
7. Buy a few bouquets of flowers (you can get quite a few for only $15 or $20 at Trader Joe's). Divide them up and rearrange them into smaller bouquets. Give them out at a local nursing home.
8. Buy gift cards to fast food restaurants (McDonald's, Wendy's, etc). Give them out to the homeless.
9. Mail a few handwritten notes to your grandma, your Mom, an old friend you never talk to anymore, etc. Trust me, anyone will appreciate the gift of not getting another bill in their mail.
10. Mow the lawn/rake leaves/shovel snow for an elderly or homebound neighbor.
11. Give out holiday cards at your local nursing home.
12. Give up your morning cup of coffee so a deployed soldier can have a cup instead.
13. If you're a photographer, give a free family photo session to a family that might not be able to afford it otherwise.
14. Find a local animal shelter and offer to give some of the dogs walks.
15. If you're someone who has spent a lot of time traveling and consequently collecting hotel amenities (shampoo, conditioner, etc), sort out all of the unused bottles you have, then distribute you them into ziplock bags, putting a shampoo, conditioner, bar of soap, toothbrush, mini toothpaste, etc in each bag. Then, pass out the bags to the homeless.
17. Give free babysitting to a couple that just needs a night off, or a single parent that could use even just an hour of time sans kids.
18. Give the gift of a massage to someone who has a labor intensive job.
19. If you're a musician, offer to perform for free for an hour for a local nursing home (My sister and used to put on piano concerts at a local nursing home and the residents loved it!).
20. Give an apology, even if it's not your fault.
21. If you have extra pillows, sheets and blankets that are in good condition and you no longer use, donate them to a local homeless shelter.
22. Donate gently used extra coats (we always donated to this coat drive in NYC).
23. Order someone a pizza (an easy way to provide dinner to someone who might be going through a tough time, a single working mother who is too tired to cook, etc).
24. Volunteer to tutor kids at an underprivileged school (I did this in college and it was by far one of the best giving back things I've ever done.).
25. Lend an ear to a friend or family member that needs to vent, or just talk something out.
26. Volunteer at a local soup kitchen.
27. Clean an elderly person's (or really anyone's) car.
28. Offer to do your partner or roommate's least favorite "chore" (i.e. taking out the trash, folding laundry, etc).
29. Surprise a co-worker with their favorite chocolate bar, green juice, lunch, a cup of coffee or a plant for their desk.
30. Give a smile and say hello to a stranger.
31. If you're an artist, offer a free class at a local community center/your church/an underprivileged school, etc.
32. Bring a home cooked meal to or order pizza/takeout for your local fire department or police station.
33. Spend a Saturday morning volunteering/playing games/reading to kids at a children's hospital. Bonus points if you bring some toys and books to donate.
34. If you're a makeup artist or hair stylist, offer your services for free for a few hours at a local woman's shelter.
35. Call a friend or family member, just because.