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7 Ways to Grant Warm Winter Wishes

Soon, the cold winter season will be among us, as we bundle up underneath our coats and watch our breath blow away in the wind. Winter can be a harsh season for many of us, from the long hours without sunlight to the freezing cold feeling in our toes. The next few months can definitely be difficult, but luckily we can all support each other.

With Thanksgiving behind us and the winter holidays coming up, how can you make others feel warm during the cold season? We have some ideas to get you started. Check out our list of seven ways to give warm winter wishes this year.

1. Scrape someone’s windows.
If you live in an area where winter gets very cold very quickly, then you know the struggle of scraping car windows after an overnight frost. This winter, you can make someone’s day by offering to scrape their windows for them. Maybe it’s an elderly friend or just someone you care about. Whoever it is, taking the time to go out and scrape their windows can have a huge impact on brightening their day and making a winter wish come true.

2. Shovel a neighbor’s sidewalk.
When snow starts to pile up, there’s nothing more frustrating or difficult than shoveling out a sidewalk. Help out the neighbors in your community by offering to shovel or plow their sidewalks. You’ll have the pleasure of helping those near you and making someone’s day, plus the added bonus of getting a good workout in. If snow is common in your area, give altruistic shoveling a try.

3. Pay for a stranger’s coffee.
If you live in a warmer climate where snow tends to be a rarity, fret not! You can still grant warm wishes this winter. Next time you go to a cafe or restaurant, try paying it forward and pay for a stranger’s coffee in line. Coffee embodies everything about the coziness of winter, so you can cheer someone up this season by giving coffee as a gift.

4. Leave a kind note.
For a cheaper alternative to coffee, leave a kind note for someone you care about. Maybe that means writing a letter to loved one and telling him or her just how much they mean to you. Or, maybe it means leaving behind a “pick-me-up” note on a stranger’s car, just to put a smile on their face. Notes can have a huge impact on warming us up from the inside out. Try leading a more altruistic lifestyle this winter with a note.

5. Make a goodie basket.
Goodie baskets are always a treat for the person receiving them. Whether you give a large or a small goodie basket doesn’t matter—the joy is in the giving. Put together some tasty treats or a cozy winter welcome package for your neighbors, friends, family or coworkers to make everyone’s winter a little bit warmer.

6. Provide some warm clothing.
Unfortunately, lots of friends and family in the community don’t have warm enough clothing for the season. But, you can help change that by giving any new or gently used winter clothes you can provide. Maybe that means handing down your coat from last year, or picking up an extra pair of gloves next time you’re at the store. Whatever it is, giving winter clothing is a useful way to provide to those in your community.

7. Give to a cause.
Finally, you can help warm up a lot of people’s winters by giving to a cause you care about this season. You can give your time, resources or finances and support those in your community by living a more altruistic lifestyle. This winter, see what you can provide and the difference you can make through giving.

Winter can be a cold, challenging season to get through; but if we all stick together, it doesn’t have to be. Try out some of these altruistic ideas this year to grant warm winter wishes for the people in your life.

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Giving Gratitude This Thanksgiving Week

Happy Thanksgiving week! This week and leading up to Thursday, homes across the United States will be filled with people, laughter and the delicious smell of sweet, sweet Thanksgiving holiday food.

Over the years, Thanksgiving has evolved from more than just a historic holiday celebrating people coming together. Instead, it has shifted further to focus on reflecting and giving thanks for every gift in life. Gratitude is about more than taking a second to say “Thanks.” Gratitude shows true appreciation. This Thanksgiving, we have some ideas for how you can give gratitude.

1. Make a list.
How can you give gratitude if you don’t know what exactly you’re thankful for? First and foremost, give gratitude this week by making a list of everything in life you have to be thankful for. It could be something as simple as the shoes on your feet to something as big as the house you live in and the food you eat. Make a list with as many items as you can think of, and then share that list with others in your life. Encourage them to also make a list if possible, and work together to come up with ideas. For families sitting around a Thanksgiving meal, one idea is to go around the table before eating and each share something you are thankful for.

2. Write a letter.
If there is someone in your life you are especially grateful for, let them know. Maybe it’s a mentor, friend or relative who lives far away. Try writing an old-fashioned, handwritten letter to take the time and specifically tell them what they mean to you and why you are grateful to have them in your life. With technology nowadays, handwritten letters mean so much more, so show that to the person you care about. Chances are you will make their Thanksgiving day much sweeter.

3. Give a gift.
You don’t have to wait until winter to give gifts. Show your appreciation and gratitude for those in your life by giving Thanksgiving gifts. These can be anything from an actual wish list item, to just a kind note thanking them for being a part of your life. Homemade and simple gifts are a valuable way to show your gratitude to the most important people in your life and make them feel appreciated. Build stronger relationships and share the love this Thanksgiving week and going into the holiday season.

4. Hold a ceremony.
Have you ever tried holding an awards ceremony during your Thanksgiving dinner? Try it! Only this time, hand out awards to family members for things you are grateful for. Is someone particularly kindhearted? Give out an award. Are you grateful for someone who works long hours to provide for the family? Give them an award. An award ceremony is a fun, lighthearted way of showing genuine appreciation for the loved ones in your life. Put together some awards this week to showcase at the big reveal on Thursday.

5. Offer a meal.
Finally, some friends and family members may have nowhere to go this Thanksgiving, or don’t have the financial capability of providing a meal. You can show gratitude for everything in your life by giving back to others. Offer a meal this Thanksgiving—either to friends who need a family for the night, or by literally donating food to a community organization and see how your heart swells with gratitude and love.

This Thanksgiving week, show your gratitude for everything in your life by trying out some of these tips. Reflect on what you’re thankful for, show appreciation and give back to have a wonderful Thanksgiving season.

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5 Altruistic Actions for the Holiday Season

Happy Holidays! With Thanksgiving coming up next week, followed shortly by December celebrations like Hanukkah, Kwanzaa and Christmas, the cold winter months bring with them a sense of holiday cheer and camaraderie.

The holiday season is a wonderful time of the year for families to come together and celebrate their various beliefs. But for some, the holidays can be a difficult time. Making it through the cold winter months and trying to find the finances to provide holiday dinners and presents may be more burdensome than joyful. How can you spread the cheer by giving back? We have five altruistic ideas for the holiday season that just might do the trick.

1. Work with a community food program.
Oftentimes, winter season is a difficult time for those who can’t afford a Thanksgiving meal or holiday dinner. Fortunately, there are various food programs locally and nationally who raise support and food to give holiday meals to others. Examples of this include the food bank chain Feeding America, the Meals on Wheels program or local shelters. Research food programs in your community to see where you can give back. Maybe they need an extra turkey to give to a family this Thanksgiving, or perhaps need volunteers to help serve food during their holiday meal. Work with a food program to see how you can fill someone’s belly and heart.

2. Donate extra gifts and winter clothes.
More than anything, winter can be tough because of the cold. Winter clothes are often expensive, but become a priority over providing gifts to family members. If you’re able, you can do both. Try buying an extra gift when you go out shopping for your friends and family, or see if you have old winter clothes laying around. If you do, donate gifts, toys and winter clothes to local shelters near you, to help warm someone up this winter. Your contribution could mean a world of difference to a child facing the cold winter ahead.

3. Volunteer at an animal shelter.
Our pets need love too. Some shelters can get pretty chilly during the winter months, so see how you can help by volunteering to play or cuddle the animals, or offering up your home as a foster facility for them to stay warm during the winter. Reach out to local shelters in your community to see how you can help give back during these next few months. Who knows? By opening up your time and home to an animal in need, you may just find they end up staying close to your heart.

4. Share with those who can’t be home.
Unfortunately, some people simply cannot be at home during the holiday season. Whether they’re currently staying in a shelter, elderly living in a nursing home or an active duty military man or woman who is stationed overseas. Find ways to reach out to those who can’t be home this season, either by volunteering with a shelter or nursing home, or donating a care package to the military. Being away from friends and family during the holidays is tough, so you can help ease their heartache by showing them how much you care.

5. Give financially.
Finally, one of the simplest ways to help out this holiday season is by giving financially. Many nonprofit organizations provide housing, financial and food aid to those in need, so help support those in your community by giving what you can. Even a small contribution can make a big difference in these next few months.

With Thanksgiving just around the corner and holidays like Christmas, Hanukkah and Kwanzaa coming up too, this season is the most wonderful time of the year. You can make sure it’s that way for everybody by volunteering and giving back this holiday season to those in need.

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Recognizing National Child Safety and Protection Month

Welcome to November! Halloween is over, and November brings with it the scent of pumpkin pie, cranberries and of course, delicious turkey. But one thing you may not know about November is it is also recognized as National Child Safety and Protection Month.

National Child Safety and Protection Month is an entire month dedicated to recognizing the unique potential dangers many children face in their everyday lives, and taking tangible steps of prevention against those challenges. This month looks at the world through the eyes of a child, so today we look at how you can recognize National Child Safety and Protection Month, and keep the children in your life safe.

Safety at Home
First and foremost, children should be safe at home. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, on average, 12,175 children ages birth to 19 die each year in the United States from an unintentional injury. You can prevent some of these injuries by making sure your home is a safe environment for children of all ages.

Some helpful tips for safety-proofing your home include:

  • Keep walkways and areas near stairs clear of clutter to help prevent falls. Give your children a designated place to put their toys, then work to make sure they follow through.
  • Keep all cleaners, medications and other potentially harmful substances up high and out of reach of children. If you do keep products on lower shelves or areas, use a child-proof lock for the cabinet.
  • When cooking, use the back burners of the stove and turn handles toward the back of stove, so children aren’t able to reach or knock the pots over.
  • Test the fire alarms in your home regularly and have a plan in place with your children in case there is a sudden fire in the home.
  • For younger children, keep small items out of reach to avoid suffocation or choking. For infants, put them to sleep on their backs without blankets, pillows or toys in the crib.

Safety in the Car
When riding in the car, children should be fastened with a seat belt into the appropriate car seat or booster seat. You can learn which safety seat is best for your child’s age and size by checking online with your state department. Make sure the fastening on the seat is secure—not too tight and not too loose.

Safety with Food
Choking on food can be a serious hazard for many children, both young and old. Some foods are more dangerous, such as hot dogs, hard candies and nuts. Foods like these cause up to 40% of all child choking deaths. Help prevent potential issues by monitoring what your child eats, and breaking or cutting it up into smaller bites whenever possible.

Safety around Water
According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, drowning is the leading cause for children ages one to four. It’s incredibly vital to monitor children when swimming or near a water source, provide adequate safety swimming materials and stay close by in case children experience any issues. Water can be a fun activity for the family, but requires special attention to make sure children stay safe.

November recognizes National Child Safety and Protection Month by teaching parents, families and friends how to see the world from a child’s perspective and make sure he or she stays safe. Safety is an important part of life, so enjoy this November by implementing it into all areas.