Consider making a donation

The holidays are known for eliciting cheer, thanks and a sense of community as families come together to share some of their most treasured traditions, whether that is gathering for a special meal, organizing an activity or finding a way to give back to those less fortunate.

Last year, Americans gave $316 billion to charity according to Giving USA, but it is not just financial donations needed. Many organizations depend on donations of time and kindness to get by.

No matter what you choose to donate, giving back feels good. Consider all the different ways you can expand your charitable giving this holiday season:

n Consider making a donation to a charity of choice in the name of the person who has everything. Many organizations will provide you with a thank you card recognizing the donation, which you can then put under the tree for the holiday celebration.

n Food banks and clothing charities often struggle with providing enough sustainable food and warm clothing for those in need during the winter months. Have your family and friends ask coworkers and neighbors about donating to your local food bank or clothing charity. Send an announcement via e-mail or post signs on doors a week in advance of your drive. This gives people a chance to collect additional items to be donated.

The holiday season is a time with endless opportunities to give back.