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There is just something about holiday cheer that makes you want to share it. Regardless of your budget, there are plenty of ways that people and families can give back to their communities and those it serves. Here are five impactful, yet inexpensive ways to share the happiness over the holidays!

Visit an elderly neighbor – This could be an excellent option for those with smaller children. Start a holiday tradition early by taking your children to visit nursing homes and hospices. Explain to your children that these grandma and grandpas aren’t able to see their grandkids and allow them to make holiday cards to pass out.

Homemade bags – Homelessness is a concern for many all year round, but there is no denying the increased interest around the holidays. While volunteering at a soup kitchen is a great way to give back, there are other ways to help. During the colder months, the most requested item from the homeless is socks, although homeless women are often in need of feminine products. Other things to consider include gloves, scarfs, no-sew blankets, water, and food. Any used shoes or clothing that is no longer wanted could also be put in the trunk so those in need can look for what may fit them.

Toilet Paper – When donating to soup kitchens and homeless shelters, it is natural to assume that food is the best bet; however, that is what everyone is thinking. Instead, think of non-edibles that may be needed, such as toilet paper, shampoo, toothpaste, feminine hygiene, etc.

Share the fuzzy wealth – It is no secret that fur babies can lift almost anyone’s spirit; so this holiday season, share your puppy with those who could use a holiday smile, such as at a nursing home or shelter. Always call and ask first– you never know where allergies may lie! For those who want to give back, but don’t have a pet, reach out to local pet shelters to help take the animals on walks, help with feeding them and even giving them individual love and attention. Animals have feelings too.

Start at home – We often assume that to give back, it has to be for strangers, but that is far from the truth. Our families and friends often have needs that go unnoticed, so this holiday season, look for ways you can help with stress, groceries, childcare or whatever it may be. Seeing how happy it makes your family and friends will make it a yearly tradition!