On Feb 25 2022 / by Wyoming Paul

4 ways to give back to the community this holiday season

The lead up to the holiday season can feel unexpected and overwhelming. Suddenly the decorations are out, the shops are playing Christmas carols, end of year parties are around the corner, and there’s a bunch of planning and shopping and organising to do.

With all of that going on, it can be easy to forget that the holiday season is also a great time to give back to the community and make everyone else’s lives that much better. So if you’re wanting to make a positive difference for someone else this holiday season, here are a few easy steps that will put you on the right track.

1. Swap Secret Santa for charity donations

The workplace or family Secret Santa is a time-honoured tradition. However, it’s also a source of stress, and all too often leads to blind and unnecessary buying of things that no one really wants.

It’s hard to find a useful or heart-felt gift for the usual ten dollar Secret Santa budget, especially when you don’t really know the person you’re buying for. The result? Anxiety, mild disappointment, and a lot of random knick knacks that get tossed in a drawer.

Instead of spending your ten dollars on a crappy novelty item or another cheap box of chocolates, why not put everyone’s efforts (and extra cash) into a good cause?

This year, for example, Parkable’s Auckland office is taking part in Auckland City Mission’s Angels Appeal and the Shoebox Christmas. We’ll be donating food, toiletries, and gifts to people struggling to provide their families with the simple joys that many of us take for granted over the holidays.

Wherever you live, there will be plenty of opportunities to spend your ten dollars well and add a bit of joy for someone who might otherwise go without.

2. Be kind even when you’re stressed

For many of us, the holiday period is as associated with stress as it is with happiness or celebration. We expect ourselves to buy amazing gifts, cook piles of food, celebrate with colleagues and friends, keep the peace at family gatherings… and all of that pressure can take a toll, especially when we’re going through something difficult at the same time.

That can make it easy to be impatient with the retail assistant doing your gift wrapping, or brusque with the courier who can’t guarantee a delivery date. Instead of lashing out, when you feel the stress getting to you try one of these controlled breathing and meditation exercises. You’ll feel better, and your calm and kindness will contribute to a better holiday period for those around you.

3. Donate your Parkable proceeds to charity

If you’re a Parkable host or use Parkable to manage staff parking, you can do something extra to give back to the community. Make December a month to donate your Parkable income to a charity of your choice, and if you have staff, let them know that this is something that you’re all contributing to as a team.

Of course, this isn’t something that has to be limited to the holiday season. IAG staff at the NZI Centre have been choosing to donate their proceeds to the Red Cross since their Parkable launch in June, and have since raised thousands for the charity. A few dollars a day can really add up!

4. If you can’t give money, give some time

If you have some time on Christmas Day to spend giving back, volunteering at a local soup kitchen or meal centre is a great way to channel your community spirit and connect with new people.

For example, the Auckland City Mission hosts over 1,600 families for Christmas lunch, and is always after more volunteers to help with the set-up, decorations, cooking, waiting, welcoming and (best of all) gift-giving as Santa’s helpers.

Check out options in your area and make Christmas Day extra special.

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