Written By: Holly Dutcher
Ok. Ok. Halloween is over. You know what that means, right?
Yep! I’m “Fa La La La La”-ing from now until mid-January. The holidays are such a bright, hopeful, beautiful time of year. I am listening to Christmas music as I write this and my heart is overflowing thinking about the goodness that comes around this time of year. Do you share this joy with me? No matter your beliefs, the holidays have a tendency to bring out a lot of festive feelings in people! If not, it’s ok. With a name like “Holly”, I am destined to be “one of those people”. You know who I am talking about. Holiday decorations (and yes, I mean full-on Griswold style outside our house) up and beaming as soon as my husband caves and puts them up (enough nagging will get them up SUPER early!! EEEEE!!!), cookie baking every weekend so I can give some to literally every human I pass, card writing to anyone who can read, cheesy photo ops with my family, tacky Christmas sweaters and leggings galore and of course, doing good deeds for those around me.
Do you want to join me this year and spread holiday cheer? There are PLENTY of ways YOU can help this holiday season. How? I’m glad you asked!
Decorate for others
As I mentioned, holiday décor gets me so giddy I can’t stand it. You can bring joy to those around you by participating in holiday decorating. If there is a need to keep it secular, you can try a winter theme, or just participate in some general cleanup. No need for holiday decor? Ask if you can brighten things up with floral arrangements! Here are some ideas on where to start:
- Nursing Homes or Assisted Living facilities: Contact some of the new patio home facilities as some elderly residents may not be able to hang decorations, but may want them up.
- Libraries, town halls, or public gardens: Public areas need love too! It’s easy to clean up public areas like parks or add some decor in your favorite holiday colors to benches, etc.
- Daycare facilities, preschools or elementary schools: There’s nothing like putting a smile on a childs face, and many schools cannot afford decorations, so they may need help!
- Local Organizations/Nonprofits: Rochester is RICH in non-profits, but with annual appeals and winter programming many may be too busy to decorate. Why not contact one of your local favorites and ask if you can go to their location and help them decorate?
Whose face does NOT light up when they get physical mail that is not a bill?! Why not brighten the day of people around you by making holiday cards or writing them out and sending them? A few nice places to start are:
- Your local Veteran’s Association to see if you can supply hand-written cards for them to send to vets in your area (a donation to help with the postage is a great idea, too!). You can also send cards to military overseas through programs like NY Warrior Alliance or Operation We are Here.
- Children’s Hospitals or Family focused organizations: The children in the hospital may appreciate a kind thought from someone in their community. And again, nursing homes and assisted living facilities. Some of the residents there NEVER have family visit. I can’t imagine. Why not brighten their day with a festive note? Here in Rochester you could work though Golisano Children’s Hospital and Ronald McDonald House, or through agencies that work directly with children with medical issues like CURE Childhood Cancer Association or Willow Domestic Violence Center. With more than 3,000 nonprofits in Rochester the list is long!
- To classrooms: Do you know how much money teachers spend on their students? So many teachers end up spending some of their hard-earned salaries to provide gifts, prizes or snacks to their classroom. Why not adopt a local classroom and donate something fun to them? My mom ran the craft area of our CURE Holiday party for our kids a few years back and she presented the cutest project: (see photo above). Kids lose their gloves ALL THE TIME. Go to the Dollar Store, buy enough gloves for the class and enough hot cocoa packs or popcorn for the students and either make the project for them or provide the materials for the teacher to make them. How cute are they? Functional AND thoughtful.
- To the homeless: How many times have you driven around Rochester lately and seen someone holding a sign at a highway exit asking for assistance? Stock up your car with a few care kits to hand out when this occurs. Some ideas for contents: gloves, hats, socks, granola bars, applesauce cups, hand wipes/hand sanitizer, peanut butter and crackers…easy.
I hope you will be inspired to spread some kindness this holiday season – you could make someone’s day! I wish all of you the hap-hap-happiest holiday season. May your hearts be filled with gratitude and love!!
Guest Blogger: Holly Dutcher
Holly joined CURE in April 2014 as Executive Director. A proud graduate of The Aquinas Institute of Rochester and Saint Bonaventure University, she is incredibly passionate about CURE and the families helped through the organization. Holly looks forward to leading CURE to the future and continuing the mission the original CURE families began 40 years ago.