How to Give Back During the Holiday Season

'Tis the season of giving, and I know a lot of us feel extra generous this time of year. While our idea of giving often includes finding the perfect present for that special certain someone, there are so many individuals less fortunate that could use a helping hand, especially during these uncertain times. Even a small gesture, moment of your time, or generous donation can make the world of difference to someone in need. So, if you're looking for some small ways to give back during the holiday season, here are a few ideas to get you started.

Spending the holidays at home? Here are some ideas for making it feel just as festive.

01. Pay it forward

Unexpected, random acts of kindness are often the best ways to give back during the holidays. Whether you're in the drive-thru at Starbucks or out to a nice dinner, pay for the person behind you or cover the check for another family's table. Either way, it's always a nice surprise to be treated by a stranger.

02. Give a toy to a child in need

There's no better feeling than to put a smile on a child's face. From Toys for Tots to the Salvation Army Angel Tree, there are a lot of different ways to donate toys to kids in need. You can research toy drives in your area or look for donation boxes at your local supermarket.

03. Donate warm clothes

If you needed a reason to clean out your closet, this is it. From old coats you no longer need to gloves, scarves and sweaters, local homeless shelters are always looking for these kinds of donations this time of year. Put your old clothes to good use, give back and declutter your closet at the same time - a win, win!

04. Help a neighbor

Whether you have an elderly neighbor or young family that lives next door, offer a helping hand during this busy time of year. Maybe they need help shoveling snow off their driveway, or perhaps you could babysit for a few hours. Even the simplest gestures can go a long way and often mean the most.

05. Volunteer your time

If you have a little extra time on your hands, volunteer at your local food bank or animal shelter. Now's a great time to get involved with a charity that's meaningful to you and give back during the holidays. If you don't have the time to volunteer, consider donating instead.

06. Participate in a food drive

A great way to give back is by donating your canned goods to a local food drive. If you're hosting a party this holiday season, ask everyone to bring at least one canned good. That way, you can get more people involved who are probably more than happy to donate what's in their cupboard.

07. Send a Christmas card

This time of year can be especially difficult and lonely for soldiers oversees. Write them a letter or send them a Christmas card expressing your gratitude. Here's where you can send it. You could also do the same for seniors in nursing homes who might not have any family. You never know who needs to hear some thoughtful, kind words this time of year.

08. Compliment a stranger

I love this one because it literally costs nothing and can truly make or break someone's day. Spread some holiday cheer by complimenting a stranger or saying something nice. Whether you're standing in line at the grocery store or on your morning coffee run, how often do we go out of our way to just be kind? This time of year can be stressful to say the least, and sometimes a compliment is all someone really needs.

I'd love to know what your favorite ways are to give back during the holidays!