I considered writing a column about the holiday blues because, let’s face it, we all have them. Gift buying or no gift buying, romance or no romance, tree or no tree, there are a lot of choices that can add to the overwhelm in our already busy lives.
Instead, let’s talk about possibilities! Let’s get inspired.
Dream. Dare to dream about the places you never thought you’d see. Whether it’s a quick getaway to an island, a trip around the world, or a month in a foreign land, dream BIG about the places you’d like to go.
Make a difference. Everyone knows that there is plenty of room in the world to make a contribution. Make yours unique. Let it have meaning to you. Let it not only touch the heart of others but awaken your own.
Need an idea? Host a meal for a group who may not have family. Volunteer at a homeless shelter or soup kitchen. Make handmade gifts for nonprofit organizations serving those in need. Sing at a benefit concert! Allow your unique gifts to be shared.
Bake cookies - but don’t eat them all. Baking can be a healing gesture in the home as long as it’s shared. Children love baking! The aroma wafting through the kitchen into all the rooms of the house brings a nurtured vibe. It is sometimes what makes a house a home. Decorate them using themes. Then pass them out to neighbors, friends, and colleagues. You can even make them healthy!
Host a holiday party. Offer an activity that supports a cause. You may have everyone bring in their favorite photos and show them how to transform them into holiday cards. Then send them to prisoners or hospitals. Offer inspirational sayings of health and bright futures.
Share the wealth. There’s nothing more satisfying than knowing that you can help someone less fortunate than you by offering a financial gift. Remember the saying ‘As you give, so shall you receive.’ It’s true. It doesn’t matter the size of the gift. It could be dropping coins into the Salvation Army bucket, giving $2 - $5 at the checkout of your grocery shopping, or mailing in a contribution to a charity.
Meet a friend for a cup of tea, coffee or cocoa at a local cafe. Dine with friends and family at a family owned restaurant. Go window shopping at boutique stores. Get your nails done with friends. All these will bring you and your friends joy while supporting your local business owners.
Where to Start
All of these make you feel better. And they definitely make those whom you are serving feel better. Why wait? Here are some connections to set your ideas into action:
Google ‘Travel’ or ‘Cheap Travel’. You’ll receive options that will likely have something that both resonates with your soul and your pocketbook. Try one of these.
Help the Homeless
Contact one of these agencies and ask how you can assist.
Rochester Area Interfaith Hospitality Network
Open Door Mission Samaritan House
House of Mercy
Volunteers of America
Share your voice at a benefit concert or chorale your own group and bring music to your neighborhood. Contact your local church to inquire about singing opportunities or try one of these:
Rochester Women’s Community Chorus
Taiwanese Choral Society of Rochester
Concentus Women’s Chorus
Maybe you’ve collected a book of recipes from your favorite aunt. If not, it’s never too late. Here are a few places to find fun & tasty recipes, as well.
Offer Inspiration to someone being hospitalized. Get a listing of those serving time at a local jail or prison. Then send them holiday greetings filled with inspiration!
Monroe County Jail
130 Plymouth Ave. South
Rochester, NY 14614
Monroe County Correctional Facility
750 East Henrietta Road
Rochester, New York 14623
Strong Memorial Hospital
- or -
Golisano Children’s Hospital
601 Elmwood Ave
Rochester, NY 14642
1000 South Ave
Rochester, NY 14620
Rochester General Hospital
1425 Portland Ave
Rochester, NY 14621
Entrances to grocery stores and shopping malls usually have someone dressed as Santa ringing a bell, carrying a bucket, hoping you will drop a few coins into. Here are a few charities that you can send bigger sums to.
Providing services and beds to women and their children surviving domestic abuse
Breast Cancer Coalition of Rochester offering free programs and events to cancer patients, survivors, and their families
Helping people in recovery from drugs and alcohol to get fit using exercise, yoga & meditation
Providing clean water to places where there is lack of sanitation
Offering food and food shelters to the hungry
A place to connect parents with children in need of a family
Teaching children how to play music
Providing sexual healthcare services to all
Supporting those who have served us in national security
Creating a supportive community for homosexual orientation
Rochester Children’s Scholarship Fund providing financial support to qualified RCSD high school students
Eat, Drink & Window Shop!
Here are a few places you can explore in the city.
These are just a few ideas to get you started. Be creative and come up with your own inspirations. You may start a tradition of your very own!
Alana Cahoon is the founder & creative coach of Grow 2 B U, LLC; leading professionals to bring prosperity, joy & balance to their lives. www.AlanaCahoon.com
Alana writes her monthly column 'Mind, Body, Spirt' for RochesterWomanOnline focusing on the balance of all 3 in a creative manner, filled with inspiration.