The holidays are such a wonderful time to spend with family and friends, but they’re also a great time for reflection. A moment to look back at what we’re grateful for, what we did well and what we want to do next. A great way to not only reflect but to spend quality time with your family is to volunteer. There are so many ways to get involved, and who knows, maybe it will become a staple of your family outings that continues even after the holidays!

Start Small – Family Letter Writing Time

This is a pretty simple one, but its such an effective way to reach out to people in your life. Take about an hour with your family and think about someone in your life who you think would enjoy getting a letter unexpectedly. Perhaps a relative who won’t be able to spend the holidays with family, a friend you haven’t spoken to for a while, or maybe a few letters of appreciation to your local firehouse or post office.

Give Back and Build a Community

Looking for a fun playdate with your favorite school friends? Why not organize a food or toy drive? Get a group of families together and put together care packages for families in your community including toys, games and non-perishable food.  While the parents are organizing, ask the kids to decorate the boxes, either drawing a holiday scene or writing notes to the family who will be receiving the boxes.

Family Fun Run

Do you have more of an active family? Well, put that athleticism to good use! Sign up for a local race that’s not about how quick your mile time is or who gets to the finish line first. Scores of charities and companies throughout the country host different fun runs for the entire family including obstacle courses, games and meet and greets for participating members. It’s a great way to stay active during the winter months while at the same time raising money for causes you and your family are passionate about.

Check Out Local Resources

There’s a lot going on this time of year, so adding more to organize can feel pretty overwhelming. Don’t stress! This is supposed to be a fun way for your family to have new experiences together. Most organizations know that this can be stressful and have taken the guesswork out of it for you. Check out what your local communities are doing during the holidays and throughout the year and see what is the right fit for your family. Volunteer Match is a great place to start.

However you choose to give back this holiday, remember that it’s really about finding new ways to spend time with your family. Creating new traditions together, and what better way than to volunteer for the people in your community?