Getting involved in a new neighborhood can take a bit of work, especially at a time when many people would rather meet digitally than on the sidewalks or in the grocery aisles at a local store. And when you move just before or during the holidays, it can be even more challenging to find your role in a new neighborhood. Check out these tips for how to give back during the holidays and get involved even when you’re the new family on the block.
Consider inviting all your new neighbors to a holiday party. Keep it simple and go with a classic potluck, asking everyone to bring their favorite seasonal dish to share. Or if you’re worried people might be skittish about digging into good food with people they don’t know (especially in light of the pandemic), hold an outside meet-and-greet and provide beverages.
You might be surprised at how many people would like to meet you and some of their other neighbors. You might be the catalyst that brings everyone together, and that’s a great way to give back for the holidays!
Consider signing up to volunteer at a rescue mission or other type of shelter. Serving food, making beds, or helping to clean up can be a way to give back to others any time of year.
The holiday season does remind others to be grateful for what they have, and that often translates to volunteering. So you might find that no one has a need for volunteers during the holidays, and in that case, you might consider donating items that are often needed.
This can be a great way to give back with the entire family. Call around and ask if local nursing homes or assisted living communities allow visitors, and consider bringing some holiday spirit along for the ride. Make ornaments to hand out or bring supplies to make ornaments with the residents. You might also offer to sit with individuals who haven’t had visitors in a while and listen to their stories, play some games, and enjoy hot cocoa together.
Ask around your neighborhood to see if anyone is up for singing holiday songs with you. Then, travel around to other homes to spread cheer and fun. You may pick up other singers along the way, and this is a great way to give back while making new friends.
If you’ve recently moved, especially close to the holidays, you might not feel you have time to develop new relationships immediately. But that doesn’t mean you can’t give back to people in your new town for the season.
Organizations that support angel trees or other giving opportunities make it easy to get involved. Simply look for the trees in local stores or other areas or watch the local news for announcements on these programs. Then, adopt a child or a family. The Salvation Army and angel tree organizations typically provide a list of items that people need or want. You simply have to make the purchase, potentially wrap the gifts (check the organization’s rules & guidelines), and deliver them to a central location by a certain deadline.
If you have children, one way to give back while meeting potential new friends is to volunteer at your child’s school. Often, schools send home paperwork at the beginning of each year asking for parents to volunteer for various functions, including helping with classroom holiday parties or school wide seasonal events.
If you moved after the school year started, you might have missed that paperwork. That doesn’t mean you can’t volunteer. Call your child’s school and let the office staff know you’re interested in volunteering and ask who you should talk to. They may be able to direct you to a PTA contact for more information or know of a need that you can help with. You might also email your child’s teacher and let them know you’re available and willing to help.
Bringing small gifts to your neighbors can be a lovely way to introduce yourself and your family and get to know some of the people who live in your area. These care packages don’t have to be elaborate or expensive. Instead, think about some of the small things your family loves or what you can give that shares something specific about your family.
For example, if you’re into bread baking and have mastered numerous complex loaf recipes, you might deliver a homemade loaf of bread with a jar of jam. Or your family could work together to create handmade ornaments to pass out through the neighborhood.
Let people know that you’re excited about moving into the neighborhood and be prepared with a few things you love about your new location. After all, the area is their home too, so sharing your excitement about it can help you create a common ground for building a future friendship and make others want to give back during the holidays too.
Buying a new home and moving can be a lot of work, and the holidays typically come with a lot of hustle and bustle of their own. Make sure you’re taking time this season to take care of yourself and your family as you get involved in a new community and find opportunities to give back for the holidays.
Taking care of yourself also means taking care of your new home, including insuring your home so you’re protected should anything happen. LemonBrew can help, so contact us for more information or to get started with a quote.