Food banks, toy drives and baskets for struggling families are fantastic ways to help. You can participate with any church, fire or police department, local business or non profit. If you can’t afford to buy something, call to see if you can spend a few hours wrapping presents, sorting donations or driving items where they need to go. It’s easy and it doesn’t have to cost you money. There is a fantastic Christmas Bike program that is an all volunteer army of folks who donate, assemble and deliver bikes to local kids in need.
Consider helping out with a Christmas tree angel program at a local grocery store or your workplace. Just pick a name off the tree and make someone's holiday wishes come true.
Have some time on your hands? Feel a little lonely this time of year? Why not call ahead and stop by a local assisted living facility or nursing home and visit with the residents? Bring a stuffed animal, hand cream, cookies or just yourself. You could also bring a holiday book to read to residents or if you like to sing come join in singing holiday songs.
A favorite family past time is admiring the beautiful holiday decorations in the evening. Find some older folks or kids in your neighborhood who can’t get out much and offer to drive them around for an hour or so one evening. If you're not sure where to start, your HOA, church or community organizations might know who needs help. Across the county there are eldercare organizations like Meals on Wheels who keep tabs on older folks. I realize you need some preplanning for this but I guarantee you there is someone out there who would dearly love your company.
I know we're all busy so give yourself a reasonable goal. Sit with your family and have everyone come up with one idea of giving. I can almost guarantee that once one good deed of giving is complete you will feel that urge to start another. You just never know the real circumstances confronting people right now. It can be as simple as not being able to spend the holidays with family due to travel expenses or trying to figure out how to make the holidays feel 'normal' for their kids. Don't forget about the homeless shelters, hospitals, rehab centers and animal rescue groups. Take a look at those index cards pinned up at your Post Office. People are willing to work, they need help, there is need everywhere, you'll see it if you stop and really look.
December continues to be full of fun activities at the Rural Heritage Center, the Geneva Community Center and the Museum of Geneva History. You can find yoga, meditation, square dancing, art classes, computer and exercise classes. Bring yourself or bring a neighbor who needs a change of pace.
The holidays can be stressful but Geneva has dozens of ways to stay cool and calm. Last but not least check out a new event at the RHC-Home Party Extravaganza Wednesday from 6:30 to 9 p.m. where you can learn about shopping and gift opportunities right here in the area. Over 20 home-party sellers will be on hand offering food, gifts, decorations and fantastic displays just in time for the holidays.