I love holiday traditions. Not only that, but the holidays are one of my favorite times of year. My family gathers and we spend time together. During this season, friends, faith leaders and mentors have challenged me to stop and be present. In the United States, Christmas is a time to spend with family, friends and, eat good food and give gifts. As someone committed to the Christian faith, it is also a time to reflect and celebrate Christ’s birth.
Whether you celebrate Christmas, a different Holiday tradition or simply the joy of being with family we have to admit it is so easy to get caught in the busyness. Several years ago, my entire family decided to do something non-traditional for Christmas. We decided to stop giving gifts at Christmastime. Instead of giving gifts we decided to focus on spending more time serving each other. Last year, we each picked a cause or non-profit organization to support. Going around in a circle, we drew names one by one. Each person agreed to learn about their selected family member’s cause and donate to the cause or organization on their behalf. For me personally, the joy of this experience came from the opportunity to teach my niece and nephew the importance of thinking about others and learning about global issues. I shared with them how many young girls and boys don’t have an opportunity to learn and go to school like they do. I talked with them about how so many girls don’t have a choice of when to get married or have a family. I showed them simple and kid-friendly videos related to issues like hunger, trafficking and children who don’t have access to a good education.
Not only during this season but every day we can affect change for women and girls around the world. Simple acts of understanding, justice and mercy can go a long way. This year, consider making giving back to women and girls a part of your Holiday traditions. Below are 12 simple ways you can choose to do just that.
1. Start a conversation
Whether you choose to speak with your children, faith group, friends or nieces and nephews, you can make a difference simply by sharing about the life of a woman or girl living in a different part of the world or in your own neighborhood.
2. Invest time
Consider volunteering your time to help an organization or serve an individual either near or far.
3. Learn about incredible organizations
There are so many wonderful featured organizations in the Girls’ Globe network working to empower women and girls. Take time to learn about them, read their posts and consider supporting their work.
4. Create new traditions
Does your family watch Christmas movies during the holidays? Consider switching it up and watching a documentary like A Path Appears or The Mask You Live In to learn more about important issues facing young women, men and communities around the world.
5. Support a holiday campaign
There are so many organizations who launch campaigns during this season. Check out the creative Dressember campaign to fight the issue of trafficking and support the International Justice Mission or Femme International’s holiday catalogue.
6. Use your talents
Do you have a hobby? What are you passionate about? Consider using your talents to raise awareness about issues affecting women and girls around the world.
7. Write a letter
Do you know someone working to empower women and girls in a different country? Write them a letter to encourage them in their work.
8. Make it a family affair
Get your whole family involved in the process. This can be a unifying way to decide what issues your family wants to prioritize and support.
9. Raise your voice
Are you a young woman from Africa, Asia, Middle East or Latin America and passionate about writing? Consider joining Girls’ Globe as a blogger.
10. Build community
Meet new people who are also concerned about similar issues. Together creating a collaborative effort to empower women and girls.
11. Make room in your budget for giving
This is so important. If you are able, consider making room in your budget for giving financially. This is a sustainable way to invest in long-term change for women, girls and communities.
12. Be present
One of the greatest things you can do is be present. Pay attention to the issues and needs around you. Is a girlfriend or family member struggling this time of year? Be present with those women and girls around you. Sometimes one of the greatest things you can do is be present and listen.
Cover photo credit: Andrew Seaman, Flickr Creative Commons