The Christmas spirit often sparks a good deal of generosity in most of us. In this season of giving and spreading cheer, many of us may choose a charity to donate to or decide to sponsor an underprivileged child for Christmas. 

There are a plethora of charities to choose from, especially locally and especially this time of year. The Department of Human Resources can be a great place to start if you decide you have a little extra to spend this season and you have a giving heart. Many foster families could use a little extra help, not only during Christmas but even at the start of the school season or anytime the weather changes and it’s time to buy children new clothes or school supplies. 

Many families in need will also turn to DHR to register for different programs and charities throughout the county to ensure their child will receive Christmas gifts this year.

If you have a heart for animals, the county’s first animal shelter is a great cause to give to this season as well. The shelter recently took part in a bed drive and asked for help in purchasing pet beds for the cats and dogs currently housed at the shelter. They are also in need of pet food and kitty litter.

There are also other ways you can give without spending very much or even any money at all. Hospitals, in-care and rehabilitation facilities have patients who may not be fortunate enough to be able to spend the holidays with their own family members. A simple visit and the donation of your time could mean the world of difference to them. This version of giving could benefit a mental patient or homebound citizen as well.

In the season of giving, many of us will find that the more we open our hearts to others the more we end up receiving ourselves. It’s no surprise that lending a smile or a warm hug to someone else can make your own smile shine all the brighter. The old adage, “laughter is contagious,” can also be said about joy in general. Make someone else’s Christmas as happy as your own, and you may find yourself laughing and smiling more yourself.

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