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5 Easy Ways to Give Back During the Holidays

We’re making a list and checking it twice…and totally forgetting that this time of year isn’t all visions of sugarplums for lots of folks. An easy way not to get caught up in the present-buying and party-going? Help out those less fortunate than yourself. Here are five easy ways to give back during this whirlwind season.

RELATED: Here’s How Much to Tip Everyone in Your Life This Holiday Season

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Donate Winter Coats

Whether it’s through a local charity drive or just dropping off old toppers at Goodwill, giving away gently used winter jackets (um, hello, bright-orange trench coat) to those in need is as easy as cleaning out the hallway closet during a slow Saturday. 

To locate a coat drive: onewarmcoat.org

TinyPrints

Use TinyPrints for Holiday Cards

You’re already planning on sending holiday cards (yep, even if you don’t get around to it 'til 2018), so why not order from this website? TinyPrints is donating a quarter of the proceeds of certain cards to Baby2Baby, a charity that provides low-income kids with diapers, clothing and other necessities. 

TinyPrints (from $1.39/card)

Beam

Download the Beam App

Wouldn’t it be nice to donate your spare change to a charity you love every time you grab a coffee? This new app is making it as easy as dropping quarters in a tip jar. Beam sends users a push notification when they visit certain restaurants and stores that partner with the app. Users can then open the notification to view a list of non-profits they care about and donate a portion of their purchase to that cause.

Get the app

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Visit a Soup Kitchen or Food Bank

Overbought too many cans of cranberries? Have a few leftover bags of pita chips? Drop off pantry items at a local food bank, or sign up for meal assistance at a nearby soup kitchen. 

To locate a Feeding America Food Bank: feedingamerica.org

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Adopt a Letter Through Operation Santa

For over 100 years, the U.S. Postal Service has allowed charities and individuals to “adopt” a child’s letter to Santa. All you have to do is respond to the letter (sign it “Mr. Claus” with a North Pole return address, of course). You can even choose to fulfill the child’s gift request.

To locate an Operation Santa post office: about.usps.com 

RELATED: How to Minimize the Crush of Holiday Gifts Without Feeling Like a Total Grinch