10 Ways to Give Back as a Family (Free Printable for Inspiration, Too!)

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More Giving

Looking for ways to give back? Here are some inspiring random acts of kindness ideas!

woman pointing to pay it forward printable

Throw kindness around like confetti! 🎊

Looking for ways to give back this holiday season? We’ve come up with a list of inspiring random acts of kindness so you can fill your community with positivity. Now more than ever people could use our help so this will be a great way to involve the whole family, focus your attention on helping others, and pay it forward.

Read on to feel inspired and grab our FREE printable before you get started!


girl leaving surprise money on a gas tank random act of kindness

We all know giving is so much more rewarding than receiving, so feel free to use our ideas as a helpful tool to start thinking about how your family can come together and model selflessness this season. I even made a free printable for inspiration plus a blank one if you’d rather come up with a unique list all your own!

Download my FREE Random Acts of Kindness printable now!

Or use the blank printable to create your own.

hand holding pay it forward printable

It’s worth noting that your ideas can be simple acts of kindness that don’t cost a thing or they can be bigger projects where you go all out! Regardless, any act of kindness will make a difference – no matter how big or small.

There’s no timeline for kindness, so you and your family can go at your own pace or set a goal date to accomplish your list.


1. Collect & donate unused household items and clothing.

clothes and household items to donate

This is something the whole family can easily participate in, and it’s also a great way to make room and declutter your home. Have the kids go through their toy box for unused toys, gather clothes that no longer fit, and don’t forget to check that game closet for ones collecting dust!

Make sure to also check out our 4-week clean-out challenge if you’re looking to do a serious detox in every room (don’t worry, we have a printable for that too). Then, donate to your favorite charity, or host a garage sale and donate proceeds.

Hip Tip: Speaking of donating, did you see our Reverse Advent Calendar? It’s the perfect idea for the holidays! ❤️


2. Deliver food to people in need.

groceries donated during COVID-19

There are a plethora of food banks needing your help or you could also consider calling your local shelter to see what food items are needed most. Better yet, if you’ve been stockpiling groceries in your pantry, this idea might not cost you anything if you can shop your own pantry.

You could also turn this idea into your very own food drive! Food banks can always use extra hands with organizing so get the family together, make some posters, and count and sort donations from loved ones to deliver the donations to the local food pantry.


3. Make a difference for an animal.

woman looking at dog

Sometimes those in need have four legs and a furry tail! You can help dogs and cats in many ways including fostering, adopting, or even volunteering for a couple of hours at an animal shelter near you. You can also consider donating other needed items to your local animal shelters such as blankets, food, and dog toys.

Hip Tip: We often post awesome pet-related deals so make sure to check them out before you purchase anything for your donation.


4. Lead a book drive.

little girl reading a book

Make sure everyone has books to read! Encourage literacy by collecting new and gently used books from your home, friends, neighbors, and family and then donate to your local school, library, or women’s shelter.

Better yet, you can put fliers out for a contactless pick-up and set a date to gather all the book donations.


5. Curate care packages for those affected by homelessness. 

making blessing bags with toiletries

Consider collecting small personal care items and compiling “Blessing Bags” using freezer bags for those affected by homelessness. Your family can help compile them by including items like travel-sized shampoo, a toothbrush, soap, granola bars, clean socks, gift cards for food, and more!


6. Visit a nursing home.

man holding a package in front of window with elder looking outside

Any surprise visit to a nursing home will delight someone’s day. Either show up with a little care package or grace them with your time – either way, it’ll be sure to brighten their day. Especially during the holidays when many are celebrating alone, make a special visit with the kids, go caroling in the halls, or deliver some handmade cards. Any will mean so much to someone in a nursing home.

*Please make sure to contact your local nursing home before making any arrangements to stop by as they might still have visitation limits to family and friends. Last year, we had to get creative and visit outside their window. 


7. Adopt or help a family in need. 

kids sitting at table looking at phone on tripod

Maybe there’s a family you know that is struggling or a parent who could use a little extra help. You could volunteer to babysit, tutor kids, help with housework, walk their dog, or even help with their yard work.

As another idea (and if your budget allows), consider surprising a family or person in need with some basic groceries or a grocery store gift card to help lighten the load! If you’ll be buying the groceries yourself, you can even plan for them to be delivered directly to their door!


8. Plan ways of surprise giving and acts of kindness.

girl sticking money to a gas tank random acts of kindness

Surprising random strangers unexpectedly feels so good! For ideas, you can grab some cash and leave it in unexpected places like a gas station or vending machine, pay for the person behind you in the fast-food or Starbucks drive-through line, or you could even grab some 5 or 10 dollar gift cards and hand them to strangers as you walk down the street!

Don’t have a budget for this? Surprise someone with a nice compliment, or a friendly smile – as those are totally FREE and can still turn someone’s whole day around. 🙂


9. Lift a soldier’s spirits by saying “Thank You”.

writing a soldier a thank you letter as acts of kindness

Write letters of gratitude or put together a simple care package to send to the troops. Check out websites like OperationGratitude.com or TheUSO.org for information on how to donate. Plus, this is even a great activity for kids to practice their writing skills! Win, win!


10. Run or walk for a cause. 

man running in marathon next to woman

Get you or the whole family moving together to benefit a great cause! Participate in a local run or walk that raises money for a charity that’s important to you and your family. Participants usually pay a registration fee and collect pledges, and in return enjoy a fun run or walk outdoors that’s likely to become a tradition year after year.

You can find upcoming events by searching on Facebook or head over to Active.com where you can search in your area and narrow it down by date. Plus, some charities are even hosting virtual races for those who don’t wish to leave their home.


Give back this season with this reverse advent calendar idea!


Lina has a Bachelor's Degree from Northern Arizona University with 10 years of blogging and photography experience having work featured in Today.com, Martha Stewart, Country Living, Fox News, Buzzfeed, and HGTV.


Join The Discussion

Comments 11

    • BobbyAnn34

      There are many things on this that I never thought of, like mac and cheese is great, but it needs milk and butter, stuff like that. I will put more thought into my donations. Thanks!!

    • Christine

      Thanks. This was really helpful.

  1. Amy

    Great ideas! Thanks!

    • Lina D (Hip2Save Sidekick)

      Thanks Amy!

  2. Momof3superkids

    Some very good ideas🌟Thanks! There’s something everyone in the family can do👍

    • Lina D (Hip2Save Sidekick)

      Yes! Agree and thanks for stopping by!

  3. Shoppingfan

    Thanks for these ideas. We already do several but it doesn’t hurt to always have additional ideas. Thanks 🙏🏾

    • Lina D (Hip2Save Sidekick)

      You’re so welcome!

  4. Carissa Parr

    Another idea is to volunteer for Lasagna Love. You bake as many or as few as your schedule will allow, for anyone who wants one. I’ve delivered to vets, cancer patients, young moms. All on my schedule. They’ve got a great system set up and my local leader is really organized.

    • Lina D (Hip2Save Sidekick)

      Wow this sounds very awesome – thanks for sharing!

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