The holiday season may not seem as jolly this year due to COVID-19 restrictions, so how can we share positivity, good cheer and hope to help make the season brighter?

Responding to others with generosity and kindness are key to spreading the spirit of hope.

Giving that comes from the heart benefits the recipient and uplifts the bestower. Below are some ideas. If you would like to share your own ideas, please visit Crow Wing Energized on Facebook and note them in the comments.

Volunteer time at places like the Sharing Bread Soup Kitchen or donate resources to help with their mission to feed the hungry (https://www.sharingbread.com/donations). Second Harvest North Central Food Bank also serves the hungry in Crow Wing and surrounding counties (https://secondharvestncfb.com/about-us/who-we-are/).

Vita Harrison, age 7, reads a story to an older person.  Submitted photo
Vita Harrison, age 7, reads a story to an older person. Submitted photo

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Share your smile and positivity with a note of gratitude or hope on social media. If you have pets or children, include them in a photo. Share posts from social media causes that are uplifting.

Give blood or plasma to the American Red Cross. (https://www.redcrossblood.org)

Share messages of recognition, hope and encouragement with frontline workers … including police, firefighters, health care staff, food industry, grocery store workers, teachers, etc. (Kudos to students from St. Francis of the Lakes Catholic School who shared chalk art drawings and messages at Essentia Health-St. Joseph’s Medical Center.)

RELATED: Chalking up positive messages

Give to the Mid-Minnesota Women’s Center. Find a specific needs list online. (http://midminwomenscenter.blogspot.com/p/in-kind-giving.html)

Send a handwritten card wishing someone a good day. Making handmade holiday greetings is a good activity for young and old alike and having it intergenerational can minimize the mess.

Share talents — read, sing, or play an instrument for others. If you or your child are interested in communicating with older people who are shut-ins via FaceTime, contact Karen Johnson, CWE program director via email at Karen.Johnson@EssentiaHealth.org. (Through a Central Minnesota Council on Aging grant, iPads were purchased for two senior care facilities to help those in memory care connect with family and friends.)

For bird lovers, collect pinecones, add a string to hang, coat in peanut butter and roll in birdseed. These can be gifts for others, or simply hung on trees for fine, feathered friends.

A pine cone with peanut butter and bird seeds to help feathered friends through winter. Submitted photo
A pine cone with peanut butter and bird seeds to help feathered friends through winter. Submitted photo



If you prefer a humble, not glamourous approach, caring for our Mother Earth by picking up litter makes a difference. This can be easily accomplished by strolling through a park and filling an upcycled grocery bag. The side benefits are fresh air and exercise.

Purchase gift cards from local, small businesses for yourself and others.

RELATED: Chamber launches Cuisine Cash program to help local businesses

Create a legacy. Are you blessed with ample financial resources? Connect with Brainerd Lakes Area Community Foundation, established in 1998, to create a legacy and lasting impact. Find more information online. (https://www.communitygiving.org/BLACF)

Model good self-care. This makes for a healthier, happier, best YOU and sets a good example for your family and friends.