How to… Make Someone Else’s Holiday Better

By Lexi Reeve

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A lot of people this holiday season are having a hard time. Whether they’re suffering from unemployment, lower wages or shorter hours due to the lingering effects of the recession, there is less disposable income they have to spend on gifts for their families. So, if you want to give back this holiday, whether you have some extra money or some extra time, here is a list of ideas you can pick from to help your local community!

1. Buy a present for a child in need

There are a lot of places (usually your local mall) that will have a “giving tree” where a child in need lists off presents they’d enjoy getting for the holiday. That list is made into an ornament and hung on a tree, where you can pick one of the ornaments, buy the gift listed, and bring it back (unwrapped) to the volunteers who will make sure that the child gets the gift on Christmas! It ensures that kids in your community whose parents can’t afford to buy them gifts will have a happy holiday and wake up to something under the tree!

2. Volunteer in the community

If you don’t have any extra money to spend, try donating some of your time by volunteering at local organizations in your community! Whether that’s unpacking or delivering food at the food bank, singing Christmas carols at a retirement home, or serving food at a soup kitchen (such as the Portland Rescue Mission), it will be sure to bring a little happiness to someone and make their holiday a little brighter!

3. Donate old clothes to Goodwill

Most people who don’t have a lot of disposable income won’t want to buy themselves warm clothes this winter. During a time when the temperatures drop significantly, you can do your part by going through your closet, finding clothes you don’t wear anymore, and donating them to your local Goodwill.

4. Donate old blankets to a local animal shelter

If you get some new blankets this holiday, donate your old ones to an animal shelter! Not many people know this, but the most used item animal shelters go through are blankets, and oftentimes they can’t afford to buy new ones. If you’re a pet person, round up some old sheets or blankets you have lying around the house and help out animals in need! And hey, while you’re at it, why not consider adopting?

5. Volunteer for the Fireman’s Toy Drive

Many fire stations host an annual toy drive each winter where they collect toys to donate to sick children in local hospitals. For a children unable to spend Christmas at home with their family, these toys brighten up their holiday. Figure out whether your local fire station hosts one of these toy drives, then go ahead and buy a board game or a stuffed animal for a child in need!

The holidays are all about giving, but that doesn’t mean you have to limit yourself to giving only to family and friends. If you can find some extra time or money, charity will go a long way this winter to families less fortunate. Make someone else’s Christmas better by doing what you can to give back in your community.

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3 Must-Visit Places for Winter Break

By Lexi Reeve

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Tis the season! If you want to get into the holiday spirit this winter break, why not visit some major attractions in Portland, Oregon with beautiful light displays, Christmas carols, and lots of hot chocolate on the ready? Here are some of the best places to visit in Portland to get into the holiday spirit!

1. Zoo Lights

Every year, the Oregon Zoo transforms their park into a magnificent light exhibit filled with decorated animal figures, moving ornament displays, and plenty of places to buy hot chocolate! Guests are able to walk around the zoo to view the lights in more detail, but they also offer a train ride for visitors who want a more personalized tour of the exhibit (some displays are only viewable by train). With more than one million LED lights displayed throughout the zoo, you’ll want to grab some mittens and head down there, fast!

2. Peacock Lane

Located in Portland, Oregon, Peacock Lane is a must visit winter break destination for the Oregonians lucky enough to know about it. Every house on this lane has been setting up Christmas lights since the 1920’s, and each house usually has a different theme. Whether it’s a Charlie Brown Christmas, or the characters from the Grinch, you won’t want to miss out on seeing these spectacular displays! You can either walk, drive, or take a carriage ride through the lane.

3. Grotto Festival of Lights

If you’re religious, you’ll definitely want to visit the Grotto Christmas Festival! Another walk-through event in Portland, Oregon, the Grotto is the largest Christmas choral festival in the world and features numerous nativity scenes to view, as well as five concerts each night in the indoor chapel. There’s also a petting zoo, puppet show, and outdoor caroling for the kids!

Which one will you be checking out? Be sure to let us know!