It’s referred to as the most magical time of year - the dazzle of lights, the special songs in the air, and sharing gifts with the ones that we love.

However, it’s easy to lose sight of what really matters during the holiday season. That's why this year we're running The Gift of Giving Community Challenge.

Simply give in one of the 12 ways below and use the hashtag #GiftofGiving on social media to create a positive spirit of giving these holidays.

1. Gift someone your time

  • Making a conscious effort to spend time with friends and family doing things you love together.
  • A voucher for each of them to spend one on one time with them: a coffee date with Mom, morning adventure with Dad, movie night with your siblings.
  • Homemade voucher to mind your family/friend's kids: for parents, sometimes you just want a moment to breathe - this gift never goes unappreciated.
  • Volunteer during this time of year: so many worthy charities need extra help throughout the holidays. Find somewhere that aligns with your values and see what you can bring to the table to help.

2. Cook something for someone you love

  • Bake a treat. Gifts don’t always have to be material goods. Everyone loves receiving a sweet treat under the tree, and there are always nutritious options for stocking stuffers.
  • Make a meal. Putting a little love into food goes a long way, and there’s nothing nicer than unwinding with friends and family over a spread that you’ve cooked.
  • We’ve created a Christmas edit of some of our favorite, Food Matters approved recipes for the holiday season

3. Pass forward a book that you loved

  • Pass forward a book that you loved reading with a note inside. Let them know why you loved the book, and why you think they’ll love it too.
  • Gift your favorite read to friends and family. People love to receive gifts that are of sentimental value to the giver - if you’ve let them know it’s your favorite before, it’ll mean the world to them.
  • Drop off a book at a free little library if there’s one in your area. These community-run concepts are about giving when you can, and taking when you need - a stranger may pick up your much loved to read, but these little libraries are the gift that keeps on giving.

4. Write a note

  • Take the time to write a handwritten card or letter listing all the things you love about someone. It’s always a nice reminder to see why people keep you in their life.
  • Send a letter to a friend you haven’t spoken to in a while. Many grandparents used to send out a long letter to all of their friends at Christmas, telling them about their year, how the family is going, etc. Take a leaf out of their book these holidays.

5. Random act of kindness

  • Something small: hold the door for someone, offer your seat on public transport, complement an outfit you love - it’s the little moments that matter.
  • Pay for someone’s coffee. This might be while you’re out with a friend, or you might stop in somewhere that serves suspended coffee - where you can pay for one extra and someone in need can enjoy it later.
  • Leave a surprise. No matter the size, moments that gently remind someone that you care about them goes a long way during a stressful time of year.

6. Wrap a gift mindfully

  • Instead of reaching for store-bought wrapping, get creative and upcycle your wrapping. Some of my best gifts have come wrapped in layers of the local newspaper.
  • DIY wrapping: recycled paper hand-painted with watercolors and tied with twine is one of my favorite ways to let my creative juices flow and add a little extra love into each gift under the tree.

7. Gift something green

  • Take clippings of plants and re-pot them in pretty jars with shells/decorative stones. We can get creative with the beauty of nature - as long as we’re careful not to destroy it.
  • Eco-friendly gifts. As the world becomes more cautious with where their goods are coming from and the impact that they have, there’s a multitude of eco-friendly gifts to give. There may be a store in town offering up some eco-options, or you can think of something your loved one needs and find a green alternative.
  • Shop local and support small businesses. These often family-run stores rely on locals to support them through the holiday period and it’s lovely to think you’re giving to more than just the person receiving the gift.

8. Compliment someone

  • Kind words can turn someone’s day around. Be it a stranger on the bus or your soulmate - say something nice and really, truly mean it. It may carry them through the day.
  • Hug someone with heartfelt intent. Science says we need four hugs a day for survival, eight hugs for maintenance, and 12 hugs each day for growth. Give your loved ones a hug before you run out the door.

9. The gift of education

  • Inspire someone to transform their health by giving the gift of education! Share one of your favorite DVD's or buy a book you love for someone you love. 
  • If you sign up as an FMTV annual member before midnight, Friday, and get the Food Matters DVD Box Set shipped to your door for free. A great gift for a friend, loved one, or colleague.

10. Make something with love

  • DIY Gifts: what does this person love the most, and how can you help make it for them? Perhaps they’ve complimented something you’ve made before, or you’ve thought about buying them a gift but there’s a way you can make it yourself…
  • For the teachers, make bookmarks with writing what they liked about their teacher, adding drawings and laminating them. Then add it to a small basket of cookies the kids can help to make.

11. Donate to a charity

  • Research a local charity that aligns with your values and donate toys, clothes, old phones, or whatever they may need. Like volunteering, sometimes it may just be your time.
  • We love to support Vitamin Angels each year, to help save mothers and children under five from malnutrition. Across the globe, this valuable initiative has made a difference in over 70 million lives. You can donate, host a fundraiser or shop with one of their corporate partners to help give back these holidays.

12. Forgive & give gratitude

  • This year, we are making an effort to practice forgiveness. Carrying resentment into this next decade will only bring in the negative energy that comes with it. Learning to accept and move on from what no longer serves us will be the life-changing lesson of 2019.
  • Immerse yourself Chris Wark’s The Healing Power of Gratitude and Forgiveness for a guided opportunity to release some of this year’s challenges. The greatest gift you can give to yourself is undivided attention.

Want to join our community for the #GiftofGiving?

Our goal is to share the #GiftofGiving Challenge around social media to help get our community thinking about how we can all give back a little more around this time of year.

How to play?

  1. Give to others using one of the 12 ideas above.
  2. Each time you use one of the #GiftofGiving ideas, upload a pic to our Food Matters Community Facebook Group, Facebook, or Instagram with the hashtag #GiftofGiving