The holidays can be the perfect time to have some fun while helping others.

UNT lecturer Laura Keyes has offered some suggestions for fun ways to get out and help people, as well as opportunities to teach children the joy of giving during the holiday season.

"Everyone has some charity to give back to the world. The holiday season is a perfect time to do something to make a difference in our communities. Giving back helps others and reduces your own levels of stress,” she says.

Some of her suggestions for ways to give back, either alone or as a family activity, include:

Lt. Col. Sandra Bonney, Chair of the UNT Aerospace Studies Department and commander of the Air Force Reserve Officer Training Corps Detachment, offers several ways to offer support to military members, whether they are at home or abroad during the season.

  • Volunteer to serve a meal at the local VFW or American Legion.
  • Sponsor a Wreath for a Fallen Soldier (Wreaths across America)
  • Send a Card Through Holiday Mail for Heroes
  • Operation Christmas Spirit supports local military families by: “Adopting” over 100 families and fulfilling their Christmas wish lists with gifts for all family members and gift cards to do their own shopping; sponsor gifts and crafts at unit holiday parties; “Adopt” single Marines and Sailors, giving them gifts and gifts cards to celebrate whether near or far from their families.
  • Operation Homefront offers many programs for military families throughout the year and Christmas.
  • Adopt a Military Family through Soldiers’ Angels
  • Donate Prepaid Calling Cards to Troops Abroad through VFW’s Operation Uplink
  • Be kind. Thank a veteran.
  • Call a local USO branch or area Armed Services Recruiter. They may have a local donation program list available.
  • Reach out to local military hospitals where disabled vets are in recovery. There are often pre-determined donation lists consisting of things service members may need to aid in their recovery, such as blankets, gloves, DVDs, cookies and home baked goods, socks, and much more.

Keyes and Bonney are just a couple of the many faculty and staff members at UNT whose expertise is widespread and includes several aspects of holiday preparation and celebration.