Your Guide to Giving Back This Holiday Season

With the holidays upon us, here are some ways you can help brighten the season for all Coloradans.

December 7 2015, 1:27 PM

Give a little bit. —Courtesy of Shutterstock

'Tis the season for giving and giving back. Most of us would like to find ways to do some good in our community, but it's tough to know where to begin. Below you’ll find a list of ways to give back in the Denver metro area and beyond. This list is by no means exhaustive, so let us know in our comment section how you like to help out during the holidays and year-round.

Choose a Cause During Colorado Gives Day

This year Colorado Gives Day falls on Tuesday, December 8, but it's hardly a one-day event. In partnership with more than 1,800 Colorado nonprofits, CGD shows how people can make philanthropy a year-round ambition, both individually or by encouraging employers to participate. Search the profiles of local organizations (all of which are updated on an annual basis), and find a cause that speaks to you. 

Adopt a Family

Numerous local groups have established programs that invite volunteers to contribute to gift drives for local families, teens, or seniors. Among them are:

  • Capitol Hill United Neighborhood's Santa Claus Shop accepts monetary and gift donations for kids ranging from infant through 11 years old at numerous locations around the Denver Metro Area.
  • The Tennyson Center for Children asks do-gooders to fulfill various wish lists for their Operation Santa program.
  • At Hope House of Colorado, you can adopt a teen mom and her family (all families are adopted for this year), or donate gift cards to the organization.
  • Warren Village sets up a store from its donated goods where families can shop for free (volunteers are also needed to help at the Holiday Shop on December 12).
  • SafeHouse Denver has an updated wish list for holiday needs. 
  • Volunteers of America's Basket of Joy program delivers 5,280 nutritious gift baskets to limited-income seniors in the Metro Area.
  • The City of Denver allows citizens to adopt a family, teen, or senior through GIVE Denver every holiday season (all requests have been fulfilled for 2015, but they are still accepting general gift donations and monetary contributions). 

Frequent Philanthropic Businesses 

Do your holiday shopping at shops and stores—such as these in Wash Park—that make a point of donating some of their profits to various charitable causes.


Whatever the time of year, there's always a need for hands-on help (plus, it's proven that giving back helps you feel good). Visit websites such as VolunteerMatch.orgMetro VolunteersMile High United Way, the Food Bank of the Rockies or the Denver Rescue Mission to find places near you where your generosity can be put to use. During the holidays, you can also sign up to visit a local nursing home, hospital, or youth center to spread some cheer through Holiday Visits

When in Doubt, Google It

A few searches keyed to your particular interest or area should turn up no shortage of outlets and opportunities for you to make a difference during the holidays and beyond. For more ideas, check out our weekly Get Involved series, which points readers toward charitable events and opportunities in the Denver area. 

(Find the perfect present for everyone your list in 5280's gift guide)

Follow 5280 editor-at-large Luc Hatlestad on Twitter at @LucHatlestad.