1. (Help others) love a parade. Venice’s annual holiday parade (November 24) and the Venice Christmas boat parade (December 1) each take a squadron of volunteers and sponsors to come together. Call 488.8780 for the holiday parade, 809.8100 for the boat parade.
2. Usher in the season by seating guests at the Venice Symphony’s concerts in November and December (488.1010). You can also revel in the voices of Exsultate! and then join the singers for a celebration afterward on December 2 (exsultate.org).
3. Create memories for a deserving child by donating to Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Sun Coast’s holiday party for “Littles.” Needs include monetary donations, unwrapped toys for youngsters and gift cards for teens. Call Janet, 488.4009.
4. Light up the Venice Arboretum. If you love decorating for the holidays, join Venice Area Beautification, Inc., in transforming West Blalock Park into a wonderland of festive lights. Call 207.8224.
5. Feed local families by pitching in money or time to Laurel Civic Association’s pre-Thanksgiving food distribution and free farmer’s market. Call Sandra at 483.3338. Or drop food at one of All Faiths Food Bank’s food barrels at area Goodwill locations.
6. Enjoy our warm winter weather and spend an afternoon volunteering outside. Find local “done in a day” service projects at YoudBePerfectForThis.org.
7. Instead of cookies or wine—or maybe in addition—buy a special person a $25 “Give Card” for Gulf Coast Gives, where they can donate the amount to a local charity project of their choice on the site. Visit GulfCoastGives.org.
8. Bring history to dazzling life during Historic Spanish Point’s “Holly Days & Mangrove Lights” programs. Greeters, poinsettias, white LED lights and pine garlands are among the needs. Call Laura, 966.5214 ext. 295 for details.
9. Brighten a child’s holiday by picking an angel from one of the Salvation Army’s angel trees at local businesses and purchasing gifts for the child. E-mail Kim_Friend@uss.salvationarmy.org for more on this and other ways to help.
10. Create a play place for children at the Venice YMCA preschool by making a donation toward the purchase of mulch to cover the playground’s safety surface. Call Michelle at 492.9622 x148.