The holiday season is a favorite time of year for many of us. It’s a season of kindness, giving, donating…and gathering.

And it’s that quality time with family and friends that makes the memories; more than the gifts given away, it's the moments spent together.

But not everyone experiences that joy.

Many people are not invited to gather—and feel loneliness, not love—this time of year. And some of them are right next to us—at the store, at the office, at our place of worship, in our classroom.

What can we do in response to this silent despair? It can be as simple as initiating a gathering, and inviting others to it. Here are some ideas:

Throw a party. Invite everyone you know. Decorate cookies. Sing songs. Talk and laugh. It’s a great way to connect with others you know and remind them that they’re an important part of your life.

Invite someone to share a meal. Open your dinner table to someone. Meet someone at a restaurant. Few problems do not seem smaller after a shared meal and laughter.

Go volunteer. Grab some friends or family and volunteer locally. Spend a day—or even an hour—gifting your time to someone else.

So let’s “gather”—a word that in it’s original sense meant to unite. And who doesn’t agree we could use a little more uniting in our world right now?

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