November is a great time to be thankful for friends, family and Arizona weather. We like to remember how great it is to be Arizonans by throwing shout outs to the local organizations that make our communities unique. This holiday season, take advantage of these easy ways to get involved locally and create positive change. You might meet new friends, discover a favorite hangout or find that perfect holiday gift.

Shop Local Give Local 2014

5. Volunteer for the holidays.
Do you or your friends and family want to perform outreach during the holiday break? Volunteering can be one of the most rewarding pastimes of all. It’s a win/win endeavor. Established local charitable organizations in the Valley include St. Mary’s Food Bank who hosts a Super Saturday Turkey Drive, and St. Vincent de Paul with an annual Turkey Tuesday on November 25. In most cases, children are welcome to come and lend a helping hand too, but make sure to check with the organization. Why stop there? Families Giving Back is a great website for leads on ways to volunteer year-around. Your community will thank you.

4. Paint the Town!
Being charitable can be as easy as watching your favorite movie with a group of other cool kids. The National Comedy Theatre Phoenix is showing Ghostbusters 2 on Thursday, December 18 at the First Time Film Club with special guests, the AZ Ghostbusters. In addition to uninhibited fun, there will be a toy drive and charity raffle. Admission is $8. Better yet, get in free with a toy donation. If you prefer to wake up early and take advantage of the awesome weather, consider signing up for the 11th Annual Anthem Turkey Trot at the Anthem Community Center. Those who bring a non-perishable food item for The Foothills Foodbank earn free admission. All participants that donate will go in the draw for some great raffle prizes.

3. Be Kind to Animals.
The holiday season is a great time to spoil our loved ones, including those furry, feathery and scaly friends. Treat your own pets with goods from an Arizona based boutique like Noble Beast. This time of year is also perfect for reaching out to animals in need. Local animal welfare organizations pull out all the stops with great ways to give back to our fellow creatures. Now through December 31, HALO Animal Rescue waives all fees to adopt pit bull mixes as part of their Adopt-A-Bull program. The Arizona Animal Welfare League and SPCA does their part to create a world where there are no homeless dogs and cats. Check out one of their Bark Break events at Civic Space Park hosted by Downtown Phoenix Inc. and City of Phoenix Parks and Recreation Department.

2. Spare the Turkey and Spoil Yourself.
Speaking of kindness to animals, here’s your chance to omit them from your holiday feast. Local vegan restaurant and bakery, Green hosts a day of fun and compassionate cuisine at the 7th annual thanksLIVING celebration! Feast on a delicious multi-course gourmet meal and relish every turkey-free bite. Enjoy music, vendors and family crafts. Herbivores and omnivores alike are welcome.

1. Be a Localist!
Local First Arizona (LFA) graciously outlined the best ways to stay local while shopping and painting the town. Check out 6 Ways to Go Local this Thanksgiving and learn how easy it is to support our homegrown businesses and keep revenue in Arizona. The LFA Localist program is another way to stay in the local loop with awesome events, mixers and deals. Annual memberships are a steal at $20. Everyone who is anyone is hip to the great things that LFA does for our state. Find out how you can join in!

As a local business ourselves, Bookmans is excited for opportunities to partner with other Arizona-based businesses and organizations. Join the Shop Local, Give Local cause and help us build an even better community.