Hundreds of kids are in need of gifts and lots of red kettles are sitting empty at area stores.  Stepping up to fill these needs are just 2 of the simple ways you can give back and spread joy this Christmas season in the Rochester, Minnesota area.  Check out the full list of ways to help below...including one that is completely free!

Join the Minnesota Nice Challenge this December in Southeast Minnesota and help the Salvation Army of Rochester continue to help families this Christmas season

Showing some love and kindness is what this challenge is all about and you can do 1, 2 or all 3 of these fun activities to show some Minnesota Nice.

Minnesota Nice Challenge #1 - Get your loose change ready because the bells are ringing in Rochester, Bryon, Chatfield, and Stewartville for The Salvation Army.  Challenge yourself that every time you walk by a red kettle, drop a few coins or some dollars into the bucket.  Donations to the red kettles help support the health, housing, and human services programs in Olmsted County by the Salvation Army.

Credit: Craig Dirkes
Credit: Craig Dirkes
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Minnesota Nice Challenge #2 -   Donate toys or volunteer for the Toy & Joy Shop.  The Salvation Army needs your help making Christmas bright for every child in our community.  Gifts are needed for kids in our community, especially the older kids, and those can be dropped off at the big Christmas tree at the Apache Mall or you can drop them off at the Social Services Center, 115 First Avenue NE in Rochester now until December 22nd.  Shoppers, application takers, also Spanish speakers are also needed.  Contact Major Lisa Mueller at 507-288-3663 to volunteer for this event.

Credit: Craig Dirkes
Credit: Craig Dirkes
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Minnesota Nice Challenge #3 - Ring Bells at the Red Kettles for the Salvation Army in Rochester, Byron, Chatfield, or  Stewartville.  There is a time and a location for everyone and your time spent at the kettles helps raise an average of $100 per hour in support of health, housing, and human services programs at The Salvation Army in Olmsted County.  Get signed up to register to ring at registertoring.com or call 218-370-1093.

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One Million Lights Are Shining Bright at the GLOW Holiday Festival in Minnesota

It's one of the biggest light displays in Minnesota and this year, you have a chance to walk through and enjoy this amazing light feature at the Minnesota State Fairgrounds. Grab tickets for the event here but first, check out some of the amazing photos below and get a taste for the spectacular views you'll get to experience.