Want to give back this holiday season? Here are some ideas for acts of service that you can incorporate into your family or workplace’s Christmas traditions.
Christmas can be a wonderful time of year. However, it is easy to get caught up in the hustle and bustle of the season and lose track of what it is really about.
Whether you want to remind your kids of the reason for the season or are just looking for a way to give back, the holidays are a very popular time for do volunteer work.
You can volunteer on Christmas Day, but you can also volunteer in the days and weeks leading up to Christmas.
The true Meaning of Christmas should be helping others and spending time with friends and family. Volunteering and providing acts of kindness are a good way to achieve that.
In light of social distancing, some volunteer opportunities will be limited. You might not be able to be in person as much as you have in the past.
However, if you are willing to do more prep and behind the scenes work, you can still volunteer your time in a way that really makes an impact on others.
There are tons of Christmas service ideas for families, workplaces, and individuals. Here are a few to get you started!
Christmas Volunteering Ideas
Local Animal Shelter
Christmas is actually busy season for the animal shelter. Many pets are adopted as Christmas gifts.
We could chat about whether it is right or wrong to gift a pet, but the truth is that many animal shelters need all hands on deck during the holidays.
Our local shelter, for example, delivers pets from Santa on and around Christmas. This is something that volunteers can assist with.
There is also often increased work at the shelter to deal with a higher volume of pet turnover.
Most animal shelters require at least a little bit of training prior to volunteering. Contact them in advance to find out what opportunities there are.
You can always drop off pet food, toys, and towels to the shelters if they won’t let you volunteer in person.
Many organizations, such at Toys for Tots, give away free toys to those in need at Christmas.
This is great but this list is about volunteering and not donating.
One thing that you can do is offer to host an angel tree or gift drop off location. This works best if it can be done at a workplace or worship service. Or make it the theme for your holiday party!
These organizations often need help sorting and even wrapping gifts once they are donated. This can be a great active volunteer opportunity.
Visit a Nursing Home or Children’s Hospital
Nursing homes and hospitals can be very lonely places. Consider planning a visit to a location to sing Christmas carols, do crafts, or bring baked goods. It’s a great way to spread some holiday cheer and is really easy to do.
However, most of these locations will not be letting in volunteers this holiday season due to COVID restrictions.
Be sure to call ahead and see if they have any alternative volunteer opportunities available.
You might be able to come up with some creative ideas such as providing decorations for the halls to cheer the locations up for the season.
Help someone you know
This one can be tricky as you don’t want to be presumptive, but the most meaningful acts of service can be for people who are already in your circle.
You could shovel snow or mow the lawn of a neighbor. You could bake cookies or muffins for your mail delivery person. You might even spend time with someone who you know is lonely.
A lot of people overlook the people right around them when planning service, but it can often be really simple acts that make a big impact.
The Red Cross always needs blood donations. If you and your family, friends, or co-workers meet the qualifications for blood donation, it can be a life saving gift.
It might not seem like a holly jolly volunteer opportunity. But, since a Christmas song while you are donating.
There’s nothing more festive than knowing you saved a life this Christmas.
Ok, so this isn’t really volunteer work. However, it is definitely an act of service.
Many local businesses are suffering right now. By shopping at locally owned shops and dining at locally owned restaurants, you can really have a big impact on the life of a member of your community.
Make room for new presents
If your kids are lucky enough to get a lot of gifts for Christmas, this can be a great opportunity for them.
Before the holiday, go through their existing clothes and toys. Get rid of everything that they don’t want or need any more.
Donate it to organizations that might use it to stock clothing closets and toy gifts this holiday season.
Be sure to check out this guide on what to donate and what not to donate. Don’t burden charities with trash!
Writing letters can be a really meaningful way to donate your time around the holidays. You can write letters to the troops with a program like The Big Thank You.
Kids can create drawings or make their own cards. This is a way to let them get crafty and teach them about letter writing.
Habitat for Humanity
Habitat for Humanity helps to build homes for those who might not otherwise be able to achieve home ownership. They are an excellent organization that works in many communities.
Reach out to your local Habitat to see if there is a build that you can participate in. There are age minimums, but they may have opportunities that can work for your kids.
Outdoor volunteering may or may not work for you around the holidays, depending on your location! It’s a very pleasant time to be outdoors here in Charleston.
Another crafty volunteer opportunity is to make blankets. Project Linus has instructions for making no-sew fleece blankets.
They can be donated to nursing homes, homeless shelters, animal shelters, or anywhere where people or pets might use a blanket.
Did I miss any Christmas volunteering ideas?