Between putting up the Christmas tree, buying gifts for the whole family, and baking holiday cookies, this season of year can quickly turn into a chaotic, stress-inducing period. It’s really easy to lose track of what’s really important.
The most beautiful part of the holiday season is the spirit of giving. And giving to those who need help the most is truly the most quintessential thing you can do this time of year.
The Best Ways to Volunteer This Holiday Season
We have a dozen suggestions of how to incorporate the gift of giving into your holiday season! Some are more involved than others—choose what works best for you and your family!
These ideas will not only make an impact on the lives of others, but will also strengthen your own family bond and provide a chance for your family to enjoy the experience of making a difference.
1. Make Holiday Cards for Veterans, Hospice Care or Children’s Hospitals
A fun & easy way to involve the whole family in the spirit of the holidays is by busting out the pens and paper and making holiday cards!
There are many organizations that love to receive hand-drawn cards during this time of year. The American Red Cross hosts a Holiday Mail for Heroes each year to send letters to members in the Armed forces, veterans, and their families. Reach out to your local Red Cross chapter if interested!
Other opportunities include this one in which a hospice center is looking for volunteers to send handmade holiday cards for patients!
A delightful evening of coloring with the whole family will truly make this season special.
2. Throw a Holiday Party & Raise Money
A charity called Culinary Care is looking for people to host get-togethers and raise money for families battling cancer.
In their own words, “we are looking for charitable individuals, like you, to help! By hosting a holiday get-together benefiting Culinary Care, you can bring your loved ones together for a feel-good night of fun, while also raising critical funds and awareness for our mission”.
Break out the eggnog, turn on the holiday music, and invite friends over to raise a little money for those in need!
3. “Adopt” a Family & Go Shopping!
If this is your favorite time of year because you love buying presents—this is the opportunity for you!
Many organizations such as the Toys for Tots, Salvation Army or Saint Francis Community Service provide programs that allow you to “adopt” a family’s Christmas wish list and purchase the presents for them.
Many children love going shopping for others this time of year! This is a wonderful opportunity to show your kids the importance of giving.
4. Clean Out Your Closet & Donate Gently Used Clothes
One of the easiest ways to give back this holiday season is by doing something you’ve been putting off for a while—cleaning your closet!
Programs such as the Warm Coats Warm Hearts Drive sponsored by Burlington Coat Factory offer a way to put this chore to good use. By donating a gently worn coat at one of their stores, you will also get 10% a new coat!
These donated coats are distributed immediately to people in your local community. So get your family together and go through that old coat closet. It will help someone in your hometown stay warm during these chilly winter months.
5. Make a Blanket for Dementia Patients
If you love to sew, knit, or crochet, this is a fabulous opportunity to do something kind for others in need. If you do not know how, you can always easily make no-sew fleece blankets!
Organizations such as Operation Gratitude, Project Linus, Warm Up America, and many more are in need of handmade blankets.
One opportunity here is providing a chance for you and your family to donate homemade blankets to dementia patients. Many residents do not have family or friends to brighten up their holiday spirits. So by sending a blanket, you are providing a unique, meaningful gift that could light up someone’s day.
6. Spread Some Holiday Cheer by Visiting Nursing Homes
Visiting older adults in nursing homes and residences will help your children become comfortable with our gaining communities. Children can often bring much joy and cheer to those who may be isolated or lonely.
Reach out to your local nursing home or assisted living facility to see if there are any ways you can visit the residents. Perhaps bring some homemade cookies or an arts & crafts project.
Afterwards, reflect with your family on what they learned from the experience. This is something that can truly strengthen family bonds!
7. Create a Giving Box
In your home or office, set up a cute, decorated box designed to collect loose change. Tell your friends and family about it! And then anyone who donated gets a chance to vote on the charity the money is donated to after the holidays.
This is such a fun way to raise money for a good cause and start conversation around the importance of giving to charity!
8. Foster a Furry Feline or Puppy
Nonprofits such as Love Mutts Rescue Inc. are looking for families with loving homes to foster a dog or cat. And during this joy-filled season, what could be better than a new fuzzy friend?
Love Mutts Rescue Inc saves cats and dogs from kill shelters and provides them with a temporary home until they can find a permanent family to love them! By helping out a cat or dog in need, you will be saving a precious life.
9. Bring Joy to All with Baking
An easy way to spread holiday joy is through baking! Find a friend or acquaintance that could use some cheering up or residents of a nursing home, veterans’ home, homeless shelter, or women’s shelter.
Reach out to the organization to set up a good time to drop off the goodies then get to baking!
10. Visit VolunteerMatch.com for Local Opportunities
Perhaps the very best way to volunteer this time of year is by helping out your local community! VolunteerMatch.com is a great resource for finding local charities and nonprofits to help out during this holiday season. You can choose from a list of causes that you care about and make a difference right in your own hometown.