Christmas can be a busy, hectic time, a chore, another thing to do. It has become material – all about the gifts, the money and how many holiday parties there are to attend. Many people find the holiday season to be quite stressful and some find that Christmas has lost meaning for them.
By volunteering at Christmas, or doing a Christmas service project instead of some of the usual things, people can rediscover the meaning of Christmas for them and create new traditions around the festive holiday.
The Value of Volunteering at Christmas
Volunteering and helping others helps to take the focus off of the individual. It provides many benefits for both the volunteer and the organization. For the volunteer they may gain experience, new skills, or have the opportunity to meet new people. Volunteering can create a better understanding of people and the organization, improve communication skills or simply be a chance to help and feel good about doing it.
For the organization they are receiving much needed and appreciated help at a busy time of year, an opportunity to educate another person or persons about their organization, with the hopes that that person will share their knowledge with someone else.
The reasons people volunteer are many and different for everyone, and will depend on what the volunteer values and hopes to gain from their volunteer experience.
How to Volunteer at Christmas
When looking for a place to volunteer, it is best to do a little research. Find an organization that means something to the volunteer(s). If there is an element of caring then the volunteer will be more apt to work harder and will find their experience more enjoyable.
The volunteer should ensure that the amount of time they can volunteer is manageable. He should not offer to volunteer for 20 hours if he has only two available. He needs to make it realistic for himself so that he can meet his commitment without feeling stressed or another added thing to do.
The volunteer needs to identify what talents he has and would like to contribute and then match those with the organization or project.
When volunteering during the holidays, it can be beneficial to get the whole family involved. There are many opportunities for families and children to do a variety of volunteer projects during the Christmas season. Make sure that the opportunity appeals to and has something for everyone to do. The kids will really enjoy it and it is a great family activity around Christmas. For some, it could be the beginning of a new family tradition.
Remember that some organizations need volunteers year round so the first choice of organization may not work due to the fact that the organization may not wish to train volunteers for such a short time. But there are many organizations that can use the extra hands at Christmas and appreciate the help. A little time spent researching will greatly benefit everyone, making for an enjoyable volunteer experience.
Ideas and Organizations for Christmas Service Projects
There are lots of opportunities to volunteer for all ages and talents. Here are some ideas to help get started this Christmas.
One idea involves putting together a shoe box to send overseas. The Samaritan’s Purse does this every year in November. Pick up a pamphlet that explains how to do it, what to include and the deadline. Each family member can help pick an item or two that they would like to put in the box.
Another great holiday activity involves donating to a local toy drive. This is a great experience for kids to go and pick out a toy that they know is to be given to another child, whom they may not know.
Volunteering at the local homeless or drop in center can be a fulfilling holiday volunteer project. Often they need help at Christmas preparing/ serving meals, handing out gifts, or organizing donations. There is usually no cost to the volunteer other than the gift of time.
Parents may enjoy helping out at a kids Christmas party. Many community associations or non-profit organizations put on a Christmas party or event for children. They often need volunteers to help with games, crafts, etc.
Volunteers who are good with senior citizens may wish to spend time at the local senior’s home or hospital. Everyone enjoys a visit during the holiday season. Many people do not have family to come and see them. Go and visit a senior, take them out, play a game with them. The gift of time will mean a lot to them.
Holiday volunteers may also wish to help out at a Christmas Day Camp.. Again community associations and non-profits may offer day camps for kids over the holidays and are looking for helpers from making crafts to general supervision of the children. Either way a smiling face and an extra hand will be appreciated.
Christmas volunteering opportunities can also be created to suit an individual’s talents and interests. Perhaps there is a neighbor who needs help getting to the grocery store, shoveling their walk or would simply enjoy company. Organize a food or clothing drive that benefits an organization of choice. Creating a volunteer opportunity can be more rewarding when the idea has been generated directly by the volunteer or volunteers. Include the kids from the beginning by brainstorming ideas, if they contribute then they will be more apt to help and reap the benefits of the project.
Volunteering at Christmas
There are many opportunities to volunteer at Christmas and can reap many benefits for the volunteer. It is important to find a match with the volunteer and the opportunity as this will create the most rewarding experience. People who volunteer at Christmas find that they experience more joy and meaning in their holiday season, and enjoy giving back to their community. Individuals and families alike can all reap the benefits of volunteering especially at Christmas time.