The holidays are a time for family, friendship and love. More than that, though, they’re a time to widen the circle of those you care about to encompass those who need our help. Switching to a mindset of creating rather than consuming can make a big difference for ourselves as well as the world around us. We’ve focused before about the ‘side effects’ of volunteering — so we pulled together a few great ideas to make that a reality this holiday season.
Random Acts of Kindness
Did you know that there’s an entire foundation dedicated to encouraging random acts of kindness? Whether it’s paying for the meal of the person behind you in the drive thru line or offering a smile to a stranger who might need it, no kindness is too small.
Start With What You Know
Are there volunteer opportunities at work or through church? Consider participating in a toy drive or a meal service for those in need. You’ll likely already know the people involved, making it that much easier to stick with the volunteering.
Donate What You Can
For some, this means giving your time. For others, it might be donating money to a cause you believe in. There’s value in both, so don’t discount one over the other. A busy schedule doesn’t have to mean skipping out on the joy of the giving season.
Making the Holidays Merry for Others
Sometimes, all people need is a little bit of joy. Senior homes are often filled with people who are missing out on the joys of the holiday season. Perhaps their family lives far away, or they’re alone in the world. Visiting places like this can bring joy with the slightest effort. Plus, they probably play a mean game of bingo!
The holidays are a great time to focus on clearing things out of your space. Finding useful objects to donate to charities like Goodwill or the Salvation Army is a great way to make a bright future possible for those in your local community. Business-appropriate clothes could become an interview outfit for someone in need. Extra cans of food could be a meal for a family. Furniture you’re no longer using could furnish the apartment of a domestic violence victim. Plus, you’ll end up with fewer items cluttering your physical and mental space.
If you’re able to, donating blood can give others the most valuable gift: life. You can often request to be added to the organ donor list at blood drives, too. If you’re particularly ambitious, consider getting added to the Bone Marrow Registry.
There’s no wrong way to volunteer this holiday season. Every community has different needs, and each person has something different to offer. Just remember that you’ll be benefiting both others as well as yourself for every charitable action you take.