Spread Goodwill at Christmastime

Spread Goodwill at Christmastime

Make this Christmas about more than just traditional holiday giving with family and friends. Find ways to reach out to those who won’t ask for your help, but who need it the most. You’ll gain a deeper appreciation for your own life when you help others.

Christmas volunteering

Take some time on Christmas Day (or during the holidays) to make a difference in the lives of others. Your kids will learn a valuable lesson about the true meaning of Christmas.

  • Serve food at a homeless shelter. Many communities have a homeless shelter or organization that serves holiday meals on Christmas Day for the homeless.
  • Deliver a meal. Meals on Wheels always needs volunteers, or you may be aware of a senior living alone without family who would appreciate a home-cooked meal at Christmas and a little company.
  • Visit a nursing home. It’s estimated that more than 50 percent of seniors living in nursing homes never get visitors. Take along your dog or cat if they qualify as people-friendly as a way to actively involve young children who might feel shy around older people.

new toysHoliday giving

For every new toy your kids get this year, why not donate an old one to charity? Other ideas for meaningful holiday giving include:

  • Toys for Tots. This well-known national campaign collects gifts for children from disadvantaged families. If you don’t have a drop-off center in your town, get more involved by starting your own at Marine Toys for Tots.
  • Heifer International. While there are many national organizations in need of contributions, when you make a monetary donation to Heifer International, your family will get to choose an animal that will aid a family living in poverty.
  • Adopt a family. Organizations such as the Salvation Army make it possible for you to sponsor a whole family for the holidays by filling their wish list for food and clothing.

Extend volunteer holidays for families

If you feel that Christmas is a gratifying volunteer holiday for families, make a commitment of your time and money during the rest of the year as well.

  • Clothing. Make a habit of donating lightly used but outgrown clothing to organizations such as Goodwill or a local abused women’s shelter.
  • Decorations. Inspire your kids and their friends to make decorations for the many other holidays during the year. Donate their handiwork to a local nursing home or hospital where their efforts will brighten someone’s day.
  • Animals. As a part of your holiday giving, don’t forget homeless animals in shelters. While they might not be getting all the love and attention they need, you can help by collecting and donating food, toys and bedding to your local Humane Society or other animal organization.

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