Why Volunteering At Christmas Is Important: 7 Things You Can Do

Why Volunteering At Christmas Is Important: 7 Things You Can Do
Summary: 'Tis the season to be jolly…and give back! Here are 7 ideas for volunteering at Christmas time and 3 things to keep in mind before you go!

Volunteering At Christmas: 7 Ways To Give Back

Christmas is a heartwarming season that is all about goodwill and giving back. While we are lucky enough to have friends, family, and a warm home in which we can celebrate the holidays, others are not so fortunate. Putting some effort into volunteering at Christmas, or as early as Thanksgiving, can have a greatly positive impact on many people’s lives. Apart from the obvious benefits to the community, volunteering, in general, can help you connect with others and boost your self-esteem as well as physical and mental health.

So, what’s holding you back from volunteering this Christmas season? Surely it must be the fact that you don’t know where to begin. Don’t worry, we assure you that there are numerous opportunities for volunteer work in your area. In this article, we share a few places that could use an extra hand during the holidays and all year round.

Places You Can Volunteer At This Christmas

1. Food Banks

Food banks (or soup kitchens) are a popular choice for volunteering and with good reason. They provide an essential lifeline to underprivileged people who live in poverty and/or are homeless. Food banks are usually on the lookout for extra hands, especially during the busy holiday season, for volunteers who can help cook and distribute food or sort through donated goods.

2. Homeless Shelters

A warm home to protect you from the freezing winter nights is not a given for everyone. However, there are many things you can do for the homeless. Contact your local night shelter and ask if you can cook or help transport some warm meals to homeless people in the area. In addition, you can hand out blankets, jackets, and gloves to help them combat the cold.

3. Local Hospitals

Hospitals make for a very meaningful opportunity for volunteering at Christmas, as they give you the chance to cheer up people who are spending the holidays away from their families. Time is the most valuable thing hospital volunteers can offer patients. They keep them company and make their experience more pleasant. If you visit a children’s hospital, you can also bring small gifts or books to read to the kids.

4. Nursing Homes

Similarly, older people who live in nursing homes often spend the holidays alone. Volunteering at a nursing or retirement home can help an older person whose partner has passed away or who has no family have a truly merry Christmas time. All you have to do is help the staff serve some warm dinner and take the time to chat with the elders or play a game of chess.

5. Animal Shelters

Our little furry friends at the animal shelters can also benefit from our giving spirit. You don’t have to adopt one if you don’t want to, but you can certainly help take care of them. Visit your local animal shelter and volunteer to bathe, walk, or feed the animals. Sadly, during the holiday season, many newly acquired pets are abandoned. Therefore, shelters need all the help they can get.

6. Women’s Shelter

Unfortunately, the holiday season is marred by a spike in domestic violence incidences due to families spending more time together. By volunteering this Christmas at a women’s shelter, you can support them and their children in their next steps. Donate clothes and toiletries, bring small gifts for the children, or help the staff sort through donations and distribute them to those in need.

7. Volunteering Abroad

When considering volunteering options, people usually overlook international volunteer programs. Christmas break is a great time to travel abroad and help people in need. If you want to, you can spend Christmas building houses in Africa or teaching English to kids in Thailand. This is a particularly fitting option if you find that the cold weather dampens your spirit.

Things To Remember Before You Volunteer

As the holiday season nears and your desire for Christmas volunteering and giving back becomes stronger, there are a couple of things that you need to keep in mind.

Start Early

Thanksgiving and Christmas are popular volunteer seasons, which means that most places have a maxed-out volunteer capacity by then. If you want to find a place that takes volunteers, start making phone calls quite a few months earlier. It’s also good to show up on less busy dates, such as late November or the start of December, as most people volunteer on or around Christmas Day.

Gain Experience

The only way to be of essential help to any organization is to show up earlier than the holidays. When there are too many volunteers, staff struggles to show everyone what to do, which can result in chaos. Instead, start volunteering months earlier so that when the busy holiday season comes around, you already know what to do and how to do it. Besides, volunteers are valuable throughout the year, not just during Christmas.

Be Prepared

Regardless of the type of volunteer work you’re planning to do, you need to plan everything beforehand. For example, if you want to make Christmas cards for the local children’s hospital, make sure to call and find out how many children will be there during the holidays. You don’t want to go through all this trouble only to realize that you haven’t made enough cards for everyone.


Doing volunteer work offers valuable help to people in need and helps us become better people. Moreover, volunteering at Christmas time can bring some of the warmth of the holiday spirit to less fortunate people. Although many places need extra hands during the holidays, it’s good to remember that volunteers are necessary all year round. So, if you’re thinking about it, follow our suggestions and find a place near you (or abroad) where your kindness and good intentions will be put to good use.

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