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10 Ways to Give Back During the Holidays

6 min read

The holidays are a magical time when families and friends come together. But some feel uncomfortable celebrating their good fortune, knowing many others must do without. And how do you face a holiday when grieving the loss of someone important to you?

These are just two of many reasons people look for ways to give back during the holidays. Working as a Christmas volunteer to help others in need can be profoundly rewarding for you and your community. You may create a new holiday tradition for your family and friends to find ways to offer holiday help to others.

If you’ve ever helped someone by donating or volunteering, chances are, you felt pretty good about it. Whether it’s food, money, or time you’re giving, nothing beats that warm fuzzy feeling that comes from helping those in need. Studies show that when people find ways to give back during the holidays or donate to non-profits, the brain releases feel-good chemicals like dopamine, serotonin, and oxytocin.

Moreover, those who volunteer regularly experience more happiness and increased physical and mental health. Giving back to your community is a win-win – especially during the holiday season.

If the holidays have already siphoned all your spare cash and you need budget-friendly holiday options, fear not. After all, giving financial support to those in need is only one way to give back. As a volunteer, you can make a big difference in someone’s life.

Read on to get different ideas to give back during the holidays. Some will take money, but others will cost you only your time, compassion, and effort. Either way — the payback is huge.

1. Adopt a Family

One of the most beloved ways to give back this holiday season is to contact one of the “Adopt a Family” services. These nationwide programs help connect families who are struggling to families or individuals who want to spread holiday cheer.

Regardless of which type of program you choose to participate in, the process is generally the same. You’ll receive information about the children in a family and what they’d like for Christmas. Then, you get the fun of shopping for these kids, and sometimes their parents too, and gifting them all anonymously.

This one’s a winner when considering ways to give back during the holidays. By adopting a family, you’re not only giving children the Christmas they deserve, but you’re also giving them hope. Parents will feel relieved to know their youngsters will enjoy their holiday regardless of the family’s current financial situation.

2. Donate to a Shelter

There are ways to give back this holiday season without spending much money. If you’re a parent, have your kids help you round up all the gently used toys, books, and games they’ve outgrown. Toys in good shape can be spruced up and donated to a shelter that houses families. If you involve your children in the process, you’ll also be teaching them a valuable lesson in giving.

Once the kids’ stuff is done, go through the same process with your clothes, books, household items, and holiday decorations. Donating items is another win-win way to give back to the community while you get a de-cluttered home. Just make sure the goods you’re donating are clean and attractive.

There’s no reason to keep this wonderful way to give back during the holidays in the family. Even if you’re short on funds or goods to donate, why not call for holiday help on social media? You can arrange to organize donations from local friends and share a donation link with friends and family who are far away.

3. Share a Meal or Volunteer at a Soup Kitchen

Festive gatherings with family and friends make up a huge part of the holiday season. While most of us are fortunate to enjoy delicious foods and fun parties, sadly many folks go without. You can make a big difference by inviting an elderly neighbor who lives alone, for example, to your holiday dinner.

Volunteering at a local soup kitchen is another popular way to give back during the holidays. Consider volunteering in January or throughout the year when volunteer numbers decrease. If you have older children, volunteering at a soup kitchen will help provide them with perspective and allow them to give back during the holidays, too.

4. Visit a Nursing Home

Visiting a nursery home is a compassionate way to give back to the community. This option costs no money but can brighten the holidays for people who get few or no visitors. Many convalescent communities need volunteer help for their residents’ activities.

You could help with games or crafting, or if you sing or play an instrument, music is always greatly appreciated. Even sitting with someone and listening to their stories of holidays past can be a beautiful gift.

5. Volunteer at an Animal Shelter

If you want some ways to give back during the holidays without spending as much time with other people, your local animal shelter could use your help. As shelter staff wish to travel and spend time with their families, the animals must be cared for, visited, and socialized. Consider contacting the shelter to offer your time as a Christmas volunteer.

6. Knit or Crochet Holiday Warmth

Suppose you have the skills to knit or crochet warm hats and scarves for your local homeless shelter. It’s a lovely way to give back to the community with a personal touch. If you cannot afford the yarn, ask on social media and in your neighborhood for people to donate their leftover yarn to the cause. You’ll spread the joys of giving back to others.

7. Decorate for Neighbors

Providing holiday help to your elderly or infirm neighbors is a wonderful way to support your community. Offer to hang their lights, put up their tree, or simply tidy up their front yard and entranceway. Always follow our holiday home safety tips when decking your halls or helping others.

8. Volunteer with a Crisis Hotline

The holidays may feel joyous to some, but this time of year can trigger intense emotions for others. High expectations, family dynamics, and stress can be difficult for us. Still, they can be a nightmare for those with mental health issues.

You can make a difference in someone’s life by signing up as a volunteer with a crisis hotline. By receiving training and then fielding calls from troubled individuals, you’ll give back in ways you never thought possible. You may even save a life.

9. Green Your Holiday

The holidays provide many opportunities to give back. Becoming more eco-conscious during the holidays (or any time of year) is one of the smartest and most selfless actions you can take. Not only are you supporting yourself and your household, but you’re also giving back to the planet. To enjoy more sustainable holidays, you’ll want to start conserving electricity and water while re-using and recycling as much as possible. If you can make your home, gifts, and food more sustainable, you’ll give back in multiple ways.

10. Invest in Emergency Winter Gear

When coming up with ways to give back during the holidays, investing in emergency preparedness gear may take time to come to mind. However, you could help neighbors or travelers when they need it most if you buy safety gear in advance.

For instance, if you’re in an area that gets hit by ice or snowstorms, you may come across a car that has slid off the road and into a ditch. If you’ve purchased snow chains and have a sturdy four-wheel drive car or truck, you can help pull stranded people out of danger. Other supplies are emergency generators for power, wood stoves for cooking without power, and plenty of salt for ice.

Ways to give back to the community don’t have to be in the form of money, food, or other charitable donations. It could come in the form of providing life-saving support in times of winter crisis.

Top Ways to Give Back This Holiday Season

All the above ways to give back during the holidays will provide invaluable cheer to those most in need. We could all use a little extra cheer this winter, so give what you can – even if it’s just the kindness of a smile or a friendly word.

If you run into any setbacks during the holidays, don’t hesitate to contact us through our 24/7 claim service. Our helpful claims agents will make sure your holiday doesn’t get derailed.

Advertisement: Have a question? Wawanesa’s agents are here to help. Click to contact an agent.

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