The season of love and mulled wine is upon us. For some, it’s an excuse to spend extravagant amounts of money, for others, one to put a smile on people’s faces. Yet others revel in the delicious food they cook or simply enjoying streets lit with fairy lights and Christmas tunes floating through the air.
Then there are those who relive painful memories of Christmases past, who feel lonely this year, or face some trauma in their personal lives.
If you’re one of the people looking forward to Christmas, you could likely make Christmas even better by doing some charity work. Why? Because nothing compares to the feeling of giving joy to another person—especially one who needs it.
If you are dreading Christmas this year, maybe because you are broke or you just lost a dear one, then you should definitely try doing some charity work. Why? Because it will shift your mind to other things. You will find joy in the midst of upheaval. It will shift your focus to something beautiful.
Another reason to do charity work is that you will meet other people. You might make friends for life. And, for a really cute Christmas date, take your date to an event where you help out, like cooking food in a homeless shelter. Some more ideas are listed below.
Charity work starts at home. Have you really called your aunt enough? Sure, she might be a pain, but don’t you think some love will brighten her day? How about visiting some elderly relatives you know would love to see you—those who might be a little bit lonely?
Maybe it’s about time you did something nice for no reason for a friend, lover or family member. Maybe you’ve ignored someone because you’ve been busy or you’ve simply not thought about adding an extra sparkle to your relationship with them. A simple ‘I love you’ or a home baked pie can work wonders.
If there’s someone you need to forgive, you might want to do that too—not least for your own sense of peace. Do some soul searching, apologize and make up where needed. Creating peace at home is the first charitable step to take.
Beyond the Home
Once you’ve done what you need to in the home, it’s time to move beyond it. Surprisingly, you don’t always have to go far.
Do you have any friends, relatives or acquaintances who have been through hardship lately whom you think you could cheer up by dropping by with a gift? That’s an excellent work of charity done right there.
Neighbors are also often forgotten. People complain there is little community these days, but then they don’t do anything about it. You can start by offering gifts for your neighbors. Or, why not join the Blue Zones Project to transform your neighborhood into a community?
When it comes to charity, people often forget about the elderly. As we grow older, friends and family members pass away. Mobility might become a problem. It’s not as easy as it used to be to go out there and make friends.
To help overcome the loneliness the elderly feel, you can do anything from joining an existing project to setting up your own, or simply start having regular tea or coffee with your elderly neighbor.
If you have a hobby, you can easily give a class to the elderly, perform something or simply arrange some afternoon tea gatherings. The important thing? Make sure there’s time for socializing, not just learning a skill. If possible, two meetings or more can help people make new friends. And think outside the box—not everyone over 70 loves to knit!
A lot of kids suffer from learning disabilities or simply lack parents who care enough to teach them. Other kids suffer from being raised in areas where criminal activities abound. Many schools look for volunteers to help kids with homework, mentoring and giving classes for extracurricular activities.
Whether you want to cook a meal for someone or help people reclaim their lives through activities, a gift of generosity can mean a lot.
Get involved with a fundraising event, be it running a marathon or arranging a community garage sale. It could be something as simple as helping a family in the neighborhood where someone has fallen ill and their finances are in disarray. Maybe they would love a new bike for their kid, they need a Christmas tree or simply money for treatment.
The Local Hospital
Hospitals are always looking for volunteers, whether it be extra support for patients or people to come in and entertain patients. We all know what kindness, joy, love and laughter can bring us when we are ill. Families who have sick family members need support too.
The Do Good Bus
If you love to make a difference in good company, check out the Do Good Bus. Here, you join other volunteers for a bus trip to a charity (you won’t know which one when you board) where you help out for a day. I know this initiative exists in L.A. and chances are there are similar initiatives where you live. If not, maybe it’s time to start one?
The Do Good Bus website also gives ideas for what kinds of charitable initiatives exist—there are plenty more than mentioned in this article. I especially chose to focus on things that help people as the idea is to give to your fellow human and bring the spirit of Christmas to someone who needs it.
There are plenty of opportunities to make new friends and give back to society! Make sure to be there when the goods/money are handed over to the cause so you get to experience the good you’ve done.