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How Volunteering at Christmas Works

By: John Barrymore & Melanie Radzicki McManus  | 

vounteers packing food parcels
Even during the COVID-19 pandemic, there are still volunteer opportunities out there. Vladimir Vladimirov/Getty Images

There's something about Christmas that encourages people to spread a little cheer. Maybe it's all those twinkling lights, inflatable snowmen, sugar cookies and peppy songs — or maybe it's just the eggnog. Whatever the reason, it's great that Christmas gets us thinking about others and how we can help those in need, because plenty of people can use a little help.

If you've gotten the bug to volunteer on Christmas, you'll need to figure out exactly what to do. Start by thinking about your skills and interests. Are you good at baking or carpentry, for example, or do you prefer to be in the background doing busy work? Next, determine which organizations would benefit most from these talents.

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If you're not sure, you can contact local service organizations for advice. In addition to directing you to specific community projects, these groups may need help with their own holiday-related ventures. Churches, libraries and community centers are also good sources of information. And, of course, don't forget to look online for options, both local and abroad.

The group GVI, for example, operates diverse volunteer programs around the globe, with specific sessions targeted to the Christmas season. While your task may not be related to the holiday — you may be assisting English teachers, for example, or working on a sustainable development initiative — you'll be able to experience how people from another culture celebrate Christmas.

Today, with COVID-19 upending pretty much every aspect of our lives, traditional Christmas volunteer opportunities will be altered. No heading inside nursing homes to sing carols, for example, or dishing up group dinners for dozens. But that doesn't mean there are no ways to help. The projects may just look a little different this time.

Read on to find out where, and how, you can volunteer at Christmas.