Unfortunately, Christmas isn't always chestnuts roasting on an open fire and Jack Frost nipping at your nose. The commercialization and pressure of the season can sometimes be difficult to deal with. You've got reason enough to take a little break from the festivities.
Studies have shown that volunteering helps people feel more connected to their communities and useful to society. Often, volunteering requires training, meaning a chance to learn new skills. In unstable economic times, it's always a great idea to take any opportunity to beef up your resume and skill set. By doing so, you're probably more likely to find a new job in the event that you need one [source: World Volunteer Web].
Volunteering expands your social circle and introduces you to new hobbies and interests you might not have been aware of previously. (Who knew playing Guitar Hero at the youth center could be so much fun?) It can also lead to an improved sense of well-being, higher self esteem, a sense of achievement and help lessen anxiety and depression [source: Hub Pages]. Beyond social and emotional benefits, volunteering can also be good for your overall physical health. Research indicates that volunteers have lower mortality rates than people who do not volunteer [source: CNCS].
Volunteering may also provide you with a little perspective. If you think you're depressed around the holidays, think of how hard those times must be for families that are homeless or barely making ends meet.
If all of these benefits aren't enough motivation for you to head over to your local soup kitchen at Christmas, then what about simply setting an example for those around you. It's the easiest way to show your family and friends that the holidays aren't just about family meals and presents. And who knows? Maybe you'll like it so much you'll decide to volunteer all year round. It could become the New Year's resolution you actually keep.
For more on volunteering on Christmas, see the links below.
Related HowStuffWorks Articles
- All Things Christmas. "Christmas Charity." (Accessed 5/5/09)http://www.allthingschristmas.com/christmas-charity.html
- Chapel Hill Service League. "Christmas House." (Accessed 5/1/5/09)http://www.chapelhillserviceleague.org/howwehelp/christmashouse.htm
- Corporation for National & Community Service (CNCS). "The Health Benefits of Volunteering." (Accessed 5/1/5/09) http://www.nationalservice.gov/pdf/07_0506_hbr.pdf
- Essortment. "Volunteer Opportunities for Christmas." (Accessed 5/5/09)http://www.essortment.com/family/volunteeropport_sgbv.htm
- Hub Pages. "The Benefits of Volunteer Work." (Accessed 5/5/09)http://hubpages.com/hub/The-Personal-Benefits-of-Volunteer-Work
- Meet Up. "Feed the Homeless on Christmas Day." (Accessed 5/5/09)http://www.meetup.com/Super-Single-Mixers-age-40-59/calendar/9222164/
- Mental Health America. Fact Sheet: Holiday Depression and Stress." (Accessed 5/5/09)http://mentalhealthamerica.net/index.cfm?objectid=C7DF954D-1372-4D20-C80ED0A7AB69D250
- Merkel, Jim. "Christmas brings spike in domestic violence." Suburban Journals. December 23, 2008.(Accessed 5/5/09)http://suburbanjournals.stltoday.com/articles/2008/12/23/south/news/1224ssj-safe0.txt
- Salvation Army. "Christmas Charity." (Accessed 5/5/09)http://www.salvationarmyusa.org/usn/www_usn_2.nsf/vw-text-dynamic-arrays/4A2D2520606517C4802573F5005661DB?openDocument
- Squidoo. "How to Volunteer at Christmas." (Accessed 5/5/09)http://www.squidoo.com/how-to-volunteer-at-christmas#module12496830.
- World Volunteer Web. "Benefits of Volunteering." (Accessed 5/5/09)http://www.worldvolunteerweb.org/resources/how-to-guides/volunteer/doc/benefits-of-volunteering.html