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Give Back to the Community for Christmas

Updated on November 24, 2009

Christmas is a great time for family and togetherness. All of us benefit in some way from the community in which we live. Our neighbors and friends in our community enrich our lives in so many ways. The holidays are a wonderful time to give back to the community. Here are a few ways to do it.

Carol door to door or at a nursing home

While many people tire of the Christmas songs played on the radio year after year, many find live Christmas music to be uplifting and enjoyable. If you are musically inclined, gather a group of your friends to sing carols for people in your community. You can perform door to door or schedule a performance for a local nursing home, homeless shelter, or school. If you play an instrument and will give a public performance, ask your audience for donations to a local nonprofit.

Serve dinner at a soup kitchen

Many individuals and families need a hot meal at some point during the holidays, and serving a meal at a soup kitchen can be a tremendous help to nonprofits organizing food programs. Many food pantries, churches, and shelters also need people to receive and sort food and clean up facilities after meals.

Pick an Angel from the Angel Tree

Each year, the Salvation Army sponsors Angel Trees. In shopping centers and malls across the country, Christmas trees are erected and hung with slips of paper with the name and Christmas wishes of local people in need. If you pick an angel from the tree, you can use the items listed—usually food, a microwave, or educational toys for children—as a guide to purchase gifts for your angel. You can then return the gifts to the Angel Tree display and Salvation Army volunteers will deliver the items to the angel you selected. This can be a particularly meaningful way to give back if you and a loved one shop together for an angel rather than give each other gifts.

Take care of a dog from a local animal shelter

During the holidays, our furry friends need help too! Animal shelters experience reduced staff during the holidays, making it difficult for them to take care of all the animals in the shelter. Volunteer to feed, water, or exercise dogs and cats at the shelter during the holidays, or participate in a foster program in which you care for a shelter dog or cat in your home over the holidays. Bringing a little love to a puppy or kitten in need during the holidays can make your holiday very special!

Image Credit: scottfeldstein, Flickr

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