In the last few months of the year, we are busier than ever – busy with shopping, celebratory meals, and gift-giving. There’s more gathering with family and friends. There’s also a greater inclination toward philanthropy this time of year, as we take stock of all we have, give thanks, and share our hopes for the new year. Here are four ways to make sure you get – and give – the most out of your holiday season.
- Volunteer shifts at charities fill up fast during the holidays. Save time researching opportunities by checking out your local United Way’s options first. Lots of United Ways, like United Way of Central Iowa, respond to the spike in interested volunteers and by offering a one-stop shopping guide to holiday giving and volunteering.
- Consider volunteering as “me” time. Research has proven that volunteering has both positive mental and physical benefits.
- Or, get the whole family involved. Many United Ways and other organizations offer kid-friendly volunteer projects, or you can come up with your own, like a family assembly-line to build care packages for overseas troops. Or invite your kids to clean out closets and drawers and spread warmth by donating winter gear to families who need it right now. Check out these other tips and ideas for volunteering with kids. And don’t forget to include your older friends and family; volunteering keeps older minds sharp.
- Make a commitment now to help out after the holiday rush. Two ideas for 2018: Mark your calendar for Monday, January 15th and sign up to serve on the Martin Luther King, Jr. Day of Service. And sign up now with your local United Way for training to serve as a volunteer tax-preparer and help families navigate the tax system and receive the refunds they’re due come April. No experience necessary!
Got more ideas for making the holiday season warmer and brighter for our neighbors in need? Share them here!