Generosity is an integral part of the festive period, but giving back doesn’t just have to be saved for the Christmas period.
There are many opportunities to volunteer and help others in need over Christmas and long into the New Year, we discover how you can help to give back to your local community.
It’s colder, darker and, probably, a bit wet outside. Inside the yule log is baking in the oven, the grandparents are digging into the sherry and everyone’s having a grand old time.
Christmas is truly the most wonderful time of the year, but the sad fact is that many people are not so fortunate.
Taking time out of your festive routine to help others in a different situation doesn’t have to put your merriment on hold.
In fact, it will help you feel even better as you watch the happiness of the people you help – Christmas is a time of giving. And there are many ways you can give back during the winter nights.
“Christmas is definitely a time when people think of others; it’s a time with so much focus on family, friends and celebration, and many people’s thoughts turn to those less fortunate than themselves,” explains Tara Bentley, volunteering development coordinator for Volunteer Glasgow.
“Also, a drop in temperature often leads people to think of the homeless, and how they can help.”
Spending time at a food bank in the run up to Christmas, or even on Christmas Day, is a fantastic way to help the homeless community get a hearty, warm meal away from the cold.
We can all fall on hard times, but food banks have provisions for families that may not be financially stable or soup runs can help homeless people to get a nutritious meal. Even taking an hour out of your day can make the world of difference.
Volunteering over the festive period is an interesting way to spend your time, too, away from the television and turkey drama.
Tara enthuses that staying within your local community is the perfect way to find new opportunities to help others right on your doorstep, it will help to get you out of the house, too.
From visiting the old folks home to spend time with the elderly, some of whom may not see anyone during Christmas, or lending a helping hand at the local church, your local community is waiting on more volunteers.
“Everyone can contribute to making our country a better place to live; through volunteering we have the power to improve the world around us as well as improving our own health and wellbeing,” adds Tara.
“Various studies throughout the world show that volunteering makes us healthier, happier and more employable.”
IN THE NEW YEAR
Volunteering at Christmas is a fantastic way to give back to people in need, but it’s not only reserved for the festive period, you can give back throughout the year. As we celebrate the New Year coming in, why not add some simple resolutions that you can stick to into the New Year that will help others.
Tara adds: “Volunteering is not just for Christmas. It is fantastic that the festive period inspires people to think about volunteering… Charities need volunteers throughout the year in order to provide vital services.
Volunteering definitely provides individuals with a feel-good factor, and we all need that throughout the year, particularly in the gloom of January.
What better way to start the New Year than by doing something that you will enjoy, gain great benefits from, and will help others?”
There are a plethora of charities helping people throughout the year, and donations can help them to continue the dedicated hard work they do.
Yes, it is nice to donate during Christmas but donating throughout the year can help charities with their valuable work on a monthly basis – and you can do it without seeing a difference in your bank account.
Online monthly donations are an integral part to ensuring causes you are dedicated to continue to achieve their goals, thrive, all whilst helping others.
Be it environmental conservation, research into cancer prevention and cures, to mental health support and animal protection, there is a team of dedicated workers out there helping those in need. To ensure their causes are supported – that’s where you come in.
Offering £5, £10, £15 or more, you could help support a cause close to your heart without even realising it with small, monthly donations. Lending a helping hand has never been easier.
This one isn’t for everyone, granted, but it can help families long after you’re not here.
Currently people in Scotland and the rest of the UK have to opt-in to be an organ donor: meaning you will have to sign up to register as a donor and disclose the organs you’re happy to donate after you pass.
Talking about death isn’t very festive, but we’re actually talking about giving the gift of life to one of the thousands of people waiting for a vital organ transplant.
At the moment, 2.2 million people in Scotland are on the register – that’s almost half the population. If you’ve not signed up yet then it only takes five minutes.
Go wild in the New Year and raise money to help others in an interesting, entertaining, out of your comfort zone way. From skydiving, abseiling down the Forth Rail Bridge to getting your walking gear on for the Kilt Walk – there is a fundraising activity for everyone, and every cause.
Getting involved with different fundraising events is simple, check the event page of your chosen charity to see what they have planned for the incoming year and how you too can get involved. Put the ‘fun’ into fundraising.