6 Ways to Share the Christmas Spirit on Any Budget
Christmas is the time of year when our hearts become a little softer, our patience a little longer, and our charitable spirit more abundant. Most of us are charitable at heart, but most of us don’t have much, if any, money to spare for charitable causes. But that’s okay, you may be surprised how great the needs are and how abundant opportunities are for charitable acts of time.
For example, have you ever heard of the organization Locks of Love? It’s an opportunity to donate locks of your hair for children who have suffered hair loss due to a medical condition. Your local blood bank will always welcome a life-giving blood donation.
Here are some other great ideas that will surely help share the Christmas Spirit, without having to spend to much or anything at all to do it.
Volunteer at Your Local Children’s Hospital or Pediatric Wing
I have a friend whose little boy was in the hospital for some time when he was about 5 years old. She told me how the volunteers helped make the experience more bearable, bringing laughter and light heartedness to an otherwise sad and painful time. Sometimes they would play games, read, or just visit.
Now imagine being a child and having to spend your Christmas in the hospital when you would rather be no where but at home, where you hope to hear Santa’s sleigh landing on your roof, and Santa coming down your chimney to leave presents. The magic of those hopes are difficult to keep alive when you’re in a hospital bed.
Here are some ideas on how you can brighten a child’s Christmas who is in the hospital for the Holiday:
- What is one things kids typically love? Stories and adventure. Why not pick up a kids book popular for kids the age of those current at the hospital, and stop by to read to the kids a few times during the month.
- Put a small play together with the kids that are able to participate, and perform for the kids that are too sick to participate.
- Play Santa for the children on Christmas Eve, and bring a little bag of gifts of items you can get your co-workers or church members to donate to the cause.
- Do a book, toy, and game drive and donate the items you collect to your pediatric library. This is one area that you may be surprised that pediatric wings are short on for children.
Volunteer at Your Local Humane Society
Though the Humane Society’s number one need often is money to pay for the facility and care of the animals they care for. The Human Society makes a concretive effort to allow people to get involved and donate in any way they can, be it one hour of their time, a day or two a month, or even items like old blankets, food dishes, toys, and other needed pet supplies or items. But most of all, the poor animals at the Humane Society need to be loved. Just call or go down to your local Humane Society and tell them you would like to volunteer and want to learn about what opportunities they have that you can help with.
Toys for Tots
Most people are familiar with Toys for Tots, and for good reasons. This amazing organization has collected and donated over 500 million toys to needy children, to date. Many people don’t realize, however, that Toys for Tots is run by the United States Marine Corp Reserve. They aim to “deliver, through a new toy at Christmas, a message of hope to less fortunate youngsters that will assist them in becoming responsible, productive, patriotic citizens.” It’s a beautiful message, really.
You can donate individually at one of their many drop-off locations, which can be found by clicking here. Or you can even put together an organized new toy drive with your office, church, or neighborhood. I’ve even heard of families doing it together as a family tradition, sacrificing one of the gifts that they would have liked to get or give, to Toys for Tots.
Christmas Present for Needy Foster Child through the Department of Social Services
Many Department of Social Service offices will put up a Christmas tree in their lobby or office, with notes attached almost like ornaments. These cards have different foster children’s age and gender on them that are in need of a Christmas gift. These children are currently facing very difficult and challenging times. And a gift from even a stranger who cares and make a world of difference. Once you have purchased your gift, wrap it and take it to the Department of Social Service with the paper not stating the age/gender attached to it some they know who to be sure the gift gets to.
Visit a Nursing Home
Nursing homes can seem like very lonely and Sad places to visit. However, I promise you that after you see the eyes and the smiles of elderly folks that reside there light up with your visit, you’ll be so happy you came. There’s no better way to create happiness for yourself than by giving it to others. Many elderly people have children who live in other states, or who are so busy with their own family that they don’t come and visit as often as they would like. It’s always a delight to an elderly person if you help fill in the gaps with a visit.
There are multiple things you can do when you visit. Of course you can carol, read a Christmas story, even share the nativity story. But there are other things you can do, and it doesn’t just have to be at Christmas time. Talk to the nursing homes activity director, see if there are things like group geriatric exercises you can help lead. See if there are residents who like to play old fashion card games, checkers or chess. More than anything, many of them just want to sit and visit! You’ll be surprised just how much this will share the Christmas spirit with these folks, and how much it will grow in your own heart.
Operation Christmas Child
You may not have heard of Operation Christmas Child, and so you’ll likely be surprised to that they are actually a very large charity that has delivered, roughly, 70 million shoeboxes filled items for needs children around the world. You may even be surprised to learn they have a drop-off location in your town. This charity asks that you take a simple shoe box, and fill it with whatever you can imagine would be things that children would like and/or need. Toys, school supplies, candy, hygiene items, etc. Then you go to Operation Christmas Child’s website by clicking here, and enter your zip code to find your local drop-off location.
Once you give a shoebox to Operation Christmas Child they deliver it to a need child overseas. You can even print a label on their website to include that will allow you to track and see when your shoe box is delivered overseas. They do ask that you cover a flat $7 cost for the shipping cost. Once your shoe box arrives in the destination country it is hand delivered by a local Operation Christmas Child member to a needy boy or girl.