Every holiday season we know the drill—it’s the time of year for wish lists, ugly sweater parties, shopping and baking, New Year’s Eve planning, time off work and other festive traditions. Between the stress and the celebrating, holiday rituals can overshadow the power of gratitude during this special season. We may forget to appreciate friends, family, health and simple joy. One way to experience and express gratitude is through volunteerism and by performing selfless acts for others who are less fortunate. You may just discover that service can transform your holidays for the better and make your holiday spirit soar.
Give Greater Meaning to the Season
- Make a difference: Helping others is rewarding and can change your perspective. You make an impact on someone’s day and at times, someone’s life. Opening your eyes and hearts to others, especially if you travel to serve in another country, takes you outside of your comfort zone and can turn you into a better person. You'll gain understanding, compassion, and empathy for those who are different.
- Realize your own blessings: Seeing the lives of others in need will cultivate gratitude from within. Bringing a smile to those in poor health or giving a toy to a child without much reminds you to be thankful for what you may take for granted. As a result, seeing others’ struggles can help you remember what really matters and live more positively.
- Improve your health: Service provides social connections—with those whom you’re helping and those whom you’re volunteering alongside. Connecting with others can help with depression and loneliness, as well as boost your mood knowing that you’re touching another person’s life.A study from Carnegie Mellon University found that volunteerism is also associated with better physical health, according to Harvard Health Publishing by Harvard Medical School. Adults who regularly volunteered were less likely to develop high blood pressure. Volunteer work may further increase physical activity, reduce stress and promote a longer lifespan.
Inspire others: By volunteering, you have the opportunity to share your experiences with others and inspire them to do the same. You’re in a position to be an advocate for altruism. Social media is a great outlet to invite your friends and family to join you on your next volunteering endeavor or excursion.
Grow Your Gratitude
Spread cheer and goodwill this holiday season by giving back and empowering gratitude both within yourself and those you're helping. Read on to discover ways to lend a helping hand, warm hearts and make others smile.
- Volunteer through your local Salvation Army
- Travel to build homes with Habitat for Humanity in countries like El Salvador or Thailand
- Serve meals in a soup kitchen or food pantry
- Visit a nursing home to sing Christmas carols or simply listen to someone's story
- Give gifts to children (this could be a foster or homeless child, Toys for Tots, a child in the hospital or a child who lives in a global crisis area)
- Deliver meals through Meals on Wheels
- Get involved with Samaritan’s Purse
- Explore ways to help veterans
Make It Personal
Jenelle Paris, the founder of Lash Affair, is an avid animal lover with a passion to help rescues, which drives her to donate a portion of sales throughout the year to organizations benefitting animal welfare and saving furry lives. One of Jenelle's special projects dear to her heart is to manage social media on her own time for the charity Forever Loved Pet Sanctuary in Scottsdale, AZ.
Follow in Jenelle's and Lash Affair's charitable footsteps by finding a cause that you're passionate about this season. Holiday volunteering or donating may also inspire you to continue to give back throughout the year. Make generosity, kindness
Content Creator | Extrovert | Amateur Chef | Weapon of choice: Glitter