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5 Tips for Holiday Volunteering

The holidays are a time marked by busy days and nights. If you have some time off or can spare an hour or two during the holidays, you can recharge and reconnect by volunteering. Whether you are volunteering with Mile High United Way (CO) to help underprivileged kids with cookie decorating and crafts, serving a meal at your local soup kitchen, or engaged in another volunteer activity, volunteering can make the busy holidays even better. The people you serve will have a better holiday, and so will you: volunteering can improve mental, emotional and physical health.

These tips will help you get the most out of your holiday volunteering:

  1. Explore your options. Many United Ways create guides to holiday volunteer and giving opportunities, like these guides from United Way of the Greater Seacoast (NH), and United Way of Salt Lake (UT). Contact your local United Way to see what opportunities might be available in your area.
  2. Consider your needs and interests and make sure that they align with the volunteer opportunity.
  3. That said, be open to trying something new. Help out at an animal shelter even though you aren’t a pet person. Introverted? Sign up to wear the elf’s outfit and hand out toys. Trying something new and challenging might just be good for you!
  4. Kids of all ages can volunteer. Check out these 10 kid-friendly volunteer service projects.
  5. Don’t get discouraged! If the volunteer opportunity you wanted doesn’t need more volunteers, consider helping out early next year, and make volunteering one of your New Year’s Resolutions.  

So during this giving season, give the gift of time and talent. Who knows? It may turn out this gift to others may be the best gift you receive.