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‘Tis the Season for Volunteering

What better time to give back than during the holidays? And there’s no shortage of volunteer opportunities to choose from. You can craft homemade treats to share with neighbors, donate toys to children, adopt a military family or help local shelters care for pets waiting for a permanent home.

Happy holidays from your friends at Create The Good!

Get Crafty With Create the Good

As winter ushers in colder weather, cozy up indoors and do some crafting for good. Your creative gifts could mean the world to a lonely neighbor or family in need. We’ve got four quick ideas for affordable holiday crafts that can be shared with those who could use a little extra cheer around the holidays.

  • Hot cocoa mix: This one’s as easy as mixing up a handful of ingredients from a quick grocery visit, so it’s perfect for the busy holiday season. We like Alton Brown’s slightly spicy hot cocoa — try gussying up your mix in mason jars wrapped with festive bows before you put them on your neighbor’s doorstep.
  • Luminaries: Gather a group for this next easy creation. Just drop tea candles into brown lunch bags, line them up along a driveway or sidewalk, then light the wicks at dusk. You’ll be surprised how quickly your house — or a neighbor’s — turns into a winter wonderland. To get fancy, pencil some designs on the bag before inserting the candles.
  • Snow globes: With a bit of prep, you and your children or grandchildren can make wonderful gifts for friends and neighbors. Grab some jars, glue figurines to the insides of the lids, and then fill the jars with water and glitter. Shake it up to enjoy!
  • Wreaths: This project is for advanced crafters (or beginners looking for a challenge!). The fun thing about wreaths is that they can be made out of almost anything — not just evergreens and hollies. Have fun with wreaths made from common household items, flowers, candy, or anything else you can imagine! Check out some examples, or watch an instructional video for more tips and ideas.

Do Good for Good People

There are plenty of ways to spread the spirit of giving back that don’t require you to know your way around an X-ACTO knife. If you have some time, money or gifts to donate, you can help those in need this holiday season. Take a look at some of the fun ideas Create The Good has whipped up to make your holidays full of volunteer spirit:

  • Helping children: Toys these days are complex — and typically involve screens. Why not dig up one of your old toys, such as a top or cup-and-ball, and teach a child at local shelters how to really have fun? You can also hold a neighborhood swap, donate to Toys for Tots or make cash donations to charities such as KIDS.
  • Helping families: Giving back to military families is always a great idea, but you can also adopt a family closer to home that may need a little extra help around the holidays. Double your dinner recipe to share a hot meal, buy a couple of extra staples at the grocery store, or collect a few books you’ve read that you can pass on.
  • Helping seniors: Doubling down on dinner and groceries is a great way to help seniors, too — but quality time is even better. If their house doesn’t need winterizing and their driveway is clear of snow, think about visiting with popcorn, some classic movies and a good listening ear.

Animal Lovers Wanted

If you’re an animal person, there are plenty of ways to get into the spirit of giving back. You can volunteer at your local animal shelter by staffing an adoption event, getting the dogs (and you!) out for some fresh air and exercise, or taking photos and writing descriptions for adoption sites!

You can also help out close to home by walking an elderly neighbor’s dog, visiting a pet whose owner works long hours, or checking on a friend’s cat while they’re out of town.

Another great way to give back is to foster a pet for the holiday season. You’ll make a new companion and give that special dog or cat the extra time it needs to find a permanent home. To make sure your friend feels extra-comfortable when it moves to its permanent home, put together a pet adoption kit including food, a pet bed, toys, a leash and collar and some special holiday treats.

To find out more about giving back to animals this holiday season, visit Generation Wags. They have tools to help you plan fundraising events, find shelters where you can volunteer, and rescue a dog. (They even have breed-specific rescue operations.)

You can also search for local animal welfare organizations at Petfinder.com.

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