Six places to volunteer on Christmas Day
If you’re looking to embrace the season of giving, consider these places to volunteer on Christmas Day, including volunteer abroad programs with GVI.
Taking time to volunteer this holiday season is a chance to have a positive impact in the world, while finding a deeper sense of connection with local or global communities.
Christmas service opportunities allow you to give back and support causes you are passionate about.
Where can you volunteer on Christmas Day? Here are six great options, including volunteering abroad with GVI.
1) Soup kitchens or night shelters
Soup kitchens and night shelters are some of the most popular spots that you can volunteer with on Christmas Day.
Religiously-affiliated organisations need extra pairs of hands over the holiday season. Serving meals, packing emergency food parcels, or sorting through donated goods – such as clothing – are all common volunteer activities at relief centres.
As volunteering over Christmas in soup kitchens, and night shelters is a common choice for volunteers, these organisations can often be inundated with people wanting to help.
Volunteer spots are limited, so a better approach can be to volunteer at night shelters throughout the year, when they often struggle to recruit enough people.
In order to share the Christmas spirit, make sure you don’t overlook other Christmas Day volunteer opportunities.
2) Nursing homes
Through Christmas volunteering, you can support older people who may otherwise spend the holidays alone.
Age UK reports that as many as half a million elderly people across the United Kingdom expect to feel lonely over Christmas time. For many older people, Christmas can be an unhappy reminder of happier times, and people who have passed away.
Volunteering in nursing or retirement homes, senior centres, or hospitals is a great chance to ease this loneliness. Often all that will be required of volunteers is serving dinner, taking the time to play a game of cards, or just being present for company and a good chat.
3) Animal shelters
Local animal shelters often have Christmas Day volunteer opportunities. As many staff are on holiday, volunteers are needed to help feed and care for the resident animals.
Plus, the holiday period can see a spike in the number of animals being abandoned, as people get rid of unwanted Christmas gifts. According to the RSPCA, three pets are abandoned every hour over the Christmas period.
With animal shelters busier than ever, volunteering around Christmas is a great way to give back to our furry friends.
4) Women’s shelters
The Christmas holiday period can often see more frequent incidences of domestic violence, due to factors such as more time spent at home with abusive partners, and additional financial pressures.
To support women survivors of domestic violence, you can volunteer on Christmas Day in a women’s refuge.
Care centres for women survivors can benefit from assistance in the form of donated toiletries, clothes and toys. You could help to collect and distribute donations, entertain children, or serve meals at the shelter.
5) Local hospitals
Hospitals are meaningful places to volunteer on Christmas, as you can help to cheer up people spending the holidays away from home.
Hospital volunteers can help to provide social interaction and make mealtimes more sociable, or assist visitors by giving them a warm welcome, and helping out with directions around the hospital.
Many hospitals also welcome help with fundraising over the holiday period. You could help out with fundraising events – which can be a great experience if you wish to pursue a career in this field, or you could simply volunteer to hold a collection can on the street.
6) Volunteer abroad
When considering where to volunteer for Christmas, international volunteer programs are often overlooked.
But the option of international voluntary work over Christmas could be the perfect solution to the craziness of the holiday season, and the dreary weather that dampens spirits at this time of year in the northern hemisphere.
Volunteering abroad is a chance to experience warmer weather and adventure while contributing to sustainable global development.
GVI offers a wide range of Christmas volunteer opportunities in locations around the world. Many of our projects continue over the holiday season, as Christmas is not the most widely-observed religious celebration in certain countries.
You could volunteer on projects working to support women’s empowerment in Nepal, where you will support women’s education and get to experience the mighty Himalayas.
Or, you could escape to sunny Mexico, where you could support children’s learning on the Caribbean coast.
Another option is to teach English to novice Buddhist monks in Laos. You can spend the Christmas break learning more about Laotian culture and exploring the lush jungles surrounding the town of Luang Prabang.
GVI’s international volunteer programs are all aligned with specific United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (UN SDGs) So, no matter where you volunteer, you can be assured your efforts will have a measurable impact.
You will also have plenty of free time to explore and enjoy your time overseas, giving you the chance to have a relaxing Christmas break.
Instead of spending the holidays huddled inside out of the cold, you could be shopping in local markets in Thailand, hiking through jungles in Cambodia, or sinking your toes into the soft sand of Costa Rica’s beaches.
Explore Christmas volunteer opportunities with GVI. Browse our range of international programs today.
- Cape Coast
- Cape Town
- Chiang Mai
- Community Development
- Fiji Islands
- Gap Year
- GVI Live
- In The Field
- Kampong Cham
- Limpopo and KZN
- Luang Prabang
- Mahe and Curieuse
- Marine Conservation
- Personal Development
- Phang Nga
- Responsible Travel
- Service Learning
- Siem Reap
- Study Abroad
- Under 18
- Wildlife Conservation
- Women's Empowerment