• Marine Conservation
  • Volunteer and Adventure
  • Wildlife Conservation

Six places to volunteer on Christmas Day

Article by GVI


Posted: November 4, 2022

5 min read

Christmas volunteer opportunities allow you to give back and support causes you are passionate about. 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 make a positive impact in the world, while finding a deeper sense of connection with local or global communities. 

Where can you volunteer on Christmas Day? Here are six great options, including volunteering abroad.

Soup kitchens or night shelters

Soup kitchens and night shelters are some of the most popular places to volunteer on Christmas Day. 

Many 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 contribute. 

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.

Nursing homes

Through Christmas volunteering, you can support older people who may otherwise spend the holidays alone. 

According to Age UK, “Almost 1.5 million older people feel more lonely at Christmas than any other time of year.

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.

Animal shelters

Local animal shelters often have Christmas Day volunteer opportunities.

As many staff are on holiday, volunteers are needed to help feed, walk and care for the resident animals.


Plus, the holiday period can see a spike in the number of animals being abandoned. According to The Brussels Times, the time of year is one of the busiest, with many pets being surrendered to animal shelters.

With animal shelters busier than ever, volunteering around Christmas is a great way to give back to our furry friends. 

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 can benefit from assistance in the form of donated toiletries, clothes and toys. You could help to collect and distribute donations, or serve meals at the shelter. 


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, 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 assist with fundraising events – which can be a great experience if you wish to pursue a career in this field, or you could volunteer to hold a collection can on the street. 

Read more: What you can do in a gap year before medical school.

Volunteer abroad

When considering where to volunteer for Christmas, international volunteer programs are often overlooked. 

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. 

GVI offers a range of Christmas volunteer opportunities in locations around the world, including Tenerife, Fiji, Cambodia, Madagascar, Thailand and Nepal.

Read more about which of our bases are open this December: The best Christmas volunteering opportunities.

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’ll 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 escaping the cold, you could be scuba-diving and contributing to a rainwater harvesting project in Fiji, hiking through forests and collecting data on endangered lemurs in Madagascar or assisting with sea turtle conservation efforts in Thailand

Learn more about endangered sea turtles and how you can help to protect them.

Browse our range of international volunteering programs today.

Some Images by: Autri Taheri, Jeremy Bishop and Rodion Kutsaiev 

what’s up next?
Raja Ampat: Indonesia’s Diving Paradise

Discover Raja Ampat, Indonesia's diving paradise in the Coral Triangle. Explore rich marine life, pristine waters and unique dive sites like Misool and Cape Kri.

You might also like these articles

Los Brasiles: Nicaragua’s Best-Kept Secret
Read the article
Volunteer and Adventure
Discover the Magic of South Africa’s Whale Coast
Read the article
Volunteer and Adventure
Dugongs: The Ocean’s Gentle Giants
Read the article
Volunteer and Adventure
Endangered Species That Have Recovered: Stories of Hope
Read the article
Wildlife Conservation
The Rising Tide of Marine Plastic Pollution
Read the article
What Degree Do You Need to Be a Marine Biologist?
Read the article
Marine Conservation
Endangered Marine Animals: The Crisis Beneath the Waves
Read the article
Exploring Marine Biology Jobs
Read the article
Marine Biomes: Understanding the Different Types of Ocean Ecosystems
Read the article