**DISCLAIMER** I am not implying that many or all of you do not already give so much at the holiday season. I haven’t had time this year to volunteer my time so writing this blog has pushed me to find something I can do. Maybe that’s what this does for you, maybe it’s a friendly reminder or maybe it’s ideas for next year. I see stuff on TV or read an article and my heart aches for what I want to do and I haven’t acted on it. This is my push ❤
Does anyone know the true story of St. Nicholas? The answer to why we shower our loved ones with so many gifts with the promise of a jolly old man coming down the chimney to leave more? It’s a fabulous story really; St. Nicholas was a bishop who lived MANY years ago in the fourth century. He was left a fortune by his parents and spread it to those in need. I read one story, where he dropped money down the chimney, so a father could afford to marry off his eldest daughter (a dowry for the husband to be’s family). The money landed in a stocking that was hanging by the fire to dry 😊 Isn’t it funny how things come about? Over the years, the stories have changed and are different depending on where you live. Do you know in some places Santa doesn’t even live at the North Pole??? What is that?!?! Ha ha. The real St. Nicholas helped the needy, children, and sailors, however as the story is now, Santa Claus brings toys to all good little boys and girls. Over the years, he got jolly, immortal, fat, and more but what has never changed is that he has a heart of gold and spreads cheer to all he encounters. I’m guessing that won’t ever be lost or changed over time.
So how do we incorporate the old with the new? I love how the story has evolved, where it was and where it is now. Our current traditions are full of fun and joy for families. However, I believe at times, I’ve forgotten to embrace the past and give to others in need. Once when I was a teenager, I got so angry because I thought Christmas had become all about the presents. I boycotted the day and my mom took my friend and I to volunteer. We sang at a nursing home and worked at a local animal shelter for the day. I will NEVER forget that Christmas. Where did that little girl go? I give all year round, but as this season comes around, it’s easy to get wrapped up (no pun intended 😉) in the hustle and bustle. It’s a time when others need our love the most, and it’s the easiest time to forget to give. When we give at this time of year, whether it be our time, money, or presents, we are giving so much more to the recipient. Christmas is a break for many, especially those that don’t have much. Your gift, allows them to forget, even for just a moment about their current standings. The stressed might get to feel relaxed, the sad may feel joy, the sick may just forget how they feel for a moment, and you? You will feel better too! There is a great article by the Huffington Post, that talks about the intrinsic value of giving to others. Giving and helping others, can enhance your mood, self-esteem, and more. So even though you are feeling broke from the holidays and stretched thin on time – try to carve out one day this season to volunteer or maybe, sponsor a family who needs it. I’m not saying you have to go to the extreme like I did when I was a child. The time with your family is too valuable to miss out on. The smile on your children’s faces as they open their presents?? That feeds the soul too! I’m just saying pick a day this season and help others feel good too. I like the idea of volunteering because it allows you to see the impact you are making. That is a present in and of itself and the kids will love it too!
Let’s continue the true tradition of Ole’ St. Nic 😊
These are some things that I’ve found in my search of last minute ideas for myself. I’m hoping you have luck with these sites too!
My new favorite!!!! Volunteermatch.org
- These guys are amazing. My good friend Carolyn sent this to me. You can create a profile for yourself and they send you volunteer opportunities in your area based on what you listed in your profile!
Local Animal Shelters — www.fureverwild.org
- Volunteer possibilities at this center can be giving tours, washing buckets or other odd jobs to help maintain the care for these animals. Opportunities to assist are flexible.
- You can also reach out to different rescues that might need extra help with marketing, social media, fostering, and more. I love PNC Rescue but there are a lot more like Can Do Canines and more.
Ronald McDonald House — https://www.rmhtwincities.org
- Cook for families that are staying with their children in the hospital. You have no idea the impact this has on the people.
- https://rmhtwincities.volunteerhub.com/lp/OakStreetCFK/ — This location still has a December date available.
The Greater Minneapolis Crisis Nursery — https://www.crisisnursery.org/
- “The Holiday Helper Program supports families who access the Nursery’s services during the winter giving season. When you donate items from our Holiday Wish List you are putting smiles on the faces of local families who may not otherwise be able to celebrate the season.”
- You can also order Holiday Cards that will make a donation!! I think I am going to do this now that I just came across it!!!
Second hand harvest (food shelves) – www.2harvest.org
- They need more than 300 volunteers a day to help get food to people in need
People Serving People (helping the homeless) – www.peopleservingpeople.org
- During the holidays, volunteers are needed for holiday gift wrapping, toy shop set up and gift delivery. Holiday Helper opportunities are available for children at least 12 years of age and older when accompanied by an adult.
Meals on Wheels — www.meals-on-wheels.com
- There are family friendly projects like, making holiday cards, decorating lunch bags and even delivering the meals.
Sponsor a family – http://www.sponsorafamilymn.org/
- It may be too late to sponsor a specific family but they need help for late registered families!
- Purchase generic gifts, provide gift cards, or make a financial donation to the program which will be used for last minute families that do not get matched with specific sponsors.
It’s so close to Christmas and I know we are running out of time! For those of you who don’t have the time this year, my personal favorite (all throughout the year too) is buying gifts that give back. I watch to be sure the donation is sizable because I do understand that most companies, whether they share it or not, do some sort of charitable giving. The cause-centric companies, give me the opportunity to be in charge of where my money is going and typically gives more since they are going public with the donation. Jenny wrote a great blog with some ideas for gifts that give titled “Holiday Gift Ideas that Give Back” . And of course, there is always the fabulous Wine and Gifts that we sell from ONEHOPE Wine that gives back 50% of it’s profits to different charities.
Hopefully there are enough ideas for everyone here on the list. If you are looking for more ideas, comment below or send us a message! Remember, we must take care of ourselves in order to give to others but the catch is that giving to others is a gift to ourselves. Mind = blown 😊 Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!!!