Christmas traditions aren’t just for Christians. For many Jewish people, Christmas brings a tradition of our own – volunteering.
For Jews, performing a mitzvah means to do a good deed, or a charitable act. During the holiday season, our thoughts turn naturally to bringing joy to others, especially to children, elders, and families in need.
There’s a tremendous need for volunteers at Christmas. Organizations that count on regular volunteers find it harder to fill those important roles on the holiday. And social service providers see the demand for their services rise as they work to make Christmas joyful for families.
Many older adults find that, especially after retirement, volunteering brings new meaning to their lives – along with new friends and skills. If you’re looking to volunteer on Christmas day – whether by yourself or with your family – here are some Christmas volunteer ideas:
• Prepare or serve meals at a homeless shelter
• Bring food or thank you cards to first responders – like police officers and firefighters – who have to work on the holiday
• Visit a nursing home and spend time with a senior who can’t be with family
• Check with your synagogue or local Jewish community organization – many organize group volunteer activities for Christmas Day
I know one man who even dressed up as Santa to bring presents to children at a housing community for low-income families.
Every day – including Christmas Day – there’s a need for volunteers at Hebrew Rehabilitation Center. Our volunteers transport residents to activities, events, and appointments throughout the building. Volunteers lead card games, help with meals, support the on-site beauty shop, or simply sit and chat with residents. I can assure you that our staff and residents will be incredibly grateful for your time.
For many Jewish people, including me, giving back to our community is a way of life. Set aside one day to donate your time, and maybe you’ll start a Christmas tradition of your own.