Tired of the same Christmas events year in and year out? Do you wake up and watch television, eat a lovely breakfast, open the gifts, eat some more and watch television, while nibbling on yet more snacks? Do you ever wonder that maybe there’s more to Christmas than this? There are many great ways you can improve yours AND another person’s life for the better this Christmas season.

So let’s clear our diary and think about how we can experience the delightful warm glow in the knowledge that you gave your all, and in some way changed someone’s life for the better this season. Here are a few ideas to get you started:

1. Help the Homeless

Sadly many people find that they are in an unfortunate situation and have become homeless during the Christmas season.

Usually the coldest time of the year many of us take it for granted that we have a wonderful and warm home to go to. For the homeless, there are shelters that help them stay warm. Why not volunteer your services to help keep these people warm?

You can hand out coats and hats or gloves, help in a soup kitchen, offer up skills that you may have such as hair dressing or knitting (teach them to knit scarves to stay warmer).

A few minutes at a shelter and you’ll stop feeling sorry for yourself and find someone else to attend to.

2. Help the Elderly

Christmas is a time to spend with family.

Many elderly live on their own or in a home and would love to have your company on Christmas day more than any other day of the year.

Do you have an elderly neighbour?

Perhaps you know of someone who lives nearby and is all alone.

Grab the kids, bake a batch of cookies and deliver them for someone really special. Invite them to your Christmas dinner.

Call the retirement home and ask how you can assist this season.

Read to them, put a puzzle together with them or simply sit and listen as they reminisce about yester-year.

3. Charity

Whether you help to raise funds for a specific cause, or you provide some community support, volunteering throughout Christmas is a great way to help out.

Many national charities need help during the Christmas season. From fund raisers to wrapping gifts for children who wouldn’t otherwise have a gift, you can help out.

Offer to do the shopping for a tree, make some soup for a soup kitchen, field phone calls or deliver gifts.

Go Christmas carolling to the shut-ins, or call around and find out where your expertise could fit in.

4. Remember the Furry Friends

Animal lovers will be delighted that there are many ways to assist feathered and furry friends.

Call your local animal rescue centre and ask how you can help.

Have a drive for warm bedding for pets (clean old blankets and clean flannel shirts work great for this purpose), towels, treats, snacks and disinfectant are also welcome additions for these locations.

Step in and volunteer while staff are on holidays.

5. Local Children’s Hospital or Hospice

Staying in the hospital is never fun but with a little help from others it can be tolerable.

Christmas is often a difficult time for these parents who aren’t home with their children. You can offer some great support during this time and bring a smile to a sick or dying child.

Buy an extra gift while you’re out shopping and deliver it to the hospital for a child who is a patient there.

Simply take advantage of a buy one get one gift offer. Clean out your children’s gently used toys and donate them to a children’s hospital, hospice or local Ronald McDonald house.