Your V-Crew: Part 1

Hannah Hughart
December 2, 2022

Donations and volunteerism traditionally spike during November and December. The holidays inspire many to give to others. According to Noble Hour, “We donate more money and seek out shelters, kitchens, and causes where we can volunteer our time. Statistics show about 30% of all donations for nonprofits come during the month of December alone and about 16% of adults volunteer approximately 2 hours a month between Thanksgiving and Christmas (5% more than the rest of the year). Businesses also take part in the giving season, making it a veritable rainstorm of volunteers.”

The spirit of giving doesn’t need to be an individual expression. In this season of giving to others, we can make it fun by including those around us. As we decide to donate our finances or give of our time in a worthy way, we can ask friends and family to join us. ‘The more, the merrier’ is true here. When more people join together to give, the more people will be impacted.

Donate on behalf of someone else.

If we’re being honest with each other, no one really needs more “stuff” that you will invariably accumulate from Christmas party gift exchanges. Not to mention, purchasing gifts for all the people on our list can quickly become a point of financial stress. We worry if we’ve done enough, if that shirt is the right color, if that gift card will be considered a cop-out.

So why bother buying ‘stuff’ that other people don’t actually need? Younger kids may appreciate the thrill of opening a gift on Christmas Day more, but plenty of adults may actually appreciate not being given more stuff that they have to store or discreetly throw out later. If you’re willing to send $X per person, consider donating that amount to an organization which resonates with you or your family member.

Giving (or angel) trees are a great way to bless someone else while still being able to experience that Christmas shopping thrill. If you’re unaware of what a giving tree is, it’s essentially an organization’s Wish List. They hang tags or ornaments on a publicly placed Christmas tree filled out with needed items. Members of the community can take a tag, purchase the listed items, and return the items to the organization. This is a fabulous family activity that can teach the beauty and value of giving to others. If there are kids items on an angel tree, let your own kids pick them out!

Give of your time.

What a better way to give during the holidays than to give of your time? If the traditional soup kitchen, bell ringing, or food drive isn’t your area of strength, get creative! Whatever you decide to do, don’t do it alone. You have your own power team around you: your Volunteer Crew. Family and friends care about what you care about (most of the time). If you make the effort to organize a volunteer/service event where all they have to do is come, they may be more willing to join you.

Last year, my Monday night small group decided to go Christmas caroling around the neighborhood instead of having our own Christmas party. But we didn’t just stand in the cold and sing for strangers. Some of us had gathered at my house a week earlier to put together Christmas goodie bags that we handed out to each house where we stopped to sing. I may have nearly frozen my nose and toes in the Wisconsin winter wind, but the warm responses we received gave me a memory far more impactful than a gift exchange Christmas party. A Hundredfold: a reward out of this world – Life in a Stillshot (

Volunteering can become a new group tradition! Perhaps your family can start a Christmastime tradition of giving your time for someone else. You can shovel the neighbor’s driveway/sidewalk or take a meal to a shut-in from your community. Take a group to the nearest processing center for Operation Christmas Child and make a day of the experience. If you have friends who love making an excessive amount of Christmas goodies, consider taking a batch or two to your local fire station. The possibilities are extensive, and everyone can include those in your personal circle.

As you start to think about time spent with your crew, why not make a plan to spend time together giving to someone else?

Photo Credit: Hannah Hughart

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