As Christmas gets closer, many people are trying to figure out ways to do something special for those in the community around them. Hobbyists have some amazing opportunities to use their hobbies to make a difference.
This December, whether you love to bake, quilt, cook, scrapbook or collect, here are some tips for helping during the holidays.
Kitchen help: If you plan to bake cookies or make breads and pies, plan ahead and prepare a double batch. By cooking double, you will have something to share with a neighbor, friend or someone else who may need it. Look through your stash in the cabinets. If you are a coupon user, chances are you probably have an excess amount of something in your cabinet. If you find that you have a few extra tubes of toothpaste shampoo bottles, boxes of pasta or canned goods, put together a box or basket and share with someone in the nursing home or someone who you feel could use an extra boost this season.
Arts: If your hobby is music or storytelling, consider contacting McDowell Place, the hospital or other retirement homes and find out if there is an opportunity for you to come and provide music or entertainment during a lunch break. I have spent many hours playing the piano during meals or afternoon breaks for residents and patients like this. There is just something special about sharing the arts with someone who can no longer get out and participate in public concerts, recitals or exhibits.
Reading: If you are an avid reader, you may find that you have a surplus of books magazines or crossword puzzle activity books. Maybe you could sort through your stash and find some books that you're done with. You can take them to the local doctors office, hospital waiting room or Salvation Army. There are many people who would love to have a new book or activity pad. When we spent several hours waiting in a hospital room recently, we were relieved to find a stash of children’s books and activity pads with crayons just waiting for us.
Pets: If you love pets and don't have one of your own, consider picking up an extra bag of food or supplies and donating it to the local animal shelter. Look around you neighborhood to see if you have a neighbor who regularly walks their dog. Maybe you could offer to give them a break and take the dog for a walk yourself. If outdoor animals are more your thing, check with local farmers or animal rescues. In addition to the regular options, the Lil Wrangler Rescue is a local organization that works with the community to help neglected horses and animals find good homes. They regularly need feed, hay and straw for the animals. You can find more about them on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/lilwranglersrescue.
Woodworking: If woodworking is more your specialty, then look around to see if any local churches are building props, stages or nativity scenes for Christmas displays. Maybe you could volunteer to help put your expertise to good use and make life easier on someone who doesn't know much about construction.
Scrapbooking/cardmaking: If you are a master with paper, scissors and craft supplies, you could offer to help an elderly neighbor or friend with their Christmas cards. Many people still love to send out personalized cards but can’t do the writing due to arthritis or other problems. Grab a few of your supplies and help someone send their holiday greetings in style.
Whatever you hobby, there are ways to make a difference in someone’s life this holiday season. You can see a collection of inspiring stories of how ordinary people are making a difference at http://hobbiesonabudget.com/get-inspired/.
I can’t wait to hear how you choose to give back this holiday season.
Sharon Williams blogs about life, saving money and pursuing your hobbies without breaking your budget at www.hobbiesonabudget.com.