12 Ways to Celebrate in the True Spirit of Christmas
Christmas is one of the most celebrated holidays internationally. An estimated over 2 billion of the world’s 7.53 billion people in more than 160 countries observe the occasion. In fact, when you see Orchard Road all decked out in lights and decorations, when you see Christmas trees springing up in malls and homes, when carols become the soundtrack of your shopping experience and you are reminded to turn up for parties and family get-togethers with gifts in hand, you know it is that time of the year again.
But these are not really what Christmas is about. Christmas is the day Christians remember the birth of Jesus whom they believe came to earth in an act of sacrificial love to reconcile sinful man to God. His gift of himself to humanity brought not just hope but also joy to the world.
Believer or otherwise, it is difficult to dispute the values that Christmas promotes – love, joy, peace, hope and sacrificial giving. This year, we give you 12 ideas (one for each of the 12 days of Christmas) on how you can celebrate the season sharing the true spirit of the occasion.
Do you have a passion for something? Is there something you love a lot? You can share that love with someone else this Christmas?
1. Therapy Dogs Singapore
This is the perfect place to share your love of dogs and your dog with the elderly, the disabled and underprivileged children. Simply sign yourself and your pet up at the non-profit volunteer welfare organisation and be committed to joining them for at least four events in six months.
Interacting with canines have been known to reduce blood pressure, provide physical stimuli, and even help pain management. Therapy dogs can also alleviate stress and trauma in children, helping them relax; and encourage movement, socialisation and speech. This is your chance to share your dog’s unconditional love with someone else who could use the boost.
2. Riding for the Disable Association Singapore
RDA Singapore lets you take your love of horses and use it to help others. Here, horse-riding therapy or hippotherapy is used to benefit physically and mentally challenged children and adults.
As a volunteer, you can be a part of the therapy session by being a side walker (walking along the horse and providing support to the riders), horse leader or co-ordinator. You can also work at their barn, cleaning and maintaining the area. You can even put your photography and videography skills to use by helping them record the events.
3. Very Special Arts Singapore
If you have a love for speech and drama, dance, music, singing, yoga or some other interests and can share them with others, you can help out at Very Special Arts Singapore teaching disabled children and adults. This way, you get to do what you love, share that love with others and help people along the way.
Christmas can be a difficult time for those who do not have the means to shop and feast or no one to shop for or feast with. You can spend the season giving these lonely and forgotten sectors of our society a reason to rejoice.
4. Willing Hearts
Instead of enjoying the great food that comes with Christmas, you can bring food to those who do not have much to eat - the elderly, disabled, low-income homes, single-parent families as well as migrant workers. Join Willing Hearts, a secular, non-affiliated charity that runs a soup kitchen which prepares and serves about 5,000 meals every day of the year to over 40 locations around the island. They need people to cook and pack the meals, and clean up the kitchen from as early as 5am daily.
5. Mummy Yummy Singapore
This deliverer of vegan food to the Shenton Way area also does charity by distributing free vegan meals to the needy during the weekends. Thus far, 142 rental blocks are beneficiaries of their programme. They have a central kitchen hat prepares the food but you can sign up to deliver the meals. This is a great opportunity for you bring cheer even as you bring food.
6. Lion’s Befriender
The elderly feel especially lonely during festive occasions. With Lion’s Befrienders, you can visit senior citizens weekly in their homes to keep them company, lend a listening ear, remind them of their doctor’s visits or to take their medication, and check up on their living conditions to ensure their golden years are lived out with dignity.
7. Beyond Social Services
While most children look forward to Christmas because it means presents, there are some for whom there is nothing to look forward to. Beyond is a charity that helps such children and youths from some 10,000 less privileged homes. You can run activities for the children such as teaching them a skill or sharing a hobby, host events or simply be a friend.
Being terminally ill, or being caught in a situation for which you neither wanted or planned can make you feel that all hope is gone. These next few volunteer opportunities are perfect for giving hope to many in hopeless situations.
8. Make-A-Wish Foundation Singapore
This organisation grants wishes of children and teens going through difficult medical treatments or with life-threatening illnesses. Part of a global organisation which started in 1980, Make A Wish Foundation Singapore aims to give these sick children and teens hope for the future and strength to face the challenges of their situation. Of course, the joy that they feel when their wildest dreams come true also has a deep and lasting impact on their well-being. You can be part of a team that puts together the elements to help a child have a dinosaur party, go to Disneyland and be a Disney princess for a day or swim with whale sharks and turtles.
9. Club Rainbow (Singapore)
This is an organisation that supports children who have major chronic or potentially life-threatening illnesses. Free services that include counselling, group sharing sessions, social activities, tuition, enrichment classes and even financial assistance are offered and you can be a part of those. If you like a more sustained relationship with the people you help, this is ideal.
10. Babes Pregnancy Crisis Support
Christmas commemorates the birth of Jesus so it is particularly fitting that you should help out at Babes. A spin-off from Beyond Social Services, the programme supports and guides pregnant teens, providing tuition, tech support, or just a shoulder to lean on as well as organising activities and fund-raisers.
11. Make Amends
This one is not a charity but it is something that needs to be added to the list in this season of love, joy, peace and hope. Is there someone whom you have hurt or who has hurt you, someone once dear to you but whom you no longer contact because of a falling out? Take the time to make peace with the situation, your feelings and then the person. As you bring love, joy and hope, create space in your life to promote peace, one relationship at a time.
It is easy to give money. You might even give your time which, in hectic Singapore, is a big deal. But to literally give of yourself takes true sacrifice. Here is one way you can do just that.
12. Singapore Red Cross
One bag of blood can save three lives. You can be someone’s hero by donating your blood at any of the four blood banks in Singapore – Health Sciences Authority, Woodlands, Dhoby Ghaut and Westgate Tower. It is as easy as making an appointment and walking in. Alternatively, you can take part in their community blood donation drives.