Christmas is a time of hope, and it can be a time to better our communities. From staff writer Joelle Kidd, here are some ways to share Christmas outside the home—one for each of the 12 days.

Use fair trade chocolate and sugar in your holiday baking, and fair trade coffee beans for your morning cup.

Donate an extra coat or pair of boots, or a new pack of warm socks, to a local homeless shelter.

Pull an extra chair to the family table for a friend or acquaintance who is a newcomer, is living far from home or who doesn’t have family around.

Challenge yourself to give loved ones meaningful, no-spend gifts, like a handmade item or some quality time.

Choose zero-waste options for Christmas decorations, like origami ornaments or gift wrapping made from scrap paper and fabrics.

Shop for Christmas gifts at thrift stores, church bazaars, or fair trade shops like Mennonite church-run Ten Thousand Villages.

Donate a turkey or sponsor a Christmas dinner for a family living in poverty, through a local organization.

Do your Christmas shopping through the Primate’s World Relief and Development Fund World of Gifts or the Anglican Foundation of Canada, or make a donation to Giving with Grace.

Gather a group and sing carols at an elderly care home.

In a season of homecoming, advocate for displaced people: donate to UNHCR, the UN refugee agency, or help sponsor a refugee coming to Canada.

Connect with your wider community by attending ecumenical or interfaith holiday celebrations.

Images: Michele Paccione/Shutterstock

Non-profits typically see volunteer interest spike during the holiday season and drop off dramatically in the new year. Sign up to help in a soup kitchen or food bank after the Christmas rush.

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