The Power of an Hour: 6 Places to Spend 60 Minutes on Christmas Day

By Christina Lorey

November 18, 2022

“It’s difficult for one person to make a difference in the world, but to one person you can make a world of difference.”

Nursing Homes
Of the 21,000 people living in Wisconsin nursing homes, 60% never receive a personal visitor. For many, the holidays are merely one long reminder of the people and places that are no longer in their lives. Whether you play a game of cards or just sit and talk, your holiday visit will create a positive memory for both of you. 
Click here to find a nursing home near you.

Animals Shelters
More animals are abandoned during the month of December than any other time of year. By January, 6 million “present pets” will fill US shelters, which are already overwhelmed by COVID-fueled abandonments. Many shelters create special volunteer shifts on holidays to give their paid staff members time with their families. And all you have to do is play with dogs. A win-win! 
Click here to find an animal shelter near you.

Women’s Shelters
Reports of domestic violence spike during the holidays, as victims spend more time trapped indoors with their abusive partners. Wisconsin has 83 organizations committed to helping these women in 60 cities across the state. By serving meals, collecting and distributing donations, or simply swinging by to drop off a holiday donation of your own (toiletries, clothes, and toys are most-needed), you’ll make an immediate impact. 
Click here to find a women’s, family, homeless, and/or youth shelter near you.

Local Hospitals
For the first holiday season since 2019, many hospitals are open to visitors and volunteers (although you may still be asked to wear a mask). Help cheer up those who can’t go home for the holidays by keeping them company while they eat, watch TV, or playing a quick card game by their bedside. Many hospitals are also looking for volunteers to greet and direct visitors. 
Click here to find your nearest hospital.

Soup Kitchens
One of the most popular places to volunteer on Thanksgiving and Christmas, some still need an extra set of hands to serve meals, pack to-go portions, and sort donations. Just call ahead to make sure you won’t be more of a nuisance! If all holiday spots are full, consider signing up for a shift in January, when need remains high and volunteer numbers significantly fall. 
Click here to find a soup kitchen near you.

A Cause You Care About
The United Way of Wisconsin worked year-round to connect people in need with places that help. The nonprofit runs a database filled with hundreds of volunteer openings in all 72 counties. You can filter your search by distance, interest, age, impact, and about a dozen other criteria. 
Click here to sign up for a holiday opportunity near you.

The Power of an Hour: 6 Places to Spend 60 Minutes on Christmas Day


  • Christina Lorey

    Christina is an Edward R. Murrow-winning journalist and former producer, reporter, and anchor for TV stations in Madison and Moline. When she’s not writing or asking questions, you can find her volunteering with Girls on the Run, the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network, and various mental health organizations.

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