Volunteering at Christmas – Astrid Halliday Guest Post

 I’m super excited to publish this post as it the first ever guest post on my blog. 

A few weeks ago, I was lucky enough to have been contacted by Astrid asking if there was and room for a guest post on my blog, obviously I said yes! After discussing content and the fact that I’m focussing on Christmas, Astrid sent me over this wonderful piece about volunteering over the Christmas period. I loved this idea and couldn’t wait to share it with everyone else.

Astrid loves travelling and especially getting away overseas to help build and develop a community. Volunteering many times with  Original Volunteers and also with  Habitat For Humanity, she loves sharing her passion and encouraging others to travel in a similar way.

So on to the post. Hopefully, you’ll all enjoy what Astrid has to write, because I know I did!

Volunteering at Christmas – Astrid Halliday

As the festive season approaches many take this time to give back and volunteer. Whilst some volunteer in their local community and help their neighbours, there are many who take advantage of time off work and explore a new country through volunteering abroad. But where are the best places to volunteer abroad over the Christmas period?

Animals

Animals don’t have a concept of Christmas and sanctuaries have to run 365 days a year. Helping hands can run short during the Christmas period making it the perfect time to volunteer and really make a difference! There are a lot of animal sanctuaries south of the equator, where it is summer in December. So you don’t have to worry about walking dogs in the snow or being in miserable rain!

Marine Conservation

Generally, marine conservation projects are located around the equator, making it a perfect destination for anyone wishing to return back from the Christmas break with a tan. Enjoy warm oceans around the world helping on a marine conservation project. Swap your Christmas jumper for a novelty Christmas swimsuit instead!

Food Pantries

Soup kitchens, food drives and food pantries can all use helping hands around Christmas, there are so many mouths to feed and everyone deserved to eat delicious food at Christmas time. You can choose to volunteer in your local community or join the many volunteers who choose to spend the festive season abroad. There are cities all over the world that welcome international volunteers to help feed those who can’t afford to feed themselves.

Reindeer Farms

Embrace the festive season and get in the mood for Christmas up close and personal with some of Santa’s best friends, reindeers. There are many reindeer farms all over the world, mainly you will find them in Norway, Denmark, Sweden and Russia. Herds vary from anywhere between 50,000 to 500,000 and volunteers can help in a number of ways: Herding the reindeer using a snowmobile, fetching runaways who have strayed from the herd and general carpentry on the farm. Most reindeer farms also have sled dogs, sometimes volunteer get involved with training them and getting them familiar with pulling a sled.

Finland

Guarantee a white Christmas and combine volunteering with building snowmen, getting and snowball fights and perhaps even visiting the real Santa’s grotto. Lapland, Finland is arguably the best place to spend Christmas because you can actually meet the main man himself! Santa lives in Lapland and although the elves may be busy, they still open up the grotto for tours.

Morocco

Perfect for volunteers who are trying to escape the festive season, as Morocco is predominantly a Muslim country. The locals don’t celebrate Christmas so it is an ideal destination for travellers trying to avoid the western traditions.

Summer months in Morocco can be unbearable with highs reaching over forty degrees Celsius. Because of the heat,for a lot of tourists don’t get to see much, they spend most of their time in their hotel appreciating the air con. Visiting Morocco in winter months allows travellers to see more of the country, to walk around without melting.

Thailand

Another country where most of the population don’t celebrate this tradition is Thailand. Over ninety percent of the local people are Buddhist, which is a religion that is very tolerant to other religions, in major cities you may still find hints of the celebration but not as predominantly as in either England or America. There’ll be a few elephants with Santa’s hats on and Christmas trees among the palm trees. A great way to travel and experience another culture, while still enjoying the time of year.

And that’s it!

I want to thank Astrid again for getting in touch, it’s been a pleasure to share your work! If anyone else would like to submit a post to be included on the blog, please f=don’t hesitate to get in touch at niamhrblogs@gmail.com.

Thanks for reading, there’ll be a new post up soon X

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