So it’s about 2pm on Christmas Day. You’ve opened the presents, you’re stuffed with food, the relatives are getting on your nerves, and the kids are restless. Anything you can do to alleviate the issue and perhaps on this day help your fellow man, not to mention teach your kids some valuable lessons? Yup. Cook or bake something nice and visit the Christmas Day festivities at a homeless shelter, or even better, at a homeless shelter for US military veterans. Over the years I’ve worked and volunteered at both. Christmas Day is very special at those places.
At a standard homeless shelter there are many people devoid of hope for many reasons. It could be addictions, money, family, or other issues. And the holiday, by contrast with others, is reminding them how bad off they are. But, Christmas is very much a holiday of hope. So visit for a little, talk to someone, bring them a little food treat, and make their day brighter. It’ll make your day better too.
When it comes to a veterans homeless shelter, I ran one for 4 years, it’s a different story. The men, and some women, there have sacrificed and many times bled for this country. That means for you, and me, and our families. When I was in the Army there was a rough yet poignant comraderie that kept us going. Among men in a military environment, even a homeless shelter, you can still see it at play. But on Christmas Day other memories intervene. For me, it was walking a lonely guardpost at midnight on a Christmas eve in Germany. For others it was manning an outpost, or even being under fire at any number of places around the globe.
Christmas Day there can mean cold MREs or even a mess hall soiree so nice it only makes you miss back home all the more. The men and women you’ll find at a veterans homeless shelter on Christmas they are hurting because they could be very alone and forlorn. Help them out.
They aren’t asking for much from you. A Christmas treat, a pair of warm gloves, a heavy scarf, or maybe just a nice conversation to remind them that they are still people worthy of respect and regard, can be just what the doctor ordered for them. And it can remind you and your kids what’s important and the debt you and they owe these brave men and women not only for the ability to celebrate the holiday, but for the ability to celebrate the holiday as free Americans.