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For many seniors, the magic of Christmas has nothing to do with presents, but with presence.

It is supposed to be the most wonderful time of the year, but for some seniors Christmas can be lonely and a bleak period on the calendar.

While younger people in the community are surrounded by friends and family able to travel and visit with loved ones, some seniors, either through loss or by circumstance, find themselves alone and sometimes far from family members.

The holidays represent the season of giving: making family connections, sharing meals, and creating memories. However, the holidays would not be the same if people did not extend the good cheer beyond personal ties and seek ways to create joy for others, and volunteering in one’s local community is a wonderful way to give back and increase another’s well-being plus form new friendships. The act of generously giving your time is the fastest way to put smiles on another person’s face no matter the age.

If you’ve ever been a recipient of random acts of kindness, you know the pleasure, but when you turn the tables from receiving to giving, the feelings of joy and satisfaction double. What you receive through giving is miraculous and immediate. You won’t have to wait long to experience its value. It begins when you touch the other person’s life through kindness.

This Christmas, take a moment and stop and think about how a simply act of kindness can make the difference in the life of a senior living alone. This doesn’t mean another trip to the busy shopping mall to find another last minute gift. Instead, what senior’s value most in this hectic and sometimes chaotic world around us, is simply the gift of one’s time. Research has shown that spending as little as an hour with a senior living alone or in care over Christmas can help mitigate serious health effects caused by loneliness and social isolation.

Lastly, don’t feel the need to undertake this act of kindness alone. As much as we want our children to get excited about all of the festivities of the holidays, it is also an opportunity to teach them to focus their hearts and minds outward on others.

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