For years, the saying “it’s better to give than to receive” has punctuated the holiday season, pushing a message of selflessness in a time when it’s easy for us to get wrapped up (no pun intended) in our own material things. But in 2010, science proved that the saying is more than just a catchphrase. It turns out that one’s sense of happiness is greater when they spend relatively more on others than on themselves.

But in the true spirit of the season, we want to focus today’s post on giving our time—instead of presents—which we like to think is the greatest gift of all. We’ve compiled a list below of a few volunteer opportunities here in North Carolina for those of you looking to cement your name on the “Nice” list.

Help Build Affordable Housing – This opportunity in Siler City, a small town in western Chatham County, is for volunteers interested in helping to construct two new homes. If you’d like to participate, you must be 16 years or older, but this project is great for group service projects. Remember to wear closed-toed shoes and clothes that you don’t mind getting dirty. You can find more information here.

Ring for Kettles – Nothing signifies the holiday season like those red buckets and bell ringers with The Salvation Army. If you’re in Durham, Orange, and Person Counties, here’s your chance to step up and help raise money for those who really need it. Kids who are 8-years-old or older are allowed to participate with parental supervision. You can find more information here.

Spread Love for Christmas Day – The NW Cary YMCA is looking for volunteers for its Presents of Peace celebration on Saturday, Dec. 14. The Y is particularly in need of volunteers who are bi-lingual to help serve as personal shoppers. The event allows families in the community who may not be able to afford presents to select gifts for loved ones. You can also donate a gift before Thursday, Dec. 12. You can find more information here.

Habitat Blitzmas Event – Habitat for Humanity Wake County is planning to build a new Habitat home in just 12 days! You must be 18 years or older to participate in the Blitzmas, but you can use it for group service projects. Here’s your chance to help a local family spend the holidays in a new home. You can find more information here.

Operation Christmas Child – Charlotte is the home of one of several processing centers for a project called Operation Christmas Child. Volunteers will assemble shoeboxes full of gifts and send them to children throughout the world. If you would like to participate, you must be at least 13-years-old. Don’t wait to sign-up as processing will finish no later than Saturday, Dec. 21. You can find more information here.

MANNA FoodBank – Volunteering at MANNA, an Asheville-based member of the Feeding America network, is a worthwhile cause year-round—but it takes on an especially significant meaning during the holidays. As a result, volunteer slots will often fill up well in advance, but it’s worth inquiring to see if they need additional hands. You can find more information here.

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