But not all gifts come in a neatly wrapped box with a bow. Many come from the heart in the form of volunteer work.
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Whether you have one hour or loads of free time, opportunities abound in most communities for spreading a little holiday cheer.
Nonprofits, clubs and businesses all are in need of a helping hand, such as distributing toys to children in need or delivering meals to the homebound.
For those who answer the call and decide to volunteer, "they often receive more than they give," said Bernadette Wagner. "Their lives are enriched by enriching others."
As co-director of Volunteer Washington County (VWC), a clearinghouse for all aspects of area volunteerism, Wagner sees individuals on a daily basis who generously donate their time and energy.
But, during the holidays, people tend to be "especially aware of and grateful for family, health and material possessions. And, consequently, they also become aware of those who don't have as much for which to be thankful," she said.
For several months, Wagner's phone stays busy with calls from people who want to help brighten someone's holiday.
Many of the callers ask if they can adopt a family for whom they can provide gifts and food, she noted.
Because VWC strives to meet the needs of nonprofits rather than individual families, Wagner said she directs these callers to the Department of Social Services, religious institutions, The Salvation Army and other organizations in the VWC database.
But there still are many other opportunities to serve the community during the holidays and beyond and VWC's website makes it easy for volunteers and organizations to connect, Wagner said.
Prospective volunteers can register and provide information for a general online database, search by keyword and browse more than 500 nonprofit organizations and learn about the services they provide.
Wagner said people who contact Volunteer Washington County come from all backgrounds and ages.
"Different ages volunteer for different reasons, have different skills to offer and receive different benefits from volunteering," she said.
But they have one important thing in common. They all find it rewarding, Wagner said.
"Volunteer Washington County frequently hears from volunteers on how much they enjoy volunteering and not just during the holiday/Christmas season," she shared.
Among the comments VWC has received were those from a woman who volunteered at Potomac Center as a life guard and enjoyed seeing the smiles on the faces of the residents. A man who mentors teens said he liked knowing he's making a difference.
Wagner referenced David Richo, a well-known psychologist who talks about the "five A's" of a healthy relationship: acceptance, affection, allowing, appreciation and attention.
"I think these are the things that people receive from volunteering," she said.