Christmas is about giving right? Finding the perfect present for loved one’s, planning amazing feasts for family and lets not forget, sharing round all those Christmas chocs. There’s no doubt about it, Christmas is excessive these days, people putting themselves into debt to outdo others in the most amazing Christmas stakes. Children becoming increasingly ungrateful because they only go 34 presents and Freddie at school got 37. When did we start teaching our kids that the only thing that matters on Christmas day is how expensive and how many gifts they receive?
I’m guilty of this too, I’ve been known to go to Christmas extremes, buying gifts I can’t afford, and trying to have the BEST CHRISTMAS EVER. But what is the best Christmas ever? To me Christmas means being with family, spending time together and making memories. I’m not sure when I lost sight of that and it turned into a competition.
Give Something Back This Christmas
I have recently seen people on social media talking about kindness calendars and reverse advent calendars, teaching their children to give something back rather than expecting to receive all the time. One of the suggestions was to donate to a food bank so I emailed my local one to see what they were in need of. As I expected the reply was the usual well dated cupboard essentials and toiletries, what I wasn’t expecting however was their request for treats to give to children for Christmas. I am ashamed that that hadn’t even occurred to me but it really struck a chord. We totally take being able to treat our children for granted, when there are people out there struggling just to put a hot meal on the table.
I have started collecting bits to send to the food bank and I have also been looking at other ways I can give something back this Christmas. Imagine if we all just gave a little something back, think of how much we could change someones outlook on life by showing a little kindness. I have been looking at other places that need some help this Christmas so I thought I would share some suggestions here. If your children are old enough, why not get them involved to, show them that Christmas is not just about receiving but about giving too.
Contact your local one and see what they are in need of. I have been collecting a couple of bits every time I go shopping ready to donate. Alternatively see if your local food bank has a collection point inside a supermarket. How easy would it be to just pick up one extra thing and pop it into the box as you are leaving. That one item could really make a difference to someone.
Samaritans Christmas shoe box appeal
Every November from the 1st to the 18th, the Samaritans collect shoe boxes filled with toys, school supplies, hygiene items and a donation of £5 to cover costs. The boxes then get distributed around the world to children that need them. You can find a list of suggestions to pack and your local drop off points on their website. This is a great one to get your children involved with.
Teddy bear trust
This is a new one that I only found out about the other day. The teddy trust send off your teddy donations to war torn countries, to give affected children some much needed comfort. I am sure most of us are harbouring lots of unloved teddies, I know we have a big tub of them that never see the light of day. I have always just took unwanted teddies to the charity shop but I will definitely be donating to the teddy trust in future. Currently they are in the process of moving so have requested no teddies be sent until the new year. You can still help by donating £5 to postage costs though. All details are on their website.
I had no idea baby banks were even a thing until I watched a TV program on them last week. They are new so currently there are not many locations to make donations, but it’s worth having a google to find if one is local to you or there is a alternative service you can donate your pre-loved baby items too.
Many woman and children have left their homes in a hurry, often taking no belongings with them. Just like the food bank, you can contact your local refuge and ask what donations they are in need of. You can also donate money online.
Why not offer to volunteer this festive season. A lot of charities are desperately in need of volunteers to help them cope with all the extra work at Christmas time.
Homeless trusts are crying out for warm winter clothes, sleeping bags and blankets during winter. Not to mention donations to enable them to provide hot meal to those in need. I was homeless at the age of 16 so this is something quite close to my heart. Crisis are currently requesting £28.18 in order to provide a Christmas dinner and shelter for a homeless person on Christmas Day.
Volunteer your time
They always say charity begins at home right? You could offer to babysit your friends children, cook a meal for an elderly relative or neighbour, why not even invite them for Christmas dinner if you know they will be spending the day alone. If one of your mum friends is struggling, why not pop round and watch the kids whilst she catches up with housework or goes for a much needed nap. Perhaps you could put together a little festive food parcel for a family that is struggling for money. There are lots of little ways you can really put a smile on someone’s face.
Random acts of kindness
If you are after some more inspiration on how to get the kiddies involved, Pinterest has some great ideas, including random acts of kindness calendars, a great alternative to the traditional advent calendar.
Don’t forget, if your are decluttering your house in time for Christmas, check at local churches, community centres schools and playgroups etc. to see if you have anything they need.
A little Kindness goes a long way