Sometimes it can be easy to get caught up in the materialistic side of Christmas and slightly lose perspective as to what really matters. Here are five ways that you can give back this Christmas.
1. Look out for your neighbours
They say charity starts at home – do you know someone who is spending the festive period alone? If there is room at the inn perhaps you could invite them round. If increasing numbers on Christmas day is not possible then perhaps you could invite them round for a cuppa at some point during the Christmas season. Sometimes just a Christmas card through a letterbox can make all the difference to someone feeling isolated.
2. Donate money instead of writing Christmas cards
I’ve seen this done quite a lot this year, instead of writing tonnes of Christmas cards you can donate the money that you would have spent on cards and stamps to a charity of your choice. If you still want to touch base with friends and relatives a company called dontsendmeacard.com will send them an e-card on your behalf and you can also choose the charity and make the donation online via them too.
3. Help the homeless
Whilst we may be dreaming of a white Christmas the 128,000 homeless children in the UK (data from Shelter) may be hoping for an unseasonably warm one. Many local areas have their own pop-up winter shelters which normally take place in churches during the coldest months. In order to volunteer in these shelters you normally have to attend some kind of training which can also be hugely beneficial to your CV. If volunteering is not your bag then you can donate money to charities who support homeless people and find out what Christmas cheer you are spreading by doing so. For example, donating £30 to Porchlight can provide someone with a Christmas tree and decorations, or £70 can provide 10 Christmas dinners for people who are homeless.
4. Buy an extra present for someone who goes without
You will find many different charities who put together presents for children in need this Christmas. If you are out buying presents for your brood then what’s one more for a child who would otherwise go without. Many charities nationwide run these appeals including:
- The Salvation Army Christmas appeal (new gifts for 0-16 year olds)
- The Met Police Christmas appeal (presents for various children in need, including refuges, disadvantaged families and hospitals)
- The Refuge Gift List Appeal (you can select a present online and it will be given to a woman or child living in a refuge)
5. Help someone living in a developing country
If you want to combine your donation with a gift for a friend or relative you could get them something from the Oxfam Unwrapped Charity Gifts range. The first year after my eldest was born I was gifted one of these gifts – a safe delivery for a woman in a developing country – and it meant a huge amount. This year I’m going to get some education based gifts for my children – I particularly like the look of the Super Girl Starter Kit, a £13 gift that means Oxfam can provide education, leadership training and attitude-changing media campaigns, helping to empower women and girls to claim their civil rights.
If you have any other ideas as to how to give a little back during the Christmas period please do let us know in the comments, we’d love to hear what you and your family do to ensure that the festive season is one of goodwill. Have a very Merry Give-mas!