Christmas is that special time of the year when you traditionally exchange warm wishes and Christmas cards and presents with loved ones, and tuck into a festive feast. The season of goodwill can be a tough and challenging time for people who are less fortunate than you. For those struggling to make ends meet, and the lonely, recently bereaved, and homeless, Christmas isn’t worth celebrating.
Acts of kindness, at this time of the year, can be hugely beneficial to the recipient, and also have a positive impact on your own happiness and sense of wellbeing. There are countless ways in which you can spread the Christmas cheer, and help the less fortunate in the process…
Volunteer In Your Community
Christmas is the time of the year when we usually feel more charitable and giving. This doesn’t mean that you have to have access to lots of money, in order to make a difference to someone less fortunate. Volunteering your time, energy and expertise, costs you nothing in financial terms. It is however acknowledged as a priceless contribution by the people that you help.
This Christmas, set the intention to help your local community by getting involved with a charitable project, lending a helping hand, or raising money for a good cause. Volunteering is a selfless act that can help to transform the lives of many people, especially during the festive season.
Volunteer to help organise the donations at a local food bank, or to wrap up the Christmas presents that are donated for disadvantaged children. Alternatively, you can search online for volunteering opportunities that are offered by individual charities.
Give Charitable Christmas Gifts
Whilst you’re busy writing out your Christmas cards and preparing for a wonderful Christmas in the company of your loved ones, spare a thought for the less fortunate. Not everyone has family or friends, a cosy home, or plenty of food to eat. People who are homeless, or are struggling to make ends meet, are appreciative of charitable Christmas gifts.
Make up some Christmas stockings, and deliver them to a homeless shelter or charity in your neighbourhood, to let the less fortunate know that they are not forgotten. Wrap up a selection of personal hygiene products, and a warm hat, scarf and gloves. Don’t forget to add some Christmas treats too! If you have young children, get them involved in the charitable project and teach them the importance of caring for others.
Children that are spending Christmas in hospital may naturally feel that they’re missing out on all of the fun of the festive season. Children from disadvantaged families, or in children’s homes, may not have the kind of Christmas that is happy and magical. For these youngsters, having a present to open on Christmas Day can really transform their experience of the festive season.
You can donate some of your children’s unwanted toys that they have outgrown, or buy new toys. If you’re a keen knitter or an expert handicrafter, you can make your own gifts for children, and play at being Santa.
Befriend The Elderly
It’s estimated that as many as one in three elderly people feel lonely and isolated. Loneliness has a detrimental impact on health and wellbeing. If you have an elderly neighbour, make the time to emotionally connect with them this Christmas. You can offer to help with practical tasks like shopping, DIY or taking the dog for a walk, or help them to get to medical appointments and to other social activities. You can also invite your elderly neighbour to join you and your family for Christmas dinner.
Befriending an elderly person can be a rewarding experience for both parties. When you’re out delivering Christmas cards to your neighbours, check in on the elderly and stop for a friendly chat. Some elderly people who live on their own may not have any family or friends that they can talk to. If you have a nursing or retirement home in your local area, pop in over Christmas and deliver Christmas cards and edible treats that everyone will enjoy.
Spread Christmas Cheer
Money can be especially tight for a lot of people during the season of goodwill. To spread a little Christmas cheer amongst the less fortunate, get together with family and friends and start up a donation collection. Collect tins of food, unwanted clothes, toiletries and other items, and create secret Santa gifts. You can deliver the presents to a local charity for distribution, or directly to the people and families that need some extra help at this time of year.
It’s fun to spread Christmas cheer by performing random acts of kindness wherever you go. When you’re in town, make time to buy a hot drink and something to eat for a homeless person on the street. Give genuine compliments to everyone, and leave a generous tip for the friendly waiter in your local coffee shop or restaurant.
Raise Money For A Good Cause
If you’re overstretched and have little free time to volunteer or physically help the less fortunate, you can still make a contribution to a good cause. Set an example for your children by demonstrating the importance of charity. Instead of asking for a present, give the money as a donation to a charity of your choice.
It’s also worth remembering that charity Christmas cards donate 10% of sales to a worthwhile cause.