I was unsure whether or not to post about what I have personally done to give back this year, as people often feel that talking about anything you do for a charity (big or small) takes away from the act. In all honesty, I don’t believe that to be true, and I think we SHOULD talk about things we do to help both our local communities and those around the world who are less fortunate than us. It doesn’t make us a better person for donating, or a worse person for not, so why shouldn’t we share? Please know anything mentioned in this post is to raise awareness and encourage people’s giving spirits this year. There are SO many things you can do to spread the love, and as much as I love giving my boyfriend, family and friends presents every year, I feel a little more fulfilled donating to those in need, too.
Of course, we should give back all through the year and not just for Christmas, but it’s a time we all generally feel the need to do it a little more. There’s nothing wrong with that, but it’s something I really want to be aware of more in 2019, and continue to do. Christmas is the season of giving, and here’s just a few ways you can give back this season…
I think one of the most popular ways we all like to give back is to donate gifts and presents for people and animals during Christmas time. So many stores are doing collections this year and there’s still a few days left to participate if you’d like to. Matt and I donated to Operation Christmas Child this year (the last day for donations was November 18th, so unfortunately that’s now closed for this year. There’s always next year, and you can find all the information you need here). We had so much fun filling our boxes and I really hope the children that receive them are SO happy on Christmas Day with the goodies inside. It hurts my heart to think that will be all they’ll get, but I hope they know we put lots of love into those boxes! We did include a few personal healthcare items and school supplies as they were recommended, however we made sure to include fun toys and yummy sweets to make their present seem a little more fun, and not all super practical. I know local children’s hospitals, care homes, animal shelters and women and children’s shelters can usually accept donations up until Christmas Eve (and of course, after Christmas) so I’d recommend enquiring there.
Finding Out The Needs of Your Local Homeless Shelter(s)
This is also something Matt and I did this year, and it was SO appreciated I can’t even tell you. There’s still a few days left in the build up to Christmas, and you know homeless shelters everywhere will take all of the donations they can possibly get. Instead of taking things you think they’ll need I’d recommend calling first, and speaking to someone to get an idea of what they need most. We didn’t have to spend lots of money to buy a few necessities, and hopefully we made a difference by giving to people who need items.
Donating Unwanted Items
Similarly to buying things people may need, homeless shelters and charity shops will always be open to receiving donations. I cleared out my wardrobes a few months ago and donated tons of stuff then, however I did go back through in the first week of December and donated a bunch more I hadn’t worn since my clear out. Matt and I are hoping to go through his wardrobes and drawers in the new year as he has tons of stuff to donate too. I would say only to donate clothing that is not damaged, too pilled or unwearable of course! You can also clear out unopened beauty products, bedding, pyjamas, the list is endless. This means you’ll make room for new items you’ll be lucky enough to get this Christmas, and in turn pay your current unused or unwanted items forward.
Baking is a fun way to spread a lot of love, people love food! Baking goodies to share with people will always go down well, and you can take them anywhere. A few ideas would be to take into work for your co-workers, to a local care home or shelter, or to a local family. Similarly, you could make a meal for people and it would be much appreciated too. It’s a super small and simple gesture and won’t take too much of your time, money or effort, yet you could really make someone’s day. Also, a super easy no-bake treat will be up on the blog for you! (Hint: it’s the photo above!)
Giving to Collections
You only have to set foot near a shop around this time of year and there will be people collecting for various charities. Often people rush past and while you absolutely do not have to give every time you pass (or at all, if you choose not to) it’s nice to be able to contribute on a small scale. The people collecting are often standing outside for hours in the freezing cold too, so I’m sure bringing them a hot drink would always be appreciated! Where I live, a lot of people campaign for Samaritans – give any change rattling around your pockets you have when you pass. A few pounds will likely not mean much to you, but those buckets add up so quickly, and every small donation can make a huge difference.
Something we can all do this Christmas (and well… forever!) is to be kind to those around us. Help your neighbour unload their car, tip the great service you received a little better than you normally would, truly thank the cashier checking out your groceries, or just SMILE at a stranger! All of these little things are so taken for granted, however during the holiday season there’s a huge emphasis on spreading love and kindness to those around us. Last week I was heading to Lidl before work to pick up fresh dinner ingredients for Matt and I that evening, and an old man stopped me outside to say good morning, and asked how I was. It was such a simple gesture but it really made my whole day! I think being openly kind and talkative to strangers is something we could all work on (myself included) all year round. It doesn’t cost a penny to be kind and gracious, and Heaven knows, if there’s one thing we need a little more of in the world it’s kindness!
Random Acts of Kindness
This is something I really love to do all year round, and I remember almost two years ago telling Matt a story that made him think I was actually bonkers! A few years back on YouTube there was a trend of RAOK videos; people leaving money in supermarkets, paying off people’s credit accounts in stores etc. One thing I seen (I think it was in an Ellie and Jared vlog, I know they definitely do this too!) was to pay for the person behind you at the drive thru. I feel quite awkward writing about this, but it’s such a rewarding feeling! People can’t actually thank you because you’re in the car infront of them, but seeing the shock on their face is so sweet. The people working at the drive thru kind of think you’re mad, but it’s a fun idea you can easily implement this Christmas! (Matt told his co-workers about this one time I’d done it, and said I had to stop doing it or people would be following me through the drive thru like the Pied Piper trying to get free food HAHA). Any small things can make a huge difference – extra tips, baking cookies etc are great RAOK that will go a long way to put a smile on someone’s face.
Thank you so much for reading. I’d love to know if you’ve done or are planning on doing any of the things mentioned in this post this holiday season? How do you spread the love on Christmas?