There is no better time of year than Christmas. Presents from all quarters, the best music on the radio (don’t argue with me on this one), and an excuse to stuff your face for an extended period of time – what’s not to like? But despite all the indulgence, it’s important not to get too wrapped up in your celebrations, and remember how many people dread Christmas rather than anticipate it. Here are some simple ways that you can help and give back at the most festive time of the year.
Give someone else a present
It may be the most wonderful time of the year, but Christmas is also the most materialistic. Most children in the world aren’t lucky enough to receive quite as much as many of us do, so maybe you could contribute some of your items towards a Christmas Shoebox appeal, and let someone wake up to a lovely surprise on Christmas morning, with necessities (like school supplies and toiletries) as well as some treats.
Change up your Secret Santa
Let’s face it, you’re never going to get a good present from Secret Santa. Unless your gifter is exceptionally creative (and they’re not, are they?) and can work with the low set budget, you’re going to end up with something generic from The Body Shop that will gather dust in your bathroom cupboard until you re-gift it next year to another poor soul. So why bother? Charity Secret Santas are becoming increasingly popular, where you donate the set amount to an organisation of your choice in the recipient’s name. Give it a try this year with your friends or housemates — you’ll probably find it more rewarding than getting another scented shower gel.
Do a Winter Clean
Between presents and sales, you often end up with more stuff than you know what to do with. Use the holiday season as an excuse to clear out the back shelves of your cupboards, and donate it to charity shops and food banks, who are working overtime at this time of year. Declutter with a one-in-one-out system, for every new book or jumper you receive, donate an old one that hasn’t seen the light of day since last Christmas.
Volunteer some time
Christmas is a difficult time for many people, resulting in there being even more of a burden on many organisations. Soup kitchens and refuge shelters need extra help, so it’s worth researching the ones in your local area. And since charity shops and food banks also receive more donations at Christmas, they could often use an extra pair of hands to sort through it all.
Be a friend
Christmas is a difficult time for a lot of people. However, this doesn’t always just only mean being cold or hungry – sometimes, it can be as simple as being without family or friends on the big day itself. Think about those around you who might be feeling a bit isolated during the festive period, especially the elderly. You don’t have to invite them over for Christmas dinner and play party games with them afterwards – you could just go round for a cup of tea and a chat. Guaranteed, even that will make a difference.