I’m feeling particularly positive today – I’ve handed in two assignments, I’ve broken up for Christmas and I’m finally at home, ready and willing to start the Christmas festivities.
However, I’m aware that although I know my festive season will be full of warmth, love and joy, that’s not necessarily the case for everyone. For some, Christmas is simply another period to struggle through.
Therefore, I thought it would be nice to think of 12 good deeds – one for every official day of Christmas – that we can all do to make the festive season a little bit brighter for those around us who aren’t as fortunate.
Christmas is a time of giving after all…
1) Give to a Homeless Charity
Thousands of people will be forced to spend the Christmas period (and the whole of winter) living on the streets. Charities such as Crisis at Christmas, The Salvation Army and St Mungos are all working to help those who are left in the cold this winter. There are many local charities too so there may be some in your area. A small donation could make a real difference to someone.
2.) Help a Homeless Person
I know it’s easy enough to walk past a homeless person whilst you’re out and about – we’ve all done it. However, this season, take a moment out of your busy Christmas shopping schedule to go and ask someone living on the streets if they need anything like a pair of warm socks or a blanket (can be very cheaply bought in Primark) or even just a coffee and a sandwich. I’ve learnt from doing this that they often just appreciate someone acknowledging them – they’re human just like us.
3) Donate To a Food Bank
Whilst most of us are looking forward to tucking into our delicious Christmas dinners in a couple of weeks, the reality is that many families and people in the UK are living below the breadline and struggle to afford food. Food banks are a fabulous scheme that provide people with food donated by others. So, next time you’re at the supermarket, grab an extra pack of mince pies and one more Christmas pudding and drop them in the donation box near to exit or take them to a food bank. You can find your local food bank using this handy online search: The Trussel Trust.
4) Befriend a Lonely Person
Most of us are lucky enough to be surrounded by friends and family this festive season but there are many people – especially the elderly- who have no choice but to spend Christmas completely alone. There are charities, however, that aim to combat loneliness and attempt to make sure that everyone has someone to talk to. Age UK have a befriending scheme in which people can either call or meet face to face with lonely seniors. This is especially important at Christmas as it can be a particularly lonely and isolating time of the year. So if you have some spare time, a phone call or visit with a lonely person could really make a difference to their Christmas.
(There are also many charities you can donate to who are fighting the same cause.).
5) Donate Some Toys for Children
Many children won’t wake up to lots of presents under the tree this year as their parents simply aren’t able to afford them. The Salvation Army have created an appeal for new toys that can be gifted to children who wouldn’t normally receive any. Charity shops will also accept used (but in good condition) toys that they can then resell at a much cheaper price allowing those who have less money to buy toys for their children this Christmas. There are also many local schemes that are doing the same so have a look what’s in your area.
6) Sign Up To The Organ Donor Register
Of course I was going to include this. This one is perhaps the simplest of them all! Whilst we enjoy being happy and healthy over the holidays, many must reside in a hospital, poorly and waiting for a gift of life. It’s takes two minutes to sign up to the organ donor register and could potentially save 9 lives – name a better Christmas gift?! Remember, as you spend time with your loved ones this Christmas, to find the time to talk about organ donation and tell them of your wishes.
There are little everyday things you can do too!
7) Tip A Little Extra
When you’re out for a meal, or at your local coffee shop, if you’re able to, leave a little tip for the waiter or waitress (in cash as electronic tips often don’t get given to the waiter/ress). It’s nice to support those who have to work over Christmas.
8) Offer help to Those Around You
This one’s a given. If you see someone, anyone, struggling with their shopping bags, suitcase, with crossing the road or getting through a heavy door, offer a few moments of your time to help them!
9) Check On Your Friends and Family
It sounds obvious, but make sure to check on your friends and family over the festive period. A quick text or a phone call might mean a lot to someone who perhaps didn’t feel like they had anyone to talk to. You never know what people are going through – even if you think you do.
10) Smile At Everyone Around You and Be Polite
A smile to a stranger you pass may make their day/week or month. Similar to the last deed, you can never imagine what people are going through. Someone who is on the edge, or feels completely alone and isolated, may just need a friendly smile or kind exchange to remind them they’re noticed.
11) Take The Time To Listen to People
Listening to others isn’t always easy when your busy preparing for Christmas – we’ve all had moments when we ignored a call or rushed a conversation because we’ve had other things to do. So I urge you to stop and listen. Listen and respond to those around you, to people you love and people you barely know. Listening is more powerful that you could ever imagine and could really make a difference to someone.
12) Forgive and Forget
Put your issues and grievances behind you. Reignite old (and maybe damaged) friendships and try to forgive others. Don’t bear grudges. You only live once. Make the most of it and don’t waste time with negativity. Especially at Christmas – the happiest time of the year!
I hope you’ve enjoyed reading The 12 Good Deeds Of Christmas and that you go out and spread a little joy this festive season!
Merry Advent and see you on Christmas Eve Eve!
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