From donating to your local food bank and passing on a 'Christmas Sack of Kindness', to helping elderly neighbours and showing children acts of gratitude through The Kindness Elves, there are plenty of ways you can give back to those around you this Christmas.
Christmas is a time of good cheer and gladness, but, for many, it can be a time of great difficulty. Some may be mourning the loss of a loved one, while others may struggle to provide for their family.
Too often we get caught up in the dizzying busyness of Christmas, forgetting what really matters. With this holiday set to be like no other, let's make it our goal to spread cheer to those who are near. Looking for some kind acts to do? Let these ideas (however big or small) inspire you...
1. Donate to your local food bank
Christmas is a time of giving and sharing. Why not spread some joy this year by donating what you can to those in need. Food supplies — such as cupboard essentials, dry goods and long-lasting items — are always needed at food banks. It's a great way to show kindness during the holidays.
Some of the ways you can donate food include:
Directly to your local food bank – find your nearest one here.
At collection points in supermarkets across the country.
Host a collection at your school, church or business for your local food bank. Always check first with what food banks are looking for, and whether they are still running due to the ongoing coronavirus outbreak.
2. Pass on gifts
We love the idea of the Christmas Sack Of Kindness by Ellie Ellie at Notonthehighstreet, which is a great way to spread Christmas cheer and kindness over the festive period.
Simply fill with goodies and treats such as minces pies, mulled wine, bubble bath or sweets, then leave it for someone to find and enjoy. They will then have to do the same – refill and pass it on to someone else.
The traditional hessian sack is printed with the following: "You have received an xmas sack of kindness – enjoy the goodies, refill and pass it on' along with a further instructions tag for the recipient."
3. Donate pet supplies to your local shelter
Donations made to local animal shelters are always incredibly welcome at Christmastime. Sadly, due to lockdown, rescue centres have been overwhelmed with homeless animals. If you're looking to bring joy to a cat or dog, something as simple as a ping-pong ball or catnip toy can go a long way.
Check with your local shelter to see what their regulations are around donating. For more information on what to give, head over to Battersea Cats and Dogs' website.
4. Gift a friendship plant
You may not have seen much of your friends this year, but show just how much you care with a friendship plant. We love this eco-friendly Fruiting Cranberry Plant of Friendship by The Gluttonous Gardener at Notonthehighstreet.
In Victorian flower language, cranberry blossoms are described as signifying kindness, so this is a great thoughtful gift. This evergreen will grow happily with little attention and will remain a manageable size for a small garden or pot in a sunny spot. It's delivered in a sustainable wood crate and adorned with a special gift message too.
5. Look out for your elderly neighbours
According to research conducted by Age UK, over three million elderly people would rather avoid the festive season altogether, simply because they feel so empty and alone — often going days without talking to a single person.
Use this Christmas to reach out to those on your street; check in with them to see whether you can provide them with food supplies, give them a phone call, or ask if you can help to pick up shopping. Acts of kindness can go a long way — and might just be the lifeline they need.
6. Gift toys to a children's hospital
There's nothing better than seeing a joyful child at Christmas. With many sick children unable to return home for the holidays, a great way to make them smile is to donate new toys. According to Great Ormond Street Hospital, some of the things children enjoy include...
Arts and crafts
Construction kits like Lego
Jewellery making kits and nail art
Portable DVD and CD players
7. Buy The Kindness Elves
Show children the value of kindness, especially at Christmas, with this alternative Elf on the Shelf idea. The Kindness Elves promote kindness, sharing and gratitude among children, encouraging them to carry out daily Acts of Kindness for their siblings, friends and neighbours.
Each day, the Kindness Elves leave little notes for the kids to find and read. The set includes two Kindness Elves and a crafted Elves House with a working mail box to send and receive Elf Mail.
8. Donate to a charity
Charities around the UK have been hit hard this year, with many struggling to survive. A great way to support them over the Christmas season and beyond is to give a donation — whether it's £5, £10 or £50. Everything will make a difference.
Here are some of the charities you can donate to below:
Centrepoint (helping young people who are homeless)
Christian Aid (help transform the lives of children around the world)
Refuge (against domestic violence)
Crisis (working to end homelessness)
Wateraid (help tackle the world's water crisis)
Mind (help provide mental health support around the UK)
FareShare (helps those facing food poverty)
Home-Start (works with parents who need support)
9. Write a thank you note
When was the last time you thanked your bin collector for their hard work? Or your local postman or postwoman? Or the delivery driver who has been working throughout the pandemic? This might seem like a really simple thing to do, but it's certain to go a long way to the person reading it.
10. Buy socks to help the homeless
Did you know that socks are the most requested item by homeless shelters? The average homeless person walks up to 10 miles a day, without fresh socks, so you can do your bit by buying a pair of colourful, uniquely designed socks from Stand4socks.com, and they'll donate a specially made antibacterial pair to someone who is homeless.
Stand4 Socks has so far donated over 75,000 pairs of socks to the homeless and expects to double that figure this year.
11. Put together a Christmas shoebox
Organised by the Samaritans, the Christmas shoebox appeal helps to bring great joy and good news to children all around the world. All you have to do is find an empty medium sized shoebox, fill it with small toys and wrap up tightly. Then, print a barcode found on the website and post it off. Costing just £5 to deliver, the boxes provide happiness for those less fortunate.
12. Walk someone else's dog
As well as being able to spend some more time with a gorgeous dog, this will help those who might not be able to leave the house. Pop a leaflet through your neighbour's door with a contact number, explaining that you'd love to help walk their dog — it's a great way for them to get in touch if they need extra help.
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