Christmas is a time for giving, but for many of us that usually ends at our family and friends, and we can often forget about the wider community and those in need. Giving back at this time of year can bring joy to people’s lives and can make you feel good too.
It doesn’t just have to be money that you give, it could be your time or skills, and whether you give back as an individual, as a group within your workplace or with your family, there’s something to suit everyone that will be sure to make a difference this Christmas.
- Buy a homeless person a hot drink
With the freezing temperatures during winter, for those living on the streets, a warm drink, or even a hot meal, can be a distraction from the cold and lonely streets.
- Donate blankets and quilts to charity
If you are having a clear out in the lead up to the New Year, donate blankets, quilts and pillows to your local homeless charity to distribute among the homeless. Animal shelters are also in need of blankets or bed linen at this time of year.
- Start a reverse advent tradition
Every day in the month of December buy an item of food, or other essential item, and pop it into a box. A few days before Christmas send the box to a local shelter or food bank to help those in need. Alternatively you can do this for your local animal shelter, adding food and toys to the box, as Christmas tends to be avery busy time for them. There are so many ways you can utilise the reverse advent calendar, whether you want to donate to the homeless, animal shelters and even your local women & children’s refuge. We love Ella Daish’s idea of putting an eco-friendly period product in a box for 31 days and donating to a period poverty charity to distribute to those who cannot afford such products.
- Spread Christmas Cheer
Christmas is a busy time for everyone, and with the shops packed and everyone rushing around, we all need a bit of Christmas cheer. Send them a bit of cheer by paying for the person behind you in the queue to give them a surprise. You can be in the coffee line or the supermarket, but everyone needs a little pick me up every now and then, just ask them to pay it forward the next time they are in a position to do so.
- Invite someone over
If you have the space, and the ability to do so this Christmas, invite someone you know is alone this Christmas and doesn’t necessarily want it to be that way,into your home. It doesn’t have to be on Christmas Day itself, but anytime over the festive period, so that they know they are not alone and someone cares for them.
- Bake extra
If you love to bake, why not make an extra batch of goodies to give to those around you. You could distribute the baked treats to the emergency services, who will still be working on Christmas Day, as well as people like the postman and bin men to thank them for their daily service.
- Donate toys to your local hospital
Being in the hospital at this time of year is never nice, especially for children, so cheer them up by buying and donating gifts to the children’s ward at your local hospital. We decided to do just this, with each member of the team putting an agreed amount together, and having an office outing one evening after work to buy gifts and toys. If you contact your local hospital they should be able to provide you with a list of what they are looking for.
- Donate to charity instead of sending Christmas cards
If you are looking to reduce your waste this Christmas, why not swap your Christmas cards for a donation to a charity close to your heart. You can let your friends and family know by email, or alternatively write a message in this years Christmas cards to let them know of your intention to not send them next year, and donate the money you would otherwise spend on cards and postage.
- Volunteer your time over Christmas
Do you have spare time to give this Christmas? Try volunteering at an animal shelter, food bank or help serve food to the homeless, whatever you can do this Christmas your time will be much appreciated to those who have very little.
- Donate unwanted gifts
If you receive any gifts that you know will not be used don’t let it clutter up your home, and instead think about donating unwanted gifts to others who are in need.
These are just a few of our ideas, but there’s so many more ways you can help this Christmas, so we would love to hear what you have done or what you have planned to do this Christmas to give back, so share on social media using the hashtag #BeeGreenChristmas.