Is your Christmas Day the same every year? Wake up, eat, watch TV, eat, open presents, eat, watch more TV, eat and then eat some more. Do you sometimes think that there has to be more than this? There are so many invaluable ways that you can help to improve others’ lives for the better this Christmas. So why not clear your diary? Think about how you’ll experience the wonderful warm glow in the knowledge that you’ve changed someone’s life for the better. Here are just a few:
1. Help the homeless
Many people find themselves in the unfortunate situation that they become homeless during the Christmas period. The coldest time of year, we all take it for granted that we live in wonderfully warm homes. There are numerous shelters around desperate for volunteers to help support the great work that they do. Give them a call. Perhaps you can help hand out coats and warm clothing, help at a soup kitchen or offer a skill that you might have such as hairdressing.
2. Think of your elders
Christmas is always a time for family, or so it is said. Lots of old people that live on their own or in a home will absolutely crave company at this time more than ever. Perhaps you have an elderly neighbour? Why not make sure that they have all that they need during the holidays – particularly when shops are closed. Sometimes all that’s needed is a chat, but you can really make a difference. Why not get the children involved, bake some Christmas biscuits and deliver a gift that they’ll really appreciate. Alternatively, speak to your local old peoples’ home and see what support that they could benefit from. Perhaps you’ll be asked to visit some of the residents – to talk, reminisce. Maybe you’re a dab hand at puzzles or enjoy reading aloud?
3. Charity first
Whether it’s helping to fundraise or providing some more direct support, volunteers are always in demand from charities. Contact a national charity. Perhaps they may be offering a Christmas present wrapping session in your local shopping centre to raise funds. There are lots of charities that operate telephone helplines – maybe you can help to take some of these calls. Do you enjoy singing? Speak to your local charity and see if they have any carol singing sessions planned that you can join.
4. Don’t forget the animals
If you’re an animal lover, there are several ways that you can support your feathered and furry friends at the coldest time of the year. Speak to your local animal rescue centre. Some welcome deliveries of warm bedding, towels, treats, disinfectant and snacks. See if they need any volunteers to help over the holiday period when many staff are on leave.
5. Support your local Children’s Hospice or Hospital
There’s never a good time for children to stay in a hospital or hospice. However Christmas is an emotional time for parents that are not at home with their children. There are lots of ways that you can offer practical support that will certainly bring a smile to a child’s face. When you’re Christmas shopping, why not buy an extra gift. With all of the 3 for 2 offers that are popular, save the third gift and pass it on. If you know that your children will be receiving new toys in their stockings this year, why not take the opportunity to have a real clear out and pass on any good quality toys and books that they no longer play with.