Christmas is a time of giving and goodwill but while we’re all so busy seeking out the perfect presents; shopping for the biggest roast; and trimming the tree, it can be easy to forget those less fortunate than ourselves.
Remind yourself and your loved one of the true meaning of Christmas this holiday season by donating a some time, gifts or your expertise to someone who may not have anything to look forward to on Christmas day.
Volunteer for a Charity at Christmas
Many charities are busiest over Christmas and are appreciative of any extra help they can get. There are many exciting and heart-warming opportunities to help out those in need. Look around your local area for a charity that matches your interests and contact them about getting involved.
You may be able to help a local charity by:
- volunteering at the animal shelter
- visiting patients at the hospital
- visiting elderly people at the nursing home
- wrapping gifts at the shopping centre for a gold coin donation to charity
- cooking or baking for the disdvantaged
- making home visits to less mobile neighbours
Give Directly to the Less Fortunate at Christmas
Giving food and gifts to the homeless and poor is a very popular way to provide charity at Christmas time and a great way to brighten up the season for someone in need. Many organisations run gift drives over Christmas and some may focus on specific demogrpahics such as children, women, men or the elderly.
Here are a few tips for giving to the less fortunate at Christmas:
- Give gifts that with longevity such as teddy bears, toy cars or books.
- Give clothing as gifts, it will be well received.
- Give non-perishable food items that don’t require elaborate cooking.
- Specify who the gift is appropriate for eg. boy, aged 7 to 11 years.
- Don’t give gifts that require batteries or regular maintenance.
- Don’t give gifts that must be used in conjunction with other items such as DVDs and video games.
- Don’t give gifts that could cause harm to the recipient such as pocket knives or power tools.
Give to the Less Fortunate on Behalf of a Loved One
In recent years, giving gifts to friends that are really gifts to others has become very fashionable. Many large charitable organisations like World Vision and Green Peace now provide an option to buy Christmas presents for friends such as a goat for a third world family or sponsorship of an endangered animal.
Charity cards, which donate a portion of profits to charity, are also available from most newsagents and department stores.
Encourage Others to Give to Charity at Christmas
Help spread Christmas cheer among strangers and friends by encouraging loved ones to help out a charity at Christmas. You can help people get on board by:
- holding a Secret Santa in your office or classroom and asking everyone to bring a gift for charity instead of a colleague or peer
- beginning your Christmas party with an hour of volunteering
- challenging loved ones to cook / knit / build / collect as many gifts for charity as possible between December 1 and Christmas eve
- implementing a Grinch jar – similar to a swear jar, whereby ‘fines’ are paid for anyone expressing a grinchy sentiment over Christmas – with all proceeds going to charity.
It doesn’t matter how much or how little you do to spread Christmas cheer to those in need at Christmas; so long as you remember that each kind act you take will brighten the season for somebody. A smile, a kind word and a few minutes of your time may be all it takes to give a stranger a very merry Christmas.