5 Easy Ways to Be More Charitable This Christmas

22 Nov 2017

Christmas is known as the season for gift giving and festive cheer, celebrating with friends and loved ones, creating memories and indulging, oh it's a very indulgent season. It's also the perfect season to do something for someone else, and not just with Christmas gifts either. There are lots of little ways you can be more charitable this Christmas, little thoughtful acts that could bring a smile to someone's face, brighten up their day or even make their Christmas the most special yet. Here are some of my ideas for easy things you can do, to spread a little more festive cheer this year.

5 Easy Ways to Be More Charitable This Christmas

Although I am a big fan of Christmas cards and token gifts, this year I'm breaking tradition and I'm not going to post any Christmas cards or buy any unnecessary gifts. Willow and I will be handmaking some Christmas cards for family and close friends, but we won't be doing our usual Christmas cards to all the neighbours or posting Christmas cards further afield. Instead, we're going to be donating the money we would spend on both the cards (including more special person-specific cards which are a bit more pricey) and postage costs, to a charity.

It might not sound like much, but we'd usually spend around £15-20 on buying cards and posting them too, and every penny counts to charities. Imagine how much charities would receive in donations if we all ditch the Christmas cards and did something like this instead? It'd save on trees, too...

It makes me feel incredibly sad to think of anyone struggling over Christmas, but food shopping isn't getting cheaper and for many, especially those who are in such tough financial situations, food banks are hugely important as a way to ensure their family gets fed. Food banks need donations all year round, but as the festive season draws near they are needed even more, so why not put together a donation bag or box of some seasonally appropriate food and take it down to your local food bank. You don't have to spend a lot or get all the big brand names, any and all donations make a difference.

We all know someone who deserves a special treat this Christmas, maybe a work colleague who has had a hard time at work this year, a friend from playgroup who has found Motherhood more tiring than they anticipated or a neighbour who has been a bit more strapped for cash this year and will feel the pinch this Christmas. You could leave a Secret Santa gift on their desk, treat that tired mama to lunch or a playdate at yours for a cuppa and a gossip, or take part in reverse advent to make someone else's Christmas a little easier this year.

If you Google 'buy Christmas dinner for the homeless', you will find a huge amount of options when it comes to charities who are able to provide a hot Christmas meal to the homeless, with a little help from you and me. You can usually donate from around £5 - £10 depending on the charity but in the grand scheme of things, if you can afford it and can let someone else enjoy what is one of the most important meals of the entire year, then it's a small price to pay. It's not just homeless charities which do this, but charities for the elderly also offer Christmas dinners and are always calling out for more donations.

There is no shame in admitting you've received a present that you really didn't like and if it's something you don't think you'll ever use or enjoy, I see no harm in getting rid of it - but before you rush to sell it, consider if it could help someone else. Is it a skincare set that could go to a women's shelter? Children's toys bought by relatives for your little ones that are a bit too young for them? They could go to children's wards at your local hospital. Another set of clothes and a scarf that just doesn't suit you? Consider donating it to a homeless person; if you're cold in your triple layer outfit, winter coat and all the rest, imagine how cold they are.

Charity shops will always welcome unwanted gifts and if your local community has any charity raffles coming up, maybe that unwanted gift would make a great addition to the raffle prizes and help increase the entries, raising more money!

There are lots of ways to be more charitable at Christmas and tons of things you can do that cost absolutely nothing at all. Smile more at strangers in the street, say hello as you sit down next to someone on the train, thank the cashier at that Saturday-before-Christmas-busy Primark till and spread as much festive cheer as you can!