Four uplifting ways to give to your community this Christmas
Christmas is a wonderful time of year. Full of excitement and joy as we exchange presents, treat ourselves to fabulously rich food and for some of us, enjoy a relaxing break from work. It’s also a chance to spend cherished time with family and friends, celebrating the loved ones in our lives.
As we make merry, it can be easy to forget that others in the community may not be having such a wonderful time. Christmas can be a sad and lonely time for many people. A time where feelings of loneliness are amplified, particularly for those who have lost their families, or are unable to get out.
The good news is, it’s possible to enjoy the perfect Christmas celebration as well as helping others. There are many, simple ways to connect with and support others in the community who may be struggling. Most of them are free and don’t take too much time, and all of them are certain to help us rediscover the true spirit and joy of Christmas giving.
Here’s our top four…
Let’s get together
With 1.2 million older people living with chronic loneliness in the UK, you could make a real difference to someone’s life this Christmas. By simply offering your company you could turn a sad, lonely time into a memorable and happy day.
Call on neighbours who may be alone this Christmas, invite them over for dinner, or maybe even just share a mince pie and cuppa together. For a bigger event, get together with others and organise a community Christmas dinner. A chance for everyone to make new friends in the neighbourhood which may last long after the festive season is over.
Go for it! Community Christmas provide ideas and support for setting up events and listings of events near you.
Lean on me
If you want to feel good, do good. So say Action for Happiness, reminding us that giving to others increases our own happiness, as well as that of the other person. And what better time to try this out than the season of goodwill?
Offer to help elderly or less-abled people in your community with their Christmas shopping. Even parents with small children in tow may need a helping hand. Older people might welcome some on-trend ideas for presents for their grandchildren! You could also offer to write Christmas cards and wrap presents, which can be tricky for some older people, and post them too.
Go for it! Write some cards and send them to your neighbours offering to help out.
5 million boozy Christmas puddings are thrown away in the UK every year, according to the Love Food Hate Waste campaign. At the same time, a sobering 8.4 million people are struggling to afford to eat. Use of foodbanks is on the rise, with redundancy, ill health and bereavement just some of the reasons people end up seeking help.
Your support can make a huge difference to people in and around your community that are really struggling this Christmas. Here’s how. Buy a couple of extra items in your weekly shop and give these to your local foodbank, or donate money, or even volunteer and meet like-minded people making a change.
Go for it! Visit the Trussell Trust or Fareshare to sign up and help out.
Knowing me, Knowing you
Only a quarter of people in the UK count their neighbours as good friends. But did you know connecting with neighbours has been shown to improve wellbeing and increase happiness?
The Christmas holidays can be a great time to introduce yourself to others. Call round to neighbours you don’t know so well, perhaps with a small gift of some home-make seasonal bakes. If you have new neighbours in your area, this can be a lovely way to welcome them to the community.
Small Christmas gifts or cards for local workers are a great way to connect with others and recognise their contribution to the community. Show your appreciation to the refuge collectors, postal staff, librarians, and the school crossing patrol this festive season.
Go for it! Plan your random acts of Christmas kindness now!
Your small acts of kind-heartedness can make a big difference, changing the lives of vulnerable and isolated people in your community. What can be more uplifting and rewarding this Christmas than giving to and connecting with others? Together we can all help create kind and caring communities.