Here is the next instalment in this series of ways for spreading cheer! Enjoy.
8. Visit an elderly neighbor- Old people can be very lonely at Christmas, why not take the kids round to visit an elderly neighbor who may not have a family or grandchildren to see this Christmas. Check they are OK and stop for a chat.
9. Bake a smile- This one can tie in with #8 but this year why not make homemade mince pies or cookies for your neighbours. A nice change from a card – you could frost the cookies with each neighbour’s name; this not only shows personalisation but also the fact you know your neighbour’s name! This is another great activity which is fun for children, so get them involved with baking up some gingerbread men! Here is a recipe I used last year to get you started!
10. Tell them you love them- Sometimes we forget to tell those we care about, just how important they are in our lives, Christmas can be a perfect time to put aside our British awkwardness and talk about our feelings.
11. Smile- This is another free and quick way to be charitable this Christmas! Smile at a stranger, say Merry Christmas- you might even make their day happier.
12. Send a letter from Santa- The NSPCC are running a fabulous scheme where you can send a letter from Santa to someone for a small donation to the cause. The letters are gorgeous, they use personalisation to the child and have cute illustrations on the borders.
13. Wear your Christmas Jumper- This year Christmas Jumper Day is on the 18th of December, so make sure your workplace get involved and wear their tacky knits for Text Santa’s 2015 fundraiser.
14. Go to see Santa Paws- There are now an abundance of Santa Paws events up and down the country, usually raising money for dog charities or animal rescues. My local dog boutique; Betty and Butch has been our location for taking Marnie to have her Christmas photo taken since she came to live with us. Prior year’s donations have been given to Manchester Dogs Home but this year profit will go to Dog Bereavement charity ‘Duke’s Trust’ to provide support to pet owners who have suffered from a loss.
15. Volunteer- Christmas is often a time where charities will put out extra calls for volunteers. If you have not volunteered before then this may be an excellent opportunity to get involved. Many homeless charities will need help cooking or serving Christmas dinner or Christmas eve supper this year so you could seek out a local charity or shelter doing this or register with a nationwide scheme like Crisis- ‘Crisis at Christmas’ Don’t worry if you will be spending the big day with family as many charities need volunteers for other dates within the festive period- Mustard Tree require people on the 17th and 24th, there are a wealth of homeless charities, animal charities, charities for the elderly and children’s charities who will all need a hand at some point.
16. Clear out!- Make space for the new goodies you are sure to be receiving this year. The kids can sort old toys from favourites and you can sort out everybodies old clothes and gadgets. If nowhere local is looking for used clothing or used toys to be donated then why not drop them off at your favourite charity shop. If you have any unwanted items lying around which may hold a little value to them then you could even Ebay them via a charity or post them to a Facebook charity auction page.
17. Give the gift of time- If you know a couple with a little one, offer to babysit to give them a romantic evening meal before Christmas. Offer to mow the lawn, or help a family member with household chores if they are busy with work or studying. Make some breakfast for the busy person who never has time for the most important meal of the day!
18. Donate used printer ink cartridges, for recycling, for a good cause.
19. Put up posters for a community event or charity Christmas appeal- Putting a few posters in your work place or local store could be a huge help.
20. Spread the word- If you are a vegetarian, or a vegan like myself then why not take part in some vegan outreach over the festive season. PETA can send you free vegan starter kits to distribute and they can also provide Christmas recipe leaflets! You could pass these out at work or in a public place along with some delicious cruelty free mince pies and sausage rolls, to help spread the veggie diet love!
21. Save Terry the Turkey- Following on from the above point. If you answered that you were not a vegetarian then why not! Reducing the meat in your diet is a fantastic way to help both animals and the environment. Christmas is a great time to do this so why not sack the turkey and look for a tasty alternative! Already vegetarian? Why not look into replacing the milk in your festive lattes with soy and having some nut milk in your winter porridge. The biggest Christmas gift you could give to farmed animals this year is becoming a vegetarian or a vegan.
22. Feed the birds- It can be very hard for birds to find food in frosty weather, this is because the ground is too hard to peck at! You can help the birds by hanging a homemade bird feeder such as a suet ball or scattering birdseed- however be sure to hang away from cats! You may even spot a red robin in your garden; just like on a Christmas card.
23. Pass on a book- If you have read a novel or book recently which you really enjoyed and which carried an uplifting message then why not give it to a friend to borrow, or leave it on a bench for someone else to be inspired by!
24. Support your local carol concert- I love going to carol concerts anyway as I find it really fun and Christmassy!
25. Love yourself, relax and don’t give yourself a hard time this Christmas; sometimes you can’t help or please everyone. so remember- It’s your Christmas too! Take some time to do some colouring, read a book, or watch a movie alone- some undisturbed ‘me time’ at the busiest time of the year.
I hope you enjoyed both part 1 and part 2 of the list and were inspired by some of the ideas shared!
Christmas love and wishes to my readers