Ten small ways you can make a BIG difference this Christmas

Tis the season to be jolly, fa-la-la-la-la-la-la-Lala! Yes, it IS the season to be Jolly, and for most of us, it is. But for far too many Christmas is one of the most challenging times of the year. Imagine if you didn’t know where you were going to sleep on Christmas eve? Or whether you would get a warm meal on Christmas day?

Kindness starts at home, and we believe that kids should be fully aware of the world around them. Not just the good and the happy, but the sad and the heartbreaking too. After all, it is our children that will shape the future world. With this in mind, we want to talk about 10 small ways you can make a BIG difference as a family this Christmas.

DONATE TOYS
This has always been a tradition in our house. For Father Christmas to deliver presents, we must gather all our unused toys and pass them on to other children who might need them. Not only is this a great way to encourage chatter about children less fortunate than them, but it also allows you to have a big clear out before Christmas day comes round. Lots of charities and charity shops will be eager to take on your unused toys.

VISIT A CARE HOME
Christmas can be a lonely time for many people in the elderly community. They may be adjusting to living life in a care home, and many will be missing friends and family that have been lost during the year. If your child has a hobby such as playing music, making art, or dancing, then why not see if your local care home would like them to visit? Your kids can enjoy some Christmas carols with them or even put on a Christmas show!

DONATE CLOTHES
Donating clothes is so simple but can make a HUGE difference to someone who is living outside this winter. Be sure to call up your local Salvation Army base and see if they require clothes for the homeless in your area. This is another excellent way to talk about homelessness with your kids.

HELP AT A HOMELESS SHELTER
Homeless shelters are always looking for extra help, and many of them will be delighted to invite kids too. You may be asked to help prepare and serve food or spend time chatting with the shelter residents. This can seem really daunting for kids, but with a little encouragement, they will learn to be confident, and they will see the benefits of their presence on the residents.

DONATE FOOD

Donating food is hugely important during the Christmas period. Christmas is expensive at the best of times, but for many, it means that they won’t be able to feed themselves or their children. Contact your local food bank and see what they need. Why not put together a food hamper with the kids and let them help decide what they would like should they be hungry. This is a great way to teach them about being grateful and will make a massive difference to a family in need.

PROJECT LINUS – DONATE A BLANKET
Project Linus UK is a volunteer organisation that aims to provide a sense of security and comfort to sick and traumatised babies, children and teenagers through the provision of new home made patchwork quilts and knitted blankets. They give volunteers across the UK the opportunity to contribute to their local community.

Making a blanket as a family would be a great way to teach the kids a new skill while helping another child in need. For more information, click here.

DROP CARE BASKETS TO WOMENS REFUGE
Imagine you are having to flee your home with your kids this Christmas? You leave without a single item from home, and you have no way of providing for your children. Women’s refuges help women who are fleeing dangerous and abusive situations. Why not make a care hamper or two to take into a women’s shelter? This could include toiletries, food or items for children. Give your local women’s refuge a call and see how you can help.

HELP SOMEONE LOCAL
Christmas can be the hardest time of year for so many people. Do you know someone who has recently lost a family member? Or someone who has been unwell and lives alone? Think about ways you and the kids can help cheer someone in your community up. This might be as simple as making a hand-drawn Christmas card to deliver or helping someone with their shopping. There are so many ways you can help, and it is a great way to help encourage your kids to practice kindness.

HELP BUY A CHILD A GIFT
Many children won’t receive gifts this year. Lots of charitities offer the option of choosing and buying a gift for a particular age child. Your kids could always choose a gift for a child of their age to help get them thinking. Stripey Stork has a fantastic “Santa stork” campaign running over the Christmas period so be sure to check them out.

BUY A HOMELESS PERSON A HOT DRINK
At this time of year, you might come across people asking for money in the street. During this time, remember that they will be lonely, cold and hungry. Suggest to the kids that you pop into a local café and purchase something warm for the person you have just passed. This could be a hot coffee or warm sausage roll. This small act of kindness will help keep that person warm and nourished.

We hope you find these suggestions useful. What acts of kindness do you practice at home? Join the conversation in the comments below or via our Facebook, Instagram or Twitter pages.

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