Giving Something Back At Christmas

My girls are spoilt. Simple as. Not as in spoilt tantrumming children but as in they have so many things and so many loving relatives that they are inundated with gifts at Christmas. Probably not just at Christmas either. This isn’t going to change and despite my best intentions I do LOVE giving them things. However, I do want to teach them that not everyone is as lucky as they are.

Now they are now that little bit older I have decided that this Christmas we will be trying our hardest to bring a little bit of joy to those that don’t have as much as us.

When I tried to explain to Molly why we were heading off to buy things to fill a Christmas shoe box with I said that some children in other countries don’t have much because of things like war, conflict or having no food. I must admit I was a bit flummoxed as to how to handle her questions. “But why doesn’t Santa take them any presents if they don’t have anything?“. Whilst I was thinking about how to answer this without giving away the big Santa secret she replied herself by saying “I guess if they don’t have food then they couldn’t leave Santa a mince pie so he wouldn’t visit them“. Oh to see the world through the simplicity of children’s eyes.

For me I want to try to do small things that the girls can easily get involved with and I’m actually having all the festive feels about it so I thought I would share them with you all in case any one else wants to get in the spirit of giving. And if you are struggling with the Christmas spirit this year then Lauren is over on Rock My Style discussing rediscovering the magic.

Reverse Advent Calendar

I love this idea and it is one we are definitely doing this year. We have so much food in our house over Christmas (all the time infact) when so many have nothing. Get yourself a box and each day in December place an item of food in it. Opt for tins and long life items such as pasta and cereal as well as a few chocolate treats. You could include Christmas items such as Christmas pudding, tinned veg and so on. Then just before Christmas take the box to your local food bank. They will be so grateful and you will help make someone’s Christmas. If you don’t want to do the full box or aren’t sure where your local food bank is then a lot of Supermarkets have a trolley or box that you can add items for the local food bank to. Each time you do your shop grab a couple of items and pop them in there on your way out.

Shoebox Appeal

Every Christmas the girl’s school takes part in the Samaritans Purse shoebox appeal. It’s such a lovely idea and one that is so simple to get involved with. All you need to do is get a shoebox, wrap in it some festive paper and then fill it to the brim with lovely and practical things for a child to receive. The boxes are then sent off to less fortunate countries. You can include sweets, a cuddly toy, and a book as well as more practical items such as toothbrushes, flannels and pens and pencils. You can even track where your parcel ended up which is always lovely to see. There is only a few days left of this years appeal if you are quick otherwise it’s one for next year. There are also other non-christian versions by various charities such at the Rotary Club that you can get involved with.

Little Random Thank Yous

This one doesn’t take much but is sure to bring a little smile to someones day. Ask your little ones to think of someone they are thankful for and write a little note for them. It could be the postman or even the house in your neighbourhood that has some magical Christmas decorations twinkling outside. How about popping a little note and a box of chocolates in to your local fire station or doctors? Or maybe it’s a note to the lady in the supermarket who always gives them a smile when you do your weekly shop. It’s the small things that we take for granted and now is the time to show your appreciation.

Salvation Army Gift Appeal

Each year I take a few presents to my local Salvation Army charity shop. These should be new, unwrapped, gifts which will be handed out on Christmas Eve. This year I will be taking the girls to the shops to choose something to give.

Looking Out For The Elderly

Giving back doesn’t have to be about physical gifts and sometimes 20 minutes of your day can make the world of difference to someone. Since my grandparents are no longer around I have felt guilty that I didn’t visit them enough or didn’t call to say hello enough. I know it is hard with busy lives but that little hello can mean everything. It doesn’t have to be your own relatives but instead do you have elderly neighbours near you who would appreciate a little visit? Popping in for ten minutes with your little one will brighten their day no end. Even if they have family visiting that might only be once or twice a week, if that, and kids can be that bit of cheer they need. Take them a home cooked meal round, offer to help write their Christmas cards or simply sit and read a Christmas story with them and your child. It won’t only make their day better, but yours as well.

Pet Food Appeal

If you are an animal family then you can get involved with providing pet food for those in need. Lots of local animal shelters are always looking for donations of food so why not put together a little box, or a few tins, and take them to your nearest. You could even let your little one choose a few doggy toys to take along too.

Wrap Up London

For those of you in London I love the idea of donating your old coats for those in need. They collect old coats and give them to charities that support the homeless, refugees, children living in poverty and people fleeing domestic violence (to name a few). You can find out where to drop them off here.

 
Does anyone else get involved with giving back at Christmas? Are there any little ways in which you help spread the festive cheer?

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Lottie loves teaching her girls to be cake baking and crafting supremos. It may be messy but she wouldn’t have it any other way.
Follow Lottie on instagram @buttercreamanddreams

15 Comments. Leave new

[…] I’d like to do a little bit more to help out. Lottie has some really lovely ideas over on Rock My Family today for giving back to those who need it […]

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Hi Lottie great post on giving a little back this Christmas. I’m on the board with our local Foodbank and the reverse advent calendar collections make a real difference to them as Christmas can be a very busy time for food banks. However I would encourage anyone to actually donate by mid December as couple of days before Christmas more than likely will be too late to be used in Christmas packages. Also as women mainly read here…. sanitary products and men’s toiletries are always on short supply so these are always super welcome. Hope you have a lovely Christmas with your family xxx

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Thank you Sarah, I hadn’t thought that it should be earlier so that’s a great reminder. xxx

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Choose charity Christmas cards. Not the supermarket cards where they give a tiny fraction to huge charities, but directly from a charity that you believe is doing good work.

This year I’ve bought ours from Maternity Worldwide- a small but very well run charity providing obstetric clinics in Malawi, Uganda and Ethiopia. 800 women die in childbirth per day- £50 can pay for a c-section, £1 for life saving antibiotics so your donation will save lives. The cards are beautiful too:

https://www.maternityworldwide.org/get-involved/online-shop/

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Excellent tip on the cards and love the charity you have chosen to support Lucy xx

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These are some great ideas, I’ve never heard of the reverse advent calendar before, I’m gonna do this and find out where my local food bank is and what the cut off day is.

We donate items to our local charity Chelsea’s Angels who make boxes and go to local hospitals and deliver them to the children’s wards.

And for the last 2 years my niece has asked her family and friends to not by her a present but instead donate money to garuntee a Christmas dinner for someone homeless.

There’s quite a few organisations that do this like Crisis:
At crisis you can donate £26 odd pound and garuntee a homeless person is fed for the Christmas period and will not have to sleep rough.

https://www.crisis.org.uk/get-involved/reserve-a-place-at-crisis-at-christmas/

There is also a local charity in Northamptonshire called HOPE who work to relieve poverty and tackle homelessness who have a just giving page, and every £10 donated reserves a Christmas dinner for someone less fortunate.

https://www.justgiving.com/campaigns/charity/northamptonhopecentre/hopeforchristmas2017

Our local community centre has something quite like the wrap up london you just spoke about. They have a grab a coat, leave a coat campaign – “Need a coat please take one , Want to help please leave one.”

There’s so many things we can do to help our local communities xx

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These are some lovely ideas and your niece sounds like the sweetest girl. I also love the hospital ideas and forgot to include them so thank you for sharing xxx

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I have sent two shoeboxes off to school this morning.

The other charity which I have supported over the past year is Carry The Future. Their main purpose is collecting secondhand baby carriers which are then distributed within refugee camps, making families with babies and small children’s lives lots easier. They have also done various other specific campaigns including collecting children’s coats, sleeping bags and bras. The easiest place to find out more about them is on their Facebook page.

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My shoeboxes are sitting to take up this afternoon. I even persuaded my mum to do one too 🙂

Oh my gosh, this Carry The Future sounds brilliant. I absolutely love that idea and am off to look in to it xxx

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One of my husband’s colleagues’ wife collects warm coats and bags etc for the homeless all year round ( were based in south Manchester). I think we’ve managed between the 2 of us to give them 10 coats and fleeces this year alone!

Last Christmas another of his colleagues helped with gift donations for children but focused on teenagers as they get lots for babies and young children and less for teenagers.

I always try to think of others but I must admit I get a bit tunnel visioned in how expensive it is for us and forget about those with absolutely nothing.

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I definitely need a coat sort out. Do you know, I also had the same thought on the teenager when I was doing the shoeboxes for school as we obviously chose things for the girls age group and it crossed my mind that I bet they don’t get many. I will definitely send some teenage gifts to the Salvation army. xxx

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Some great ideas. Can I suggest that with the reverse advent calendar that you start it earlier than 1st December so that you can drop it off mid December and it can help people in need before Christmas.
One thing I did with my little boy last year was buying some chocolate advent calendars and dropping them off at the food bank, nice to think of children still having a treat like that when their parents might not be in the position to afford it.

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Morning. I definitely think I need to start this reverse advent calendar earlier as a few have suggested. Might get it going this week and I also love the idea of buying some choccy calendars for the kids. That’s such a great suggestion x

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We have a lovely neighbour across the road who always takes in our parcels, and drops us things off from his allotment, so on Christmas Eve last year, my little girl (then 2) and I baked some mince pies and put them in a nice bag and she trotted off across the road with her Daddy to drop them off and say Merry Christmas and Thank You. When they got back I said, “did you have fun going to see Brian?” and she replied “yes, and I made him really happy” – so pleased that we did it, and that she seemed to get that we’d done it to be kind to someone else! Definitely planning to do the same this year!

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That is the loveliest and exactly what the spirit of Christmas is about. You’ve made me all warm and fuzzy inside with your little story xx

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