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?