8 Ways to Give Back At Christmas Time
Spread that festive spirit... 💝
Ever noticed how in every picture of Oprah, Jesus and Melinda Gates, they always have a satisfied smile playing on their lips? It’s because they help people. And helping others makes you happy. It’s simple. Recent studies have proven it, but it’s something we’ve always known: shutting yourself up at home bitching about everyone and hoarding your money does not make you feel good. Flexing your community spirit and participating in the world of giving is a great stress-reliever: it literally takes your mind off your problems, empowers you and puts everything into perspective.
So if you want to feel the Christmas cheer in your heart this year, turn your attention (and your resources) outwards and try one of these simple but rewarding ways to spread the love:
- Donate blood. Save a life and get free biscuits. What’s not to love?
- Donate rugs. Take those old bobbled blankets or greying towels down to the local animal shelter for abandoned pets to snuggle up in.
- Spread a rumour about someone. A good one. Let people know what a great cook your neighbour is, or how well your colleague can sew.
- Tip! Give a super generous, one-off tip to the waiting staff at your favourite café. You know their work is badly paid and often thankless, so give them a surprise treat.
- Scrap secret Santa. Instead of swapping novelty gifts (read: landfill-bound plastic crap) at your office Christmas party, suggest you all bring in a nicely wrapped gift to take to a homeless shelter or care home.
- Get the kids involved. If there are youngsters in your family, teaching them to give to charity is a gift that pays twice over. Why not show them the Send a Cow catalogue and pick animals to donate to poor farmers in Africa?
- Pick up the phone. Call a relative or friend you’ve not spoken to in a while. It won’t be weird or embarrassing if the reason you’re ringing is “just to say Happy Christmas, and see how you are”. It could make their day.
- Be nice! Give someone a compliment every day between now and the new year. It’ll make you feel good to focus on the positive characteristics of those around you, and let someone know you really like their sweater / perfume / handwriting will put one more smile into the world.
And one final meta-tip: don’t torment yourself with the idea that philanthropy is inherently selfish because you’re only doing it to make yourself feel better. It’s a philosophical dead-end that will result in you both feeling bad about yourself and not reaching out to others. What does the foodbank user care if the person who donated that lovely Waitrose Christmas pudding was doing it to assuage their guilt about having two cars?