Hello everyone, Mrs Claus here. Every year I get awfully excited about Christmas, and even though this Christmas my Dad and my Grandad will be missing, I’m determined to do what I can to enjoy the festive period. They wouldn’t have wanted me to miss out on my favourite time of year, and I like to think they’ll both be looking over me, questioning my position of baubles on the tree.
So, I thought what better way to get into the spirit than spreading a little Christmas cheer? I’ve come up with 12 good deeds you can do throughout December (or anytime really, don’t let me stop you) to spread a little kindness. I’m not suggesting you should go all Mother Theresa and complete all 12, but even just one could make a big difference to someone else’s life.
1. Smile at a stranger
Perhaps I’m easily pleased, but when I’m having a tough day and someone smiles at me, it really does cheer me up. You never know what battles a person is struggling with, and a smile could make a big difference.
2. Donate a gift to the Salvation Army
Until mid-December, the Salvation Army will be accepting gifts for children who, without these appeals, might not receive one this year. New toys and gifts will be greatly received, then they’ll be wrapped and distributed to those in need. Find out more about it here.
3. Leave £1 in the vending machine
Imagine how happy you’d be if you made a trip to the vending machine for an afternoon pick-me-up and found some generous human had already paid for it. #winning
4. Drop off some non-perishable food items at your local foodbank
Sadly, not everyone will be lucky enough to enjoy Christmas dinner this year. Millions of people across the country will face the harsh reality of not having enough money to make ends meet, never mind enough money for a Christmas dinner with all the trimmings. We can help either by making a financial donation here, or dropping some food off at your local foodbank. Lots of supermarkets have foodbank collections, or you can find your nearest one here.
5. Write a thank you card for someone who has helped you this year
I believe it’s really important to say thank you when someone does something lovely for you. My mum has always sent thank you cards, and it’s something I’ve inherited. Plus, it means I get to go to Paperchase – the world’s best shop – to choose a gorgeous card.
6. Pay someone a compliment
‘Your hair looks excellent today, Dave.’ ‘Nice shoes, Sheila.’ You can have those two on me.
7. Support your local animal shelter
Every year I donate toys, blankets and food to an animal shelter near me, and it’s one of the things I look forward to the most. They’re always hugely grateful, and bonus – you get to look at cute animals.
8. Offer to not drink and be a designated driver
Give your liver a break from alcohol, stick to lemonade for the night, and give your drunk friends a lift home. I no longer drink alcohol so my friends and family have really lucked out.
9. If you know someone is alone this Christmas, keep in touch
Invite them to spend Christmas Day with you. If they pass on the offer, you can still give them a call so they know you’re thinking of them.
10. Make a donation to the Samaritans
Christmas is an extremely difficult time for a lot of people, and the Samaritans provide vital support to those feeling lonely, depressed, and suicidal. Find out more here.
11. Be a nice driver
You know that feeling when you’ve been waiting to get out at a junction for what feels like 20 minutes, and then some amazing individual flashes their lights to let you out and you want to jump out of your car and hug them? Make someone feel like that this Christmas.
12. Bake cookies for your neighbours/colleagues