As the frost outside lies thick on the lawn it feels nice to start thinking about Christmas.
As well as thinking about making mince pies, this cold weather makes me think about people who are less fortunate and might be left outside on these cold nights.
With those thoughts in mind I felt like it would be a good idea to share two practical things to do to help others at this festive time of year.
First, you can donate to local shelters. In Bristol there is a crowdfunding campaign to provide emergency beds over Christmas.
Not only are they looking for donations, but also for people to give their skills.
I’m planning to go and do a shift wrapping presents on behalf of Caring in Bristol who are fundraising by wrapping people’s Christmas presents for them.
The other thing we’re planning to do in our house this Christmas is to do an alternative advent calendar.
I saw the idea on facebook, shared by Mum in the Mad House and just loved it.
Basically the idea is to have a reverse advent calendar, where instead of taking something out, you put something in.
We’ve investigated what our local foodbank (North Bristol) needs and are planning to do ours in two stages:
Christmas items – the foodbank need them by the fifth so the first items we put in will be christmas treats.
Essential items – Our local food bank currently has good stocks of beans, cereals, pasta and tinned fish, so we won’t get any of those. Instead we will be purchasing items from their urgent list: tinned potatoes, noodles, fruit juice (long life), tinned veg, instant mash, sponge puddings, jam, milk (UHT) and crisps/snacks.
We’re also planning to add in things like toilet paper, sanitary products, toothpaste etc as we know people often forget to donate those.
And as an incentive for us we’re also going to have a chocolate advent calendar, but you can only have your chocolate when you’ve put something in the box!
I hope you like these Christmas ideas for how to help people in a tough situation.
Do you have any more good ideas to share?