Every single year I feel guiltier and guiltier that I’m shoveling in mince pies at an alarming rate and buying tangle teasers galore to stuff stockings with (to Step Child Number 2: surprise!) whilst more and more people seem to be less and less fortunate. It hurts my heart, yep I’m a charity marketers dream. For the love of god please don’t call me, I’ve got zero dollars. But I do have a bit of time if you want that?
At the risk of getting political at Christmas, for one reason or another – pretty much just one reason actually eh Dave? – more people are falling through the cracks and are reliant on charitable donations and the support of strangers to make their Christmas different than every other hard slog of a day. So in the spirit of the festivities here are some Christmas acts of kindness we could all have a crack at. And some things for dogs because, you know, dogs.
- Volunteer your time at a homeless shelter, care home or hospice. Extra pairs of hands on deck to cook up the spuds or just spend time with people treating people like people shouldn’t be underestimated. Your time is completely free, even if it is in short supply.
- On that note, how are your neighbours doing, do you know? Another hour or so checking in or inviting them round for a glug of mulled something and a mince pie would not be time wasted.
- When you’re doing your Christmas shop, stick a couple of extra bits in your basket and chuck them in the food bank trolley at the door. Most supermarkets do this now but you’re bound to have a food bank nearby so take it straight to them if you need to. A good ol’ tin of roses or a Christmas pud won’t break the bank.
- Go visit your nan, drink tea, eat biscuits and chat. Tell her you love her too. It’s always nice to hear that.
- Lend an ear to your local safe haven scheme. Most towns have projects manned by happy shiny volunteers to make sure those who get a bit too merry stay safe. Alcohol removes inhibitions and can make those who are already vulnerable go to some pretty dark places, be on hand to talk it through with them. There might also be some clearing up of vomit. True story.
- £10 will buy a festive hamper for a homeless dog at Battersea Dogs Home this Christmas. Alternatively you can go and fill a bag or box with all the toys you can and take it to your local shelter. My local Dogs Trust are a bit with it and have an amazon wish list.
- If dogs aren’t your bag, gather up some toys and books and take them to your local hospital for the poor little tinkers who have to be there at Christmas. Include a mince pie for the mums and dads and doctors and nurses who are also hanging around.
It’s all kind of obvious and all extremely necessary. Do it. Make sure you have a dog dressed as Santa to help. Thank you autocorrect, a dog dressed as Satan would be most unfestive.
Of course this list is not exhaustive, a bit like the need to be charitable. These are just ones that matter to me. Go forth and give to whichever cause strikes a chord.