Tis’ the Season to Give

‘Tis the season to be jolly, and I have been fa-la-la-la-la-ing my way through the festivities.

A lot of the focus at the end of the year is on giving. Cards, gifts, food, drink, merriness. Every year the trees gets taller and the number of presents underneath grows.

January comes around and imposes a new harsh reality – back to work, back to university, back to school. The diets start, the budgeting begins. And that sense of generosity we sing about at Christmas-time gets a little lost between the detox green juices and our dips in and out of the January blues. A couple of things we could keep on giving through 2017…

One.  Time.

Volunteering time in the Christmas period seems to be most often done in soup kitchens, at least in the capital. In December, when our time is considered so limited, it could mean a lot to someone that you’re choosing to devote some of it to serving them a hot meal, sharing stories and bringing a smile to what’s probably a very cold and difficult Christmas period for them but that need doesn’t go away through the rest of the months either.

Two. A Warm Plate of Baked Goods.

On the days we enjoy an extra day off from work, Christmas Day, Boxing Day, all bank holidays… the oven will probably be on. Whip up a batch of cookies or homebaked goods and slip them in the oven, make way to a local fire station or hospital, with a thank you note for those who give up their holiday to be at work, keeping all of us safe and healthy.

Three. An Old Coat.

It goes without saying that the winter months aren’t easy for the homeless, and those living in poverty. Coat drives start popping up across the city at this time of year, I saw in Victoria station recently they had their collection. So maybe we can purge our wardrobes, stop saying ‘what if one day…’ and donate a coat to someone who needs an extra layer this Winter.

Four. Blood.

When I gave blood for the first time, I didn’t expect for it to become something I scheduled in every 12 weeks. Then I found out my blood type. After some research, I decided it was important to me to continually give blood, and here I am, a couple of pints down. The fact is that Christmas is a busy time of year in A&E, thanks to the candles and fairy lights, fires burning, and copious amounts of alcohol. So if you’re going to start giving blood anyway, Christmas isn’t a bad time to begin. Then remember to book in for a few months into the New Year.

Five. A Letter.

We live in an age where a hefty percentage of our words aren’t spoken anymore. Text messages, tagging friends on Facebook, late night tweets and self-important Instagram selfie captions… what’s one more word in a sea of written communication? Letter writing programmes allow isolated prisoners to feel valued, and can make a great amount of difference to their lives.

Six. Money.

Money and charity are and always have been a match made in heaven. Some of us have favourites to donate to because they are close to our hearts, some of us find obscure but equally worthy causes.

With no explanation needed, here are a few places that will do great things with your money.

GoFundMe                          JustGiving                        Sgt. Pepper’s Friends                        109 World

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