It is all too easy to get caught up in a spiral of shopping and spending at this time of year, and for many people it can feel as though the true meaning of Christmas has been lost a little amongst the wrapping paper and endless queues.
Sometimes the best gifts are those that don’t have a financial cost – spending a couple of hours helping people less fortunate than ourselves is so rewarding, and there are many ways in which you can be a Christmas star. The TimeBank organisation has some great ideas on its website, detailing lots of ways you can make a real difference.
Pet lovers may want to help an animal charity, and once again there are many ways to volunteer your time, skills, or simply donate a meal to help an animal in need this Christmas:
- Keep an eye out in your local supermarket for pet charity stands or collecting bins for food and toys. It’s easy to pop a couple of extra tins in your trolley and donate them on your way out.
- Contact your local shelter and offer an hour or two to help walk the dogs or socialise with the cats. There are countless local organisations you can try, and they will all be grateful for any help you can give. Many of the larger charities have volunteer pages on their websites where you can find details of ways to help near you (try RSPCA, Blue Cross and PDSA).
- Offer to walk your elderly neighbour’s dog or drive them to the vets or the pet shop when needed
- Why not clear out some clutter and have a table-top sale or car boot with all the profits going to a local pet charity?
- If you are good at crafts or baking, perhaps you could make and sell Christmas cards or mince pies to raise money for a charity close to your heart
- You could even organise a sponsored event or hold a collection at a community carol service
However you choose to get involved, you’ll feel a real sense of pride in making a difference, especially this time of year when it can be easy to forget that there are people and animals in genuine need.
The old adage is certainly true – it’s better to give than receive, and giving doesn’t have to cost you a penny!
With very best wishes from Shailen and The Ralph Site team