Earlier this week, the lovely Penny from Alexander Residence posted about a fantastic way to “give back” this Christmas. This time of year is, naturally, a time for giving and most of us want to spread a little holiday cheer. But it can get so complicated (and overwhelming) as we try and get the best presents for our loved ones, plan the perfect feast for our families, and still find time to enjoy the moment. Which is why I love the simplicity of Wayfair’s #BlogItForward challenge…
The idea is so simple – find a way to spread a little kindness this Christmas and if you blog about it Wayfair will donate £50 to Habitat for Humanity. How awesome is that? By one small act of kindness you are helping not one person, but many – how’s that for the ripple effect?
And your act of kindness doesn’t have to be a big one or even cost you any money – say “hi” to that parent who always seems stressed on the school run, visit an elderly neighbour who may be very lonely, take outgrown clothes and toys to your nearest refuge, organise to go and sing carols at your local residential care home, the list is endless…
When I first heard about #BlogItForward, I wondered what I should do. My time and energy resources are very limited right now and whilst I am very often overly optimistic about what I can actually achieve, I knew I needed to keep it simple this year. So when Penny sent me this tweet, it got me thinking:
— Penny Alexander (@PennyAlexander_) November 30, 2015
What things am I already doing that would count as “good deeds” this Christmas. What am I doing that I simply haven’t thought of mentioning but actually support others and spread a little love and support?
And here’s what I came up with:
1. Buying from small businesses
Whilst it would certainly be far quicker (and cheaper) to grab all my Christmas presents from discount stores and large online retailers offering so many competitive deals, I made a conscious decision to buy as many presents from smaller businesses. I wanted to do this for two reasons – first, I am able to find perfect gifts for friends and family members that they will most likely have never seen before and second, I know that each sale makes a big difference to the person who made the item.
So far this year I have bought a handmade Star Wars pencil case for our niece, some cute Star Wars Bathroom Etiquette magnets for Little Man’s cousins (both from Folksy), and a hand knitted baby bear for a friend’s new baby (from a church Christmas Fair). I still have a few presents to buy and whilst I know I won’t manage to get all my gifts in this way, each one I do makes me feel happy knowing we are supporting a small business.
2. Donating to the Food Bank
This is something we do from time to time anyway, but it is becoming a Christmas tradition to add “buy food for the Food Bank” to Little Man’s Activity Advent Calendar. We know how lucky we are to have food on our table, especially as there have been times when without family buying us the odd weekly shop we would not have made ends meet. So whilst we have the opportunity to do so, we want to make sure we are giving back to those who need it.
It is also such a fantastic way for us to start a conversation with Little Man about how lucky we are to live in a warm and dry house, with food to eat, clean clothes to wear, and toys for him to play with. We’ll be talking to him about all the different ways, both big and small, we can make a difference in other people’s lives, and that is in itself another way we can give back as we’re passing on the gift of kindness to another generation.
3. Sending Christmas Cards
In the age of social media, it can be so easy to feel as if written Christmas cards no longer have as big a place in our lives. I mean, it is so very easy to just send an e card or stick up a status wishing everyone a Merry Christmas as it takes less time, costs nothing (I am the first to admit posting Christmas cards can be very pricey!), and avoids missing the last posting date. And there is nothing wrong with this at all – I’ll certainly be sending those kinds of messages nearer the big day.
But there is something very special and magical about receiving cards through the post, don’t you think? As a child it may be one of the few times you receive post, and as an adult it is most definitely a pleasant break from the usual bills! But more than that, I think Christmas cards bring great cheer in that they both brighten up your room when displayed and they show that the person who sent them felt it important enough to take time out of their busy schedule to write to you and stick it in the post.
This year I’m going to be writing to old friends whose families have had a tough year, to let them know we’re thinking of them especially at this time and hoping that 2016 will be a better year for them. And I’ll be posting cards to old friends who I simply haven’t had time to properly catch up with through the year, as busy as it has been for us. And I’ll also be sending cards to others just for the fun of it. I do hope that they will bring some festive cheer.
So there you go, those are the three ways in which I am hoping to give back this year. And in order to take part in Blog It Forward I am sharing it with you here on the blog, and challenging some friends to take part too. So I’m tagging Katrina, Emma, Vicky and Aly. But anyone can join in – all you have to do is write about how you’re giving back this Christmas, paste one of the blog buttons (there are two to choose from) in your post and challenge two of your blogging friends to take part.
Go on, what are you waiting for?