As we approach midlife, many of us are making conscious decisions to declutter and stop accumulating ‘stuff’ we don’t need. Decluttering Queen, Marie Kondo advises us to get rid of items that do not bring us joy. What better time than Christmas to begin to think about this and maybe decide to approach the festive season in a different way? A way that can bring joy to others and ourselves and doesn’t entail buying more things we don’t need.
Giving the gift of time
Acccording to Jenny Santi, philanthropy advisor and author of The Giving Way to Happiness: Stories & Science Behind the Life-Changing Power of Giving
The gift of time is often more valuable to the receiver and more satisfying for the giver than the gift of money. We don’t all have the same amount of money, but we all do have time on our hands, and can give some of this time to help others—whether that means we devote our lifetimes to service, or just give a few hours each day or a few days a year. Instead of focusing on ourselves, we could help those less fortunate to enjoy a really great day by volunteering our precious time.
Doing things for others, whether small, unplanned acts or regular volunteering is a powerful way to boost our own happiness, too. Scientific studies show that helping others boosts happiness: it increases life satisfaction, provides a sense of meaning, increases feelings of competence, improves our mood and reduced stress. So if you want to feel good – not only for Christmas- do good!
CrunchyTales has been doing some digging around and found some charities who could really need our help over the festive period.
Over Christmas and New Year, the charity – that provides help for the homeless- is looking for volunteers in London, Birmingham, Coventry, Edinburgh, Newcastle, Oxford, South Wales. You’ll be helping out with Christmas lunch, or having a chat and playing games with the guests. Check the website for centres nearest to you to see availability. It’s really good fun and you know you’re making a real difference.
It targets young people and helps them to find a safe place to stay. Centrepoint has been making a real difference to young lives, especially since 2010 when rough sleeping skyrocketed by 165%. It’s estimated there are more than 100,000 young people facing homelessness. Centrepoint is asking for help over Christmas and the new year, and if you aren’t able to offer a room to a young person, you can ‘sponsor a room’. For £12 per month, (that’s about 40p a day) you can help a young person to leave homelessness behind and move on with their lives.
Every year for the past 23 years, local Basket Brigades have been providing baskets of food and household items. The Group will distribute Christmas hampers on 23rd December to unsuspecting families in need. You’ll be invited to pack the hampers with lots of other volunteers, and your mission is to feed families who are struggling to put food on the table. It takes a donation of £15 to feed a family.
Bring your friends and family, and join them to raise vital funds to support older people across the UK who need our help this Christmas and throughout the year. Age UK will have its annual carol service at St Marylebone Parish Church in London (the 5th December, 7 pm). A very special evening wich includes musical performances, timeless carols, and readings from much-loved celebrities. It promises to be a heartwarming night to welcome in the Christmas spirit while raising money to give the older people who need us most a place to turn to. Tickets vary in price from £5-£30 with all proceeds going to the charity. But even better, why not invite an elderly person to Christmas lunch in your home? What kinder thing is there to do than to offer an elderly lonely person a lovely family Christmas if they have no one close by?
They bring older people together into social groups and this Christmas they run a campaign with a focus on loneliness amongst the elderly. It encourages people to host Christmas events occurring between 18 – 31 December, actively matching anyone aged 75 and over who will be alone on Christmas Day with a community event. In partnership with Aura Care Living, the campaign is kicking off by offering a free two-night stay in each of its care homes for both Christmas Eve and Christmas Day nights. The homes are situated in the two villages of Cirencester and Camberley. Nominees will be cared for by excellent staff and will enjoy some award-winning food in fabulous luxury surroundings.