It’s the season of goodwill, so do something small but wonderful for friends, family or even better a complete stranger this Christmas.
1. Go goody bag crazy
Put together a thoughtful goodie bag of treats for your local postie and refuse collectors. Include things like miniature mince pies, festive key rings, sachets of hot chocolate, a Christmas tip and of course a thank-you card.
2. Become a mystery baker
Whip-up a batch of mince pies or gingerbread biscuits. Parcel them up individually and leave them on the desks of your co-workers and colleagues with individual gift tags. Who doesn’t love a personalised edible treat? Check out our inventive edible gift ideas here.
3. Take a neighbour shopping
Take the stress out of Christmas shopping for a car-less friend or neighbour by giving them a lift to and from the shops. They’ll be so grateful they didn’t have to negotiate buses and trains laden with heavy shopping bags.
4. Support a Kickstarter campaign
Kickstarter is a great place to discover fledgling inventions, ideas and projects – all of which require crowd-funding to make happen. Spend a while on the site and if you stumble across a project that really sparks your imagination, why not leave a small donation to feel part of it?
5. Play Santa’s little helper
Set up a local delivery depot in your front room. Drop a note through each of your neighbours’ doors letting them know that you are happy deliver local Christmas cards and presents for them.
6. Volunteer at a Soup Kitchen
Help prepare and serve Christmas Dinner with all the trimmings to those who are homeless and alone at this time of year. For more information on how to get involved contact visit www.crisis.org.uk
7. Buy an extra toy for charity
This is a great opportunity to teach children what Christmas is all about. When you’re gift shopping with the family, buy one extra thing for a children’s charity – just something small will do. Then wrap it up with the kids and pop them under the tree at your local Children’s hospice or hospital.
8. Give away some Christmas cheer
This one’s for you if you’re of a crafty persuasion and have plenty of confidence to boot. Knock together a few festive wreaths and posies – they can be as simple or as complex as you like. Then hand them out liberally to everyone and anyone to raise a smile: colleagues, your local shopkeeper, friends and family.
9. Set up a gift-wrapping service
This is a great one for getting the kids involved. All you need is an assortment of wrapping paper, parcel tape, ribbon, a Christmas carol compilation and you’re all set. Older members of family will certainly appreciate not having to wrap all those fiddly items.
10. Have a conversation with someone you see everyday
It could be someone who always gets the same train as you in the morning, the server in your favourite café or a new neighbour you haven’t yet got to know – vow to go beyond the usual nod of recognition you proffer and try a ‘hello’ and ‘how are you?’ next time you see them.
11. Set-up a mince pie station
Delight visitors, neighbours and complete strangers by setting up a mince pie station outside your house. A fold-up table will do the trick, then pile up a generous stash of mince pies (or any other Christmassy treats), together with a sign that says ‘eat me’.
12. Go social
Many of us take to social media for a bit of a grumble. Turn it around this Christmas and use it to publically express thanks and gratitude to friends and family who contributed positively your year. It’s a small gesture that takes no time at all and is guaranteed to spread some Christmas joy.