You will struggle to find someone who loves Christmas more than we do! I promise you! However, we know how fortunate we are and so for many years now we have always included “giving back” in our December schedule.
This was a tradition that started almost a decade ago for me; when I would collect new toys from colleagues that they kindly donated, and bring them to our local children’s hospital. When I started my current job almost 5 years ago, people were less able to contribute so I started buying small toys/gifts throughout the year.
Since Ita was born she has attended the hospital drop off with us, but this year will be the year she truly understands where those toys go.
I have already started explaining to her that some children have to spend Christmas in hospital. She remains quite puzzled about this (of course!) but she has also told me how sad she thinks that is. And that there is my point.. it is sad! Ita is very fortunate and I want her to know this.
This year we will be visiting the hospital on Friday afternoon to drop off selection boxes to the children and the staff. She is quite excited about this but I know full well that it may be overwhelming on the day. Ita is very sensitive and very much in tune with her feelings despite only being 3 and a 1/2 years old.
(Dress for the hospital drop off last year!)
As well as our annual hospital visit we also donate a food shop to a food bank, donate a new toy to Home Start (a charity for families who are struggling) and put together a small care package for those who are leaving the care of the Local Authority. For the last few years I have also raffled off one of Ita’s dresses and donated the money to the Make a Wish Foundation.
I know many who put together bits and bobs for the shoebox appeals that are often run by schools but this tends to be for children overseas. Any form of charity is kind, but I do think there are so many locally who would benefit from your kindness too!!
When I was younger I remember that shops like Superdrug would hold collection points for you to drop new presents to, so they could be distributed to poorer families. Since this has stopped, I have found that the Salvation Army still run this type of campaign. Truth be told, not many places do this anymore which is such a shame.
Last year, another mummy I met through Instagram, told me that she started this tradition too with her little girl, Bella. She said this was deliberately because she had seen me doing this with Ita. I cannot tell you how much this meant to be! She had some amazing ideas such as baking cakes to hand out to her neighbours and making cards for them too. Every bit of kindness is noticed!
This year our advent calendar includes so many fun activities for Ita; Disneyland Paris, Lapland UK, theatre trips and even a trip to the zoo. We have also included 5 “giving back” days; gift drop off at the local children’s ward, making cards for our local nursing home, a delivery to a local food bank, dropping off a present at Home Start (watford always have a drop off in the Intu), and putting together a box for those leaving “care” (this is usually 17/18 year olds who now have to make their way in life having been under the care of the local authorities for various reasons).
I strongly feel that teaching children the importance of “giving back” will make them grateful for what they do have. Will you take part this year?
Ideas on how you can “give back” this Christmas;
Donate tinned items to a food bank
Make cakes or cards for your local nursing home
Ask your local authority on ways to help
Donate a NEW toy to a local hospital
Sponsor a local sports team
Hold a raffle and donate the money
Help the homeless (volunteer at food points)
Thank the emergency service (via your closest hospital) they usually have to work on Christ day day!
Donate to your local animal charity
Donate an hours pay to a charity
The Garcia Family