How a random act of kindness could change a life this Christmas

‘Tis the season to be jolly but it’s also the season for sharing and giving to those less fortunate than we are. Having said that, kindness is certainly not just for Christmas so here are just a few of the ways you can make a massive difference to somebody else’s life without even realising it with random acts of kindness.

Donate to a charity of your choice

This may seem like an obvious choice but donating money to a good cause is always a great way to carry out a random act of kindness and help out somebody less fortunate than yourself. Charities such as Oxfam are working hard all year round to improve issues such as poverty, schooling, healthcare and drought around the world but they can’t do what they do without the funds to make it happen. It really doesn’t have too much and you don’t even have to move from the comfort of your Christmas pyjamas to do this. It’s true what they say – every penny counts and every little really does help.  

Give food to a local food bank

While many of us will be looking forward to filling up on the luxurious and indulgent festive treats that are filling the shelves at the moment, there are some people who won’t have a Christmas dinner to look forward to this year. In fact, there are an alarming number of people around the world who struggle to access the food they need to survive all year round and one way you can help this cause is by donating to your local food bank(s).

If you find yourself with a spare five or ten pounds, consider spending it on non-perishable goods such as tinned soups, instant noodles, biscuits, tea bags, coffee and cereal or toiletries such as toothpaste and shampoo. Once you’ve got some items together, take them to your nearest drop off point where there will be plenty of people who will be grateful in making use of them.

Stop to help a stranger in the street

The festive period is one the busiest times throughout the whole entire year. We’ve all got presents to buy, fridges to stock and a million and one tasks on a never-ending to-do list to complete. However, one of the best, easiest and cheapest ways you can offer a helping hand to somebody who might need it is to slow down a little bit and take check of what’s going on around you.

While you might be whizzing around the place in the warmth of your car, or taking advantage of public transport to carry you quickly from A to B, have a thought for the less fortunate or elderly people who may not be afforded those luxuries. If you see somebody on foot struggling with heavy shopping bags, consider helping them across the road, to the bus stop or even to their front door if nearby. You won’t realise how much a simple gesture like that could transform someone’s day.  

If you’ve got any of these on your new year’s resolution list, or if you’ve been on the receiving end of a random act of kindness recently, let me know in the comments below or on Twitter using the hashtag #KindnessChangesLives.

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Christmas Care Home Activities

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It’s only a few more weeks until Christmas and you are probably planning ahead and thinking about what Christmas activities you can do in your care home. If you need some inspiration or ideas to kick start your own then you’ve come to the right place. It’s important to give residents special treatment at Christmas and make them feel festive. So to ensure they do, here are some tips and ideas to help you plan activities for the residents at your care home.

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Step 1: Before you start planning when and how you are going to do the activities, first make a list of the activities that you could do over Christmas that you are sure the residents will enjoy. Find out from your residents how they would celebrate Christmas before they moved to your care home to get an idea of what they enjoyed; the food and drinks they liked, and the gifts they liked to receive. It’s important you make the Christmas period as perfect as possible for them.

Step 2: Create a diary of events and then make a plan of what you need to organise. To make things run more smoothly enlist help and give yourself and your colleagues deadlines. Think about inviting resident’s family and give them plenty of notice. The family and friends of your residents are so important, try thinking of activities that you are sure are going to suit everyone so that you feel like a large community.

Step 3: Cards with kind words can mean a lot. You could create a Christmas post box for staff and residents to use to send out cards to each other to support one another. For those living in a retirement village such as Extra care, it can be heart-warming to receive lovely cards from those in their community as you can sometimes feel isolated or lonely. If this is a resident’s first Christmas in a new home, they might need this extra support from the care home.

Step 4: Contact schools, organisations or groups like the Brownies or Guides to visit your care homes to put on concerts and entertain your residents. It can be a great experience for others to learn about the elderly and get a great experience and sense of community. If a class had been working on a nativity play at school they could also perform it at the care home for the residents. A nativity play is a great way for the residents to get into the Christmas spirit.

Step 5: Try and think of an activity that the residents may have not done before. Something that will give them a new experience and a sense of enjoyment. Could you take them on a visit to somewhere new? Giving the residents a new experience will help create a Christmas to remember and be satisfying for their family knowing that they are enjoying themselves and not just sitting inside all over the festive period.

How to decorate your Christmas table

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All the gifts are bought and wrapped and now it’s time to think about Christmas dinner, (unfortunately, not eating it just yet, just a few more weeks to go). After deciding where we are purchasing the turkey, getting the vegetables and the rest of the trimmings, the final touch is how are we going to dress the dining table? Considering we spend a large amount of time around the dining table on Christmas day, it’s important that the table looks stylish and wonderfully festive. Here are some ideas on how to do so:

Add Magic and Sparkle
Everyone’s Christmas needs a hint of magic and sparkle, there are a number of ways you can do this, including: adding a sequined table runner across your table, adding tea lights in small candle holders or running fairy lights through the centre of your table. Try to avoid cluttering your table, as you need enough room to fit your tableware. Choose a colour theme to make the table look elegant and sophisticated.

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Create a Centre Piece
A centrepiece can really make the table come alive and it doesn’t need to come in a frilly, fussy package. Simple can sometimes be more effective. Why not try creating a colourful centrepiece by filling an embellished bowl with an assortment of brightly coloured baubles and ornaments. You could place the bowl on a cake stand to give it height and cover the extra space with evergreens and holly, then add a glass bell jar over it to keep it in place.

Personalised Christmas Crackers
What’s Christmas dinner without pulling a cracker before you begin the meal? Instead of giving your guests supermarket Christmas crackers that contain boring, pointless gifts that you will end up throwing away at the end of the meal, make your own and add in something that you know they will love, such as their favourite chocolates or a memorable old photograph. It will start the Christmas meal off with a bang (no pun intended)! Follow this guide on how to make your own, if you don’t have the right materials you can simply buy your art supplies online at Artifolk. You could even get the kids to help you make them.

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Simple place settings
As the runner, crackers, and other decorations will already be making the table look busy, keep the place setting simple and minimalistic. Why not use white plates, with a napkin on top with a simple napkin ring embellishment. It will complement perfectly with the contemporary theme you have created.

Name cards
Name cards are another personal touch you can add to your table (whilst avoiding family arguments on where people want to sit). You can be extra creative this one; why not try gluing three candy sticks together to create an upright holder. Simply glue two together facing towards you so that it creates the perfect curve for you to place the name card and then glue the third on the back in the centre to act as the stand.