Tis the season for goodwill

Christmas is a great time, with days off to relax and delicious food that you don’t have to feel guilty about until January. But it can also be a very hard time for people who can’t afford the festive season. Charities work especially hard at Christmas time and are always in need of some extra helping hands. Here are some things you can do over the Holidays that will make a difference.

Take a dip on Christmas Day

Natives of coastline counties have a tradition of taking a Christmas Day swim in aid of a particular charity. So why not get your sponsorship card out for whatever charity you hold dear and take a plunge. I’ve done it and once you get all in it’s actually not that bad; just make sure to wrap up warm afterwards.

Christmas Shoebox Appeal

The Christmas Shoebox Appeal is run by Samaritan’s Purse and helps give gifts to children who otherwise would not receive anything. It’s super simple and cheap to do – pick a gender and age group; cover a shoebox of any description in wrapping paper and fill it up with little presents. Samaritans has helpful pointers for Do and Don’ts so you won’t be stuck for ideas. You can also volunteer to help out at one of their packing centres. Log onto operationchristmaschild.org.uk for more details.

Operation Santa Toy Appeal

Ever year 2FM and Supervalu organise Operation Santa, where they help St Vincent De Paul (SVP) give toys and Christmas dinners to families and children who can’t afford Christmas this year. The idea is that when you are out doing your Christmas shopping for your nearest and dearest, you buy one extra toy or a Supervalu gift card. You can then you drop it off at your nearest Supervalu and SVP will distribute the toys and gifts locally to families in need. Log onto svp.ie or listen to 2FM for further information.

Order of Malta

On Christmas Day volunteers will collect elderly and convalescing people from hospitals and care homes and bring them to their home to celebrate with their families. Help out locally; for more information contact your local branch or log onto  orderofmaltaireland.org.

Remember these are just a few of the things you can do nationwide. Local charities tend to have many more events and fundraisers. You can also give back at Christmas by shopping local and in charity stores.

Eimear Phelan

Image: moleitau via flickr.com

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