Kindness can go a long way, especially at Christmas, and after a year in which we’ve seen some truly remarkable charitable acts it couldn’t hurt to introduce some kindness into your own home this festive season. From thoughtful crafts for loved ones, to charities you can support as a family, there are always small ways to show you care and help to brighten up even the darkest of days.
If you can’t be with those you love this Christmastime then you could always send a little happiness their way with a thoughtful, homemade postcard. It’s a great way to bring a personal touch to your message and it means the kids can get involved too. Let their artistic nature take over so they can draw, paint and create their very own festive scene and let them write their personal message on the back. Grown-ups can provide the words for younger children but don’t forget to draw a vertical line to divide it in half where you can write the address. Of course, you could always simply send Christmas cards, but where’s the fun in that? Remember, the postal service is extremely busy at this time of year so be sure to get your picturesque postcards stamped and sent as soon as they’re done!
Collecting Little Acts of Kindness
We know that the kids will be on their best behaviour ahead of Santa’s visit on Christmas Eve, but if you want to go a bit further and make sure that there’s even more goodwill in your home then why not introduce a kindness jar! Throughout the run-up to Christmas place an empty jar in a communal family area and every time someone does something kind around the house you can add a jellybean (or treat of your choice) to the jar. These can be small things such as: hanging up their clothes without being asked, putting away their shoes or being kind and thoughtful to their siblings. However, should there any instances when kindness hasn’t been shown to each other, a treat gets removed from the jar. On Christmas eve, you can all sit down together and enjoy eating your kindness jar contents together as a family.
Sharing Sweet Treats
There’s no better way to spread some festive cheer by baking some sweet treats for others! Why not try this yummy snowman biscuit recipe you can deliver to a special someone and let them know they go perfectly with a hot chocolate.
- 125g butter
- 125g golden caster sugar
- 1 egg
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 250g plain flour
- 400g white fondant icing
- icing sugar
- 100g pack mixed red, yellow, black and blue ready-to-roll icing
- tube white icing
- tube black icing
- Heat the oven to 190C/170C. Cream the butter and sugar until pale and fluffy, then beat in the egg and vanilla. Stir in the flour and mix to a soft dough. Tip onto a lightly floured surface and knead. Put the dough on a plate, cover and chill for at least 2 hrs.
- Roll out the dough – make sure the surface is lightly floured – to a thickness of around 0.5cm. Use a cookie cutter or water glass to stamp out 7cm rounds. Re-roll the trimmings and repeat. Make sure to have enough for the body and the head of each snowman. The stamp out for the head should be slightly smaller than that for the body.
- Transfer the biscuits to two lined baking trays and bake for 8-14 mins until the edges turn lightly golden in colour. Leave to cool.
- To decorate, roll out the white fondant icing on a surface lightly dusted with icing sugar. Stamp out circles using the same cookie cutter or glass as before, then use a dab of the white tube of icing to stick a fondant round on each biscuit.
- Knead together some of the yellow and blue icing to make green icing, then do the same with the red and yellow icing to make orange (or buy the right colours ready-made). Roll out one icing colour at a time. Stamp out a 7cm circle of icing, cut in half and stick on for a hat. Cut a strip of another colour for other decorative additions to your snowman such as a scarf.
- Decorate the hats with icing spots and stripes, if you like. Roll out balls of coloured icing, poke holes all over with a cocktail stick and stick on as pom poms. Mould lumpy balls of the orange icing for noses and roll out balls of the black icing for eyes. Press down to flatten, then stick on with white icing.
- Use the tube of black icing to pipe rows of dots for the smiles. Leave to set.
Spreading Joy with Kindness
There are so many charitable initiatives that need a helping hand this time of year and it’s a wonderful way to help those in need after a year in which many charities fundraising efforts have been hit so hard by the coronavirus restrictions. Here are a few suggestions of good causes who could really use your support this Christmas…
A Letter From Santa
Santa has found time to team up with the NSPCC, to send personalised letters all the way from Lapland to Northern Ireland. Each ‘Letter from Santa’ is printed and posted directly to your child in a festive envelope. You can choose the background design and fill in your child’s personal information such as age, best friend’s name or particular achievements throughout the year. The requested £5 donation could buy art materials to help a child who has been abused to express their feelings when they can’t find the words.
Gifts That Keep On Giving
Instead of buying a joke gift for someone (that will probably end up in landfill by January), you could use that money to buy a life-changing gift from Concern that will help transform people’s lives across the world. You could give the precious present of school fees for a child, a farm animal that will provide food and a livelihood for a family or something as simple as a radio for a remote community to tune into the world – all of which mean so much more to someone than just another pair of socks for dad!
Be a Secret Santa for a Child
This Christmas, vulnerable children in the UK need a Secret Santa more than ever. More families are having to choose between paying their bills or feeding their children. And with Christmas just around the corner, they’re terrified about how they’re going to cope. Become a Secret Santa for Action For Children and you could make sure more children and young people have a hot meal, a present or a safe place to sleep.
Support the Trussell Trust
The pandemic has seen use of food banks rise dramatically right across the UK. From donating food, volunteering your time or taking on a fundraising challenge, there are lots of ways to get involved with raising awareness of poverty and helping end hunger and the need for vulnerable families to have to rely on food banks to feed their children.