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5 ways to give a little extra this Christmas


H A P P Y  M O N D A Y!

Do you have that end of school feeling yet? I sort of do, after a weekend full of festive films, and celebrating fakmas with the Young Man, the only slight muffler on the whole thing, is that I have a pretty serious head cold. But I refuse to let that get me down, you might block my nose but not my spirit damm it!

Anyway... before I get too graphic let's move on shall we.

Today I want to share 5 ways you can give a little extra this Christmas. I know most of you have probably already sorted out your shopping and this would be way too late in the day for a post about gift ideas, but that isn't what this post is about. Today I want to focus on the little extras that really make a big difference at this time of year, to your near and dear ones, but also to people who are complete strangers to you.

I've already mentioned a couple of times this month about how part of being happy and grateful this month, for me, involves giving back, and while it should be the simplest thing in the world to do, when our heads are full of last minute tasks and excitiement, it isn't always easy to factor in giving a little extra. Hopefully this list will help with that!


1. FOOD BANKS


Ok for me, this year, foodbanks have been the biggest way I'm trying to give back. Most major supermarkets have a foodbank drop off point located just after the tills, and it really is the easiest and most instant way you can help out somebody who needs it this Christmas. You don't have to go out of your way because you're already at the supermarket and you don't have to remember to take a bag of stuff with you can get it while your there. Every time I've popped in to buy my weekly shop or just another box of mince pies I've made sure to also pick something up for the foodbank. Don't know what to give? Try mixing fun and sensible! As a rule I pick up something with a long shelf life that can go a long way coupled with something fun and festive - the type of thing that instantly makes me think Christams. So far my foodbank shopping list has included; tinned soup ; huge bags of pasta ; various cooking sauces ; family biscuit pack ; advent calendars for the kids ; chocolate coins ; mincepies.

At this time of year so many things are on offer, so instead of putting that extra box of something away in the cupboard, only to be eaten at Easter, why not pop it in the food bank?


2. LEND A HAND ON THE BIG DAY


A little closer to home with this one. This year I'm going to take on some of the cooking at home. I know many of you probably already do this, and I have in the past, but normally Mamma J does the majority of the cooking in our house - and it isn't something she really enjoys! So this year I'm going to speak to her before the day itself and divvy up tasks (because if we both just dive in - well what's that saying too many cooks?). 

It's something tiny, but this time of year so much time and effort goes in to all the preparations. More so than we actually realise. So if you already take on some of the cooking, or the chef in your house refuses to let anyone else in the kitchen have a look around - is there washing that needs to be done, presents still to be wrapped, a chore that some one is putting off until after Christmas that you could do now? These things are hardly revolutionary but can make a big difference.


3. Charity Shop Stocking Fillers


Come January no doubt many of us will be thinking of clearing stuff out and sending bags of stuff to the Charity Shop, I know I will but before we give to the chairty shop maybe take a moment to buy something from them? I love stocking fillers, and they are normally the tye of thing I end up buying waaaaaaaaaaaaay to many of, and spending waaaaaaaaaaaay to much money on, so this year, instead of buying things just for the sake of buying them, my stocking fillers are going to come in the shape of books bought from the Charity shop that I really believe people will like. I'm not suggesting you buy your main gifts second hand (although you definitely could!) but sometimes you find treasure in the most unexpected places!


4. KEEP YOUR EYES OPEN


If you're really looking you'll see it's usually not that hard to help out a stranger. For example two weeks ago I was stood behind a ver stressed out Mum in Starbucks. Her little boy was meant to be staying put at the table but kept wandering off, her push chair was full of baby and bags and her order was bigger than her hands. So while she manouvered buggy, bags, and boy into their correct places, I picked up her coffee, toastie and cake and took it to her table for her. It was so easy for me to do but to her it made all the difference. 

This time of year is overwhelming and stressful, particularly in our highstreets and on our public transport, and people can be too flustered to ask for help! Keep your eyes open and never underestimate the smallest of gestures.


5. SOCIAL MEDIA


This last one isn't something I've actually done yet, but I'm definitely going to! 2016 has been a tough year for this world of ours and unfortunately it doesn't all stop for Christmas. I know that so often the news leaves us feeling helpless, and that a social media campaign or share can seem insignificant, but just because something is small, doesn't mean it isn't worth doing. As bloggers, so many of us schedule our tweets and updates, next time your setting up your shares for the week, why not add in a worthy cause? As I said this isn't something I've done yet, so if anybody knows of any charities running social media campaigns, or particularly good causes let me know in the comments below.

And that's it! A really simple list, that I'm sure many of you have already thought of, but if like me sometimes you need a little reminder here it is! Hope you're all having a lovely time this Christmas, and on the flip side, if you're the one that needs a little help you're getting everything you need. 

How are you giving a little extra this Christmas? Let me know in the comments below x

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