Christmas is a time where people come together, to spend the few last moments of the year, to unwind and share the love. It’s a time of deep reflection and spending some much-needed downtime with ourselves and with our close friends and family. It’s also a great time to connect with the local community, as it’s a warm and friendly time of the year.
However, Christmas can also be a lonely time for some as it can serve as a reminder of the people we’ve lost and the chapters that are now closed. Your neighbours may be feeling quite similar, and you’d be surprised by how much of a difference you can make in your community – by getting more involved.
Plan a community Christmas lunch
Planning a Christmas lunch is a fantastic opportunity to get the community together. And it all starts with you. Start with the closest streets near to you and introduce yourself with a warm smile. We’re sure you’ll receive a friendly welcome from your neighbours and it’s a good remedy to break the ice.
Explain the initiative behind gathering the local community for a Christmas lunch. Its basis is that more and more people of all age groups are feeling more isolated, and how uplifting it is to connect with another. The stereotype is that only the older generation suffer, from chronic loneliness, but research suggests it isn’t age specific.
Once you’ve built a good number of volunteers and attendees, the plans can move forward. Write down a list of the things you need (quantity included) as well as who will be helping with specific tasks. Try reaching out to local businesses to see if they would like to contribute in any way, the more help the merrier. When you feel comfortable with how the plans are set, set the date in ink.
Sign up for volunteering opportunities
With the number of food banks closing their doors, disappearing one by one – homeless shelters often call out for volunteers over the Christmas season. Take a step back from the consumerist culture of Christmas, as helpers are always needed in the soup kitchen or making up beds.
However, there is always room to think outside of the box. Ask yourself: what skills can I offer? For example, did you used to cut hair for a living? Are you a passionate knitter or a sewing maestro? Any contribution will be greatly appreciated, and it would be an enriching experience to spend time with the most vulnerable.
There are plenty of other volunteering opportunities that you can get involved in. Do-it is a great organisation that connects people in their local area with volunteering opportunities. The local community in Richmond, are hosting a magical Christmas Day dinner for 50 local care leavers aged between 18-25. Get your hands stuck in this Christmas , whether it’s helping packers pack their shopping bags or spending a few hours as someone’s personal buddy.
Make Christmas care packages
A care package is often sent to someone overseas, however, the same rules apply to donate a box to someone. Of course, you can donate money to those who are in need, but you can also get creative and create Christmas care packages.
You can decorate the box in Christmas festivities, and fill it with vital winter essentials. Get a medium-sized cardboard box, and make sure it’s quite sturdy so it’s able to hold everything together neatly. Decorate the box with tinsel, glitter, with a splash of red and green paint. The best part of the process is deciding what you’d like to fill the box with.
Start off with the bare winter essentials such as a blanket, tinned foods, toiletries, a hat and gloves. If you have some time on your hands, it would be a nice touch to add some baked goods. Spread the word and get your friends and family involved. It’s a bonding experience for all.
We hope we’ve given you some great ideas to connect with the community, to foster meaningful relationships. In times like these, it’s important to remind people that they aren’t alone.