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I finished University in June this year and fortunately managed to get a full-time job for when I finished, meaning I have been working full time for 6 months at the end of December. Like most students I have been absolutely skint for the past four years, relying on my overdraft and only shopping in clothes shops where there is student discount (not that its always cheaper!). However, I now have a nice income coming in each month, a savings account (yawn) and I am paying of the overdraft (slowly).
Having this disposable income around Christmas time made me think of all the people who are truly skint this Christmas and how that might not change anytime soon. Although I work hard for the money I get and have been through university to get a degree etc there are so many people who don't even have the opportunity to get as far as that, which is where my 'Random act of kindness' was born. I have decided that I want to make a difference this Christmas and help some people who are less fortunate than myself.
I have chosen to help the homeless this year for many reasons. One of the most obvious reasons for helping the homeless in the winter is the weather! I was muttering under my breath this morning when my car needed defrosting and wouldn't start, but imagine having to sleep outside? Not good. I have decided to donate to the local hostel that provide hot drinks and snacks to the homeless this Christmas, as well as putting together some Christmas care packages/gifts for those that will be visiting the shelter this year. It's actually pretty easy and cost effective as you can donate tea, biscuits, coffee, sugar, sweets, toiletries, rucksacks and gloves which you can find on deals or at local discount stores. And it's always nice to see your good deed being used straight away!
I was telling my best bud Lauren about this idea over dinner last night when we were tucking into an epic pizza at ZiZi's (note to self: the pizzas are massive there, you do not need one each). When we were leaving the restaurant we had almost a whole pizza in a take away box when we came across a homeless woman and her dog in the freezing cold. After the conversation about helping others and the size of our post pizza tummy's, we decided to give her our pizza, which was hilarious. For two reasons, firstly because she said 'Urm, what's on it?' which made me laugh as I was like 'Really?! You're being picky right now' and then because Lauren recited the exact description from the menu 'This pizza features a slow cured Italian ham and Buffalo mozzarella topped with a generous sprinkling of rocket'.
After she fondled both pizzas and kept insisting we kept one half, she finally accepted the offer. Walking away she said 'Are any of them spicy?!'. We showed her the one that featured jalapeno peppers and said 'Do not give that one to the dog!!'. We finally left in stitches and praying our good deed wouldn't go bad in the form of a dog dying via death by jalapeno pepper, fingers crossed!
If you want some other ideas of how you can help others this Christmas, you can:
Volunteer: You can work at a soup kitchen, charity parties, church etc
Give blood: This is something I do regularly and it literally takes 10mins to do and could save a life. The winter is the worst time for blood stocks, but its this time of the year where people need it most. If you are in need of the 'feel good factor' this is a great one to try as you really do make an immediate difference. Also, anyone scared of needles or seeing their own blood I can reassure you that the nurses are SO good and they do it in a way that you will hardly notice you're even giving blood
Care Packages: You can make or donate money to send gifts to sick children, old people and soldiers through various charities
Send Christmas cards: You can do something simple like spread the joy of Christmas through cards to as many people as you want. If you decide to send to strangers, you need to make sure they don't sound creepy as stalker-vibes deffo kill the Christmas spirit
Donate: You can donate money, clothes, time or items to various charities, just pick one you want to support!
Let me know if you decide to take part in any 'Random acts of kindness' this Christmas!