‘Tis the season to give back when there are so many people who can’t afford the basics this Christmas time.

Here are 12 ways to help others during the holidays.

1. Giving food to a food bank

A food banks collection that week

There is no shortage of foodbanks in Nottingham, including Hope Nottingham and The Square Meal.

Since the pandemic hit last year people have been out of jobs and struggling, so food banks are a great way to ensure they have a meal this Christmas, even if it isn’t a roast turkey and stuffing.

2. Volunteer at a homeless shelter

A man without a home on the street

Emmanuel House assists those who have found themselves on the street, from providing them with shelter and helping them with drug and alcohol support.

Their website states they couldn’t do it without those who volunteer.

You can volunteer at their winter shelter, or help them sort donations.

3. Shop locally

Five Leaves Bookshop, a local Nottingham business

It isn’t helping feed those without but it is helping people in Nottingham.

Local businesses are always in need of support, so why not shop for presents this Christmas at a Nottingham based business?

Five Leaves Bookshop on Long Row is a perfect example, if you’re looking for feminist literature, books on immigrants or other literature.

The Victoria Centre has the small indoor market full of  businesses too, including a crystal store, Lizian Crystal & Incense Shop.

You could always find Nottingham businesses on Etsy as well.

4. Help the environment

A wind farm producing sustainable energy

Try turning off those Christmas lights before you go to bed this season. You could also try buying the sustainable Christmas lights.

Wrapping paper is a massive part of waste over the holidays, especially since a lot cannot be recycled.

Why not try buying one’s that can?

5. Donate to a charity shop

A charity shop

As the Christmas season approaches, a lot of people are going to be getting gifts.

Making space for these is a great way to give back this season.

Give away the clothes you don’t wear anymore, or the book you’ve read and won’t again.

This means that others can get affordable clothing this season, and it reduces the waste of fast fashion.

6. Visit the elderly

An elderly woman being visited by a careworker

With COVID restrictions having a face-to-face visit may not be possible, but even a phone call can make a difference.

So many people are without families this Christmas and it can make them all the more lonely as the day approaches.

Why not volunteer some of your time to making someone smile when they know they’re not alone.

A little can go a long way.

7. Donate toys to the hospital

A stuffed animal gifted to a child in the hospital

No one gets a break when they’re ill, especially children over Christmas.

Donating toys to the children’s ward ant City Hospital and QMC can brighten their holiday season.

Something to keep them entertained over Christmas can really help.

8. Fundraise

Four women who have just finished running a half marathon

Maybe raise money for a charity this Christmas, to help them support people.

Not everyone can afford to donate out of their own pocket so fundraising can help with that.

A cake sale, or a boot sale, even a run can help raise a little money that will go a long way for a local charity.

9. Care Packages

A small care package

If you don’t want to donate to a food bank or charity or you have items that are not suited for them, you can create a care package for someone in need.

It can include blankets and books.

Give it to a homeless person this winter to keep them warm and entertained through the long days.

10. Adopt an Animal

A dog sleeping in their forever home

Bramcote Animal Rescue are appealing for people to adopt guinea pigs and cats this winter as there hasn’t been many adopted lately.

Animals are forever and not just for Christmas, so you could help make that a reality by giving an animal a forever home.

11. Donate to a GoFundMe

Someone donating money

There is no shortage of people needing help even during the most wonderful time of the year.

There’s people needing help with rent, getting out of an abusive or toxic household.

A small donation can bring them that step closer to a new, stable life.

12. Give away your Christmas leftovers

A Christmas dinner

Christmas dinner is always extensive, with a large amount of leftovers no matter how stuffed you feel by the end of it.

Instead of saving them and eventually throwing away some that you just couldn’t quite finish, it can be given away to neighbours that couldn’t afford a dinner this year or to a homeless person that couldn’t get to a food bank or soup kitchen.

All that food will go to waste, so why not give it away?

Christmas is the time for giving, after all.