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It’s that wonder time of the year again, a time of opulence, indulgence and in some cases sheer gluttony. However, it is also a time where even the most money hungry, greedy individuals try to put right the balance in the world.

In some ways it is easier said than done, but small changes by individuals do soon add up, and these small acts of kindness can turn into huge deals for others less fortunate.

It doesn’t have to be monetary gift, or even cost you anything at all, but could make all the difference to someone’s Christmas.

So just think about it – Is there a cause that means something to you? A family refuge? A Homeless Centre? Maybe even a hospital that cared for you or your children that is trying to raise funds? It could even be a charity that looks after the elderly at the most lonely time of the year for many, or a food bank.

Again, a gift doesn’t have to be monetary; you can volunteer your time, or donate a few bits and pieces to a food bank. Or in the case of Family Refuges, they’re always in need of clean clothes for babies, toddlers, children and adults. Donations of toys in good working order which your own children have grown out of are also usually appreciated. You could volunteer at a homeless shelter, dishing out hats, gloves and a hot meal while also making them feel human, if only for a little while.

I’m not usually the sentimental type, and I refuse to hand cold cash over to charities, especially the ones that practically demand higher and higher amounts each year.

However, I would be more than willing to offer my services for free, to donate things to try and make someone else’s Christmas that little bit better, even if it is only a few second hand pairs of jeans, jumpers and a couple of boxes of chocolates.

My sister, who has 3 kids and is a hoarder (she hasn’t got rid of baby clothes from 6 years ago) is seriously considering this. Firstly there is the selfish element of making room, but then there is also the fact most of it hasn’t been worn, so donating the good stuff would not only help her, but also anyone on the receiving end too.

So think about this before you start drinking your copious amounts of champagne, or eating so much Christmas Pudding you could burst, you have it a lot easier than some, and all it takes for most people in need is a little kindness and a quick boost to get them back on their feet, even if it is only a small gesture.

So try to think of charities you would support, monetary if you wish, but donations of any type made to any charity is gratefully received and you know it will go to a good home and put to good use.

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Sara O'Connell
A passionate photographer from Arizona, Sara enjoys art and culture.