It’s commonly said that it’s more blessed to give than to receive. Practicing generosity isn’t only good for others, but can help you feel happier, more connected and fulfilled. Research has shown that giving to others can reduce stress1 and was found to even lower blood pressure.2

Instead of making Christmas just about what gifts we want to receive, here are seven ways to make Christmas a little more meaningful with acts of kindness and demonstrations of generosity.

1. Shop locally and support small businesses

Bushfires and the pandemic have affected everyone this year, especially small business owners. Get behind your favourite local businesses by purchasing home-grown gifts from Aussie stores. Need a wholesome gift idea? Many cafes stock take-home jars of relish, jam and more. Pick up a jar and add some lovely giftwrapping for a purposeful and tasty present.

2. Pay it forward with your morning coffee

Offer to pay for two coffees instead of one. Ask your barista to give the extra coffee to someone who needs it. The small gesture can have a lasting impact for someone going through the stressful Christmas period and help your local café.

3. Give the gift of encouragement

Being generous extends beyond tangible presents. We can also practice generosity with our words. Many of us have spent much of the year away from our colleagues or loved ones. Show them you care by sending a meaningful Christmas card with a personal message. Need a card? Every pack of Mission Australia Christmas cards you purchase contributes 45c to provide hope to vulnerable Australians.

4. Fundraise for a cause

Are you a runner or do you love solving Rubik's cubes? Get creative and use your passions to start a fundraiser during the holiday period. Register your event and encourage friends and family to support the cause.

5. Donate your Christmas gift

A wonderful way to cultivate generosity as a family is to prepare a donation together. Instead of buying another pair of socks or a mug this year, pool together the money you would use on a gift to donate as a family. Making a donation on your own is special but making a donation as a family can be a memorable and cherished tradition. Did you know? Your gift can provide essential food items for an Australian family doing it tough this Christmas

6. Be generous with your time

Host a dinner with people in your community who might be separated from their families. Welcoming new migrants, travellers, or refugees into your home this Christmas is a great way to share the joy and connect with your neighbours. Being generous with our time and food is an easy way to spread love in the community.

You can provide Christmas lunch for a family of four by donating a plate to Mission Australia’s Christmas Lunch In The Park in Perth.

7. Show kindness and peace to others

Shopping for Christmas gifts can be a stressful time. Just think about the busy car parks and long lines. You can practice kindness to others this Christmas through small ways such as showing patience in the carpark or smiling at Christmas staff. Not only will this help you feel less stressed, but you’ll help share the Christmas joy with everyone you encounter.

We hope these ideas inspire Christmas giving beyond the usual gifts this year. Together, through small acts of kindness, we can make a difference.

1Michael J. Poulin, Stephanie L. Brown, Amanda J. Dillard, Dylan M. Smith, “Giving to Others and the Association Between Stress and Mortality”, American Journal of Public Health 103, no. 9 (September 1, 2013): pp. 1649-1655. 
2Whillans AV, Dunn EW, Sandstrom GM, Dickerson SS, Madden KM. Is spending money on others good for your heart? Health Psychol. 2016 Jun;35(6):574-83. doi: 10.1037/hea0000332. Epub 2016 Feb 11. PMID: 26867038.  

 

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