Make an old lady very happy…

I’ve had some great messages of support via text, email, Facebook, Twitter and on here too. I’ve also had some suggestions for things to do. So if you’re looking for inspiration to do one good thing, here are a few ideas from this wonderful printable Random Acts of Christmas Kindness advent calendar which was sent to me by my lovely friend Dallas at Skilled With Kids.

Tape change to a vending machine

Pay for a stranger’s coffee

Donate books to the library or hospital

Give treats to the postman

There are also some fantastic ideas from the Karma Army in this book.  From leaving a sweetie on each seat in the cinema and giving someone on their way home bacon and eggs for the morning after, to buying toys for a maternity ward and telling staff to give them to whoever needs them… the book is full of personal stories and snippets and have given me some great ideas to keep up the momentum for the rest of the month. In fact I’m using one of their ideas today – but I need your help!

First a bit of background. When my mum and Dad first got divorced we moved into a tiny house in a not-so-salubrious part of town. It wasn’t a great house – the front door opened straight into the living room and the always-freezing-cold bathroom was off the kitchen. Me and my brother had to share a room and there was no garden – just a back yard we shared with our next door neighbor, Jessie.

Jessie was an elderly lady who was probably the happiest, friendliest person I have ever met. She had a bright yellow front door  to match her sunny disposition and a kick-ass rocking chair. Me and my brother loved spending time at her house (and fighting over that rocking chair). I assumed Jessie had passed on a while ago, as to my eight year old self she seemed very, very old. But I recently learned she is still alive and well – and best of all I managed to get her current address, so today for my one good thing I’m sending her a Christmas card this year. But that’s not all. I would really, really love it if she got a pile of cards from people all over the world (i.e. you lot) to simply wish her a Merry Christmas. She really is a lovely lady and I just know it would make her Christmas. I don’t want to put her address on here, but if you send me your details (or leave them in the comments), I will forward them to you and in return I will happily send a card to someone you want to wish a really, really special Christmas to too.

So let’s make an old lady very happy. And Jessie too. Thanks in advance.

It’ll be lonely this Christmas…

NYC Christmas tree home

Taking home the tree

Today has been a day all about one thing – Christmas. This morning we picked out our tree and schlepped it home (New York Style), we wrapped gifts listening to the Salvation Army playlist, and we wrote cards for friends and family back in the UK. It was cold and wet, so it was the perfect afternoon for it. I was only missing one thing – the mince pies.

I know that Christmas cards are becoming obsolete. In fact I read something today that said 2014 is the year the Christmas Card died. One of my best friends has decided to use the money she would have spent on cards to donate to a  charity close to her heart instead, which is a fantastic idea.

I was thinking about a few certain people back home who I really need to write to, and it got me thinking – there are plenty of people who don’t receive cards or gifts and would love to receive something in the mail – especially at this time of year. So I had a look online and found a wonderful organisation called The Forgotten Ones Card Exchange for the Elderly.

Here’s what they have to say:

The Forgotten Ones: International Card Exchange for the Elderly
Walk into any nursing home today, and you’ll see them: The aging lonely. They are easily recognizable. Look for the sadness on their faces, the pain in their eyes. With a television on for company, these men and women sit alone in their rooms. Their shelves are bare, their bulletin boards void of pictures, cards, or any memento denoting love from the outside. Those sad eyes may even hold a twinge of bitterness, asking, “Why am I still here with no one to love me?” by Karrie Osborn 

So I added a few addresses to my card list. I’m sending cards to residents in need of cheer at nursing homes, rehab centers, and hospices – from as close as a few blocks away in Harlem to as far as Nairobi and Australia. I chose a few places close to our hearts too – such as Manchester (where my husband’s from) and Edinburgh (where we got married). I sent a few pictures my son had painted/drawn to add a personal touch, and also included a stamped, addressed envelope in case anyone wanted to reply.

Card Exchange for the Elderly Cards

This is definitely a Christmas tradition I will be keeping. I’m already looking forward to next year. What about you? Do you have a few spare cards? If so, don’t put them away for next year, send them to someone who will really, really appreciate the effort and bring a smile to someone’s face.

Got any comments or suggestions? I’d love to hear what you are doing. Get involved below.