Calendar of Goodwill

Christmas boxes for the homeless

Every year, for the past seven years, we have undertaken what we call a ‘Calendar of Goodwill’ through the month of December. The idea is that during this busy festive period we shift focus from receiving, to giving. We consider our cosy home with radiators and fresh linen, and take a moment to think of those who have nothing more than a sheet of cardboard and the clothes on their back. We notice the people who have helped us through the course of the year but can often go a little under the radar. We spare a thought for the animals who through no fault of their own are without a place to call home in these cold winter months. IKEA bag full of donations for charity

I think becoming parents has really brought home to us that Christmas can be magical, and we always want our boys to enjoy the season, but that this time of year can become indulgent too. We want to ensure that whilst we have plenty of fun, we are being thoughtful to the community that we live in, and that our boys are a part of that. So the Calendar of Goodwill was born and each year we treat it like a type of advent calendar.

Donations for the Christmas boxes

The idea is really simple. Choose 24 little acts of kindness that you can do throughout the month to share some happiness. Aim to complete one a day, and if you can do more, even better. Ideally we think it’s great to choose your tasks as a family, but to get you started I have noted some below. My boys have had a lot of input with these too, and we hope that the suggestions inspire you!

If you take part in this alternative advent calendar, we’d love to know what you do. Please comment below or drop me a line 🙂

Little acts of kindness
  1. Make a shoebox filled with goodies and pass it to a local homeless shelter or charity.
  2. Send a thank you card to your GP for taking care of you through the year.
  3. Take presents into hospital to be given to those who are without family.
  4. Pop some money in a vending machine (you may choose to add a little sticky note saying – next one’s on us!)
  5. Give flowers to a relative.
  6. Leave a Christmas card on your doorstep for your postman.
  7. Make mince pies for your neighbours.
  8. Leave a book in a café with a note that it’s a present for whoever finds it.
  9. Draw happy pictures for your friends.
  10. Donate good quality toys and clothes to charity.
  11. Take food and blankets to an animal shelter.
  12. Smile at someone.
  13. Run an errand for a family member, friend or neighbour.
  14. Give the office staff at your school a tin of biscuits.
  15. Handmake Christmas decorations (like these) together and give them to a retirement home.
  16. Make a meal for someone who could do with a break.
  17. Leave a kind note in a library book.
  18. Send a friend a gift (such as a buddy box) by post.
  19. Feed the local wildlife and leave out fresh water.
  20. Order a cup of tea or coffee at a small independent café and leave a generous tip.
  21. Read a story book to someone.
  22. Donate food to a soup kitchen.
  23. Dry the play equipment at the park with a towel after it rains, whether you’re making use of it or not.
  24. Donate colouring books and crayons to local families in need.
  25. Write a happy chalk message on your driveway.
  26. Take a selection box of chocolates into the bus station.
  27. Buy a hot drink for someone working outside.
  28. Donate new books to your school.
  29. Donate new books to your doctors’ surgery for the waiting room.
  30. Volunteer your time.


29th November 2017


This is a lovely idea and I wish I’d seen it earlier, it has inspired me to plan ahead to be thankful next year and be generous to others #blogstravaganza

I’m glad it’s inspired you 🙂 never too late to start though!

Such a wonderful thing to do in the spirit of Christmas #Blogstravaganza

Thank you! We really enjoy it 🙂

It’s so important to donate and re-purpose things. Lovely post! <3

Thank you! Yes, I agree 🙂

Love this idea. Great post!!!

How lovely. I think it’s great to make that connection at any age, but nice to encourage children to get involved too. I’d love to know how you get on with any of the suggestions! X

What a great idea. Lovely thoughts. December is so self-indulgent. Last year at work we did a box of things for the local homeless charity. There were some of the service users there when I took the box down. It was a lovely experience, they genuinely were grateful. Love this idea. Will do some x

Thank you. Yes, it feels so important to shift focus away from the lists and the hurried trips for luxury items when others are not so fortunate. Our boys have especially enjoyed putting together the shoe boxes this year and thinking about what people might need as well as what they might like. It’s nice to find that balance with them.

Nicole - Tales from Mamaville

SUPERB idea Jo! Love this post. With the commercialisation of Christmas, and little children making long lists for Santa, this is a breath of fresh air. We need to realise Christmas is as much about giving and helping than about receiving.

Thank you! That’s exactly it. It’s so easy to make lists and daydream about what Santa might bring and what we’re going to eat. We really feel that it’s important to get some balance and love that our boys are engaged with making little acts of goodwill throughout the festive season x

This is such a great idea. I love the idea of giving to others this time of year.

Thank you so much 🙂 x

That’s such a lovely idea! And great job on getting your kids involved. It’s so nice to be able to teach them about the Christmas spirit 🙂

Thank you! Yes, it feels important to bring a little balance to our festivities x

Yes to this, it’s the small things that can really mean the most especially during this Christmas period when a lot of people in need of help in whatever way you can X #l#Blogstravaganza

I agree 🙂 x

I love, love, love this Jo! It’s definitely something we’ll be doing with our girls. I love the suggestion from Emma about dropping treats into a local station. I know how hard my other half works for the NHS at this time of year, so treating them is definitely a fab idea! Thanks so much for sharing with #Blogstravaganza xx

Thank you 🙂 I really feel it’s important to remember the people around us and spread some festive cheer. I realised that we have an ambulance station near us so we will be adding that to our list xx

Popping back from #blogstravaganza ….today we dropped a fave book at the train station for someone to read on their journey with a note!!

How lovely! It would make my day to find a new book to read, I’m sure whoever finds it will love it 🙂

You and the boys have been very thorough in your lovely suggestions. I can only think of one extra act of kindness, have video chats with people who are unable to get out and about easily.

That’s a lovely idea too. It feels very important to make sure that joy is spread to all during the festive season 🙂 x

Great ideas! My little effort has been to support a friend who has had a multiple heart bypass operation. Last Friday I took him out for a tea and cake at a local nature reserve. Maybe someone near you, who can’t drive or walk very far, would appreciate some time.
I like the Christmas card for the postman. All weathers – hot, cold, wet, windy, he (sometimes she) turns up regularly every morning.
Well done to the boys for adding their ideas. Nice one!
Grandpa xxx

How lovely. I think anything, big or small, can make all the difference. I hope your friend has a speedy recovery xx

What a lovely idea!
A few extra ideas:
– Buy a suspended coffee. You can find some of the participating coffee shops here:
– Drop a thank you card to your vets to recognise their help looking after your fur family during the year
– Pop into your local emergency services station with some treats – these are always very much appreciated!
– Leave some flowers and a happy note on a bench in the local park for somebody to find
Have fun working through your acts of kindness next month (can’t quite believe that December starts on Friday!)
Em xx

What lovely ideas, thank you. I can’t believe it’s almost December either! Xx

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