In Handy 08:05 28 Dec 2022

Gifts to strangers: 25 ideas on how to please those who need little miracles

You don't have to gift any material things. Sometimes our time and attention will say more than usual gifts. Besides, you can make strangers happy by spreading kindness and support, which Ukrainians need today.

What is the problem?

Christmas and New Year are just around the corner, and we can already feel them in the air, even during the war. This year, we can celebrate New Year's holidays and gather in the family circle near the Christmas tree, primarily thanks to our military, volunteers, energy workers, rescuers, doctors, and utility workers. We should not forget that this year not all families will be able to gather together to celebrate the beginning of the new year with hope for peace and a better future. 

What is the solution?

New Year's holidays are about love, family, kindness, and giving. And, probably, you have already thought of what to give to your loved ones to show them your love and care.

So why not spend some more time thanking and helping those who also need a holiday?  

We have compiled a list of 25 easy ways to spread the true spirit of the New Year holidays and share the warmth you have at home with others. Get inspired, turn on, and connect to create these beautiful gifts for loved ones, relatives, and children. Tell your friends and followers on social media about them. Not all of our list items can be physically touched. In addition, it is likely that, in many cases, you will never find out who exactly received your gifts. But, believe us, each of them will already make the world around us a little better and brighter today.

How does it work?

Gifts for children

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1. Give children books. There are various options here; we talked about one of them here. But there are other ways. You can initiate assistance to bookstores in front-line cities. A-BA-BA-GA-LA-MA-GA publishing house recently told a touching story: they received a call from Nikopol, a town in the Zaporizhzhia region that suffers from russian shelling every day. "I want to order some books for the store. We have practically no children left, but at least a couple of books for the holiday window…" After that, the publishing house began to receive orders from people from all over the country — but people bought books not for themselves but for the children of Nikopol. 

Find out which cities and bookstores need books and pieces of Christmas wonder for children, and order books from Ukrainian publishing houses.

2. Arrange reading books for children. Offer to read books aloud in your child's classroom. Or contact your local bookstore to see if you can host a read-aloud in the children's section. If possible, choose a book with Christmas stories or fairy tales.

3. Many children will welcome the New Year in the hospital. Bring balloons, garlands, cards, and gifts to the children's ward of the local hospital. You won't be able to give the children the presents themselves due to security measures, but you can ask the medical staff to hand them out or ask permission from the parents who are with the children at the time. Your little gifts and kind words can help make hospital holidays memorable for little patients

Gifts for displaced people and the elderly

4. Many displaced people still live in shelters, dormitories, and kindergartens. Bring them or donate a small Christmas tree with decorations, toys, drawing sets, puzzles, and books for children through charity organizations. Such small gifts can create a sense of celebration for those unable to celebrate the holidays at home. And also, they will let people understand that they have not been forgotten and are cared for. This is a powerful feeling, especially during the holiday season.

5. Organize a board game tournament for the shelter's residents or an evening tea party. Be with them and listen to their stories. Joke and grieve together. Give people who have lost everything a sense of family and home.

6. Combine several familiar families and "adopt" a home for the elderly.  Together, purchase simple gifts for each resident (hand cream, socks, flashlights, etc.) and agree on a delivery time for the presents. The house residents will be delighted to receive such New Year's surprises because often they do not have anyone who could please them like this. If you can arrange a personal meeting with the residents, spend time with them, and listen to their stories, do it. Seniors must have this kind of attention and support.

7. Go to the supermarket with the whole family and buy a few items of food to put in the charity basket/shelves for those in need, which are now available in almost all large stores. Add something festive to long-term storage products — fruit, candies, cider, and cream cookies.

8. Sort your wardrobe, shoes, and children's clothes, and take the good things you no longer need to the humanitarian aid collection point. Make sure your clothes are in good condition. For someone, your items can become a real gift.

9. And if you are creative and have friends alike, go to a shelter or geriatric boarding house with carols, a New Year's play, or a mini-concert. Such a manifestation of care will warm and be remembered by residents for a long time!

Gifts for those helping Ukraine to endure

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10. Order pizza or other food for Christmas for the employees of the fire station, police station, or hospital. They help us deal with the consequences of war and beyond every day. And you can also bring coffee to a road worker, a police officer, or someone who works on the street. After all, even in the cold, they often do not have the opportunity to leave their workplace for a hot drink. What could be better than an unexpected pleasant surprise? Such a small gesture of gratitude is the least we can do for them.

11. If you can, take a few liters of gas to the coffee shop where you run to when the lights go out in your neighborhood, to the Point of Invincibility at the nearest school, to a small convenience store that operates during outages with a generator and allows locals to charge it has phones, etc. They support us when we need help, so thanking them like this will make them happy.

12. Not all heroes wear cloaks. Remember those who maintained your building this year, who, despite the blackout, came to your nineteenth floor to fix the leaking faucet and were just there for you. Give a New Year's card, chocolate, or a couple of apples or tangerines to the concierge, janitor, electrician, or plumber who services your home. They will be pleased that you remembered them during the holidays.

13. Remember also to congratulate the workers of the nearest Ukrposhta, Rozetka, Nova Poshta, and Epicenter branches on the upcoming holidays. It is these services and businesses that, after the russian attacks, helped thousands of Ukrainians stay connected and charge their gadgets and phones for free. Simple words of thanks and good wishes go a long way!

Gifts for volunteers and defenders

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14. Send Christmas cards to defenders. You don't have to buy them, but you can draw and sign them with the children. We know that the bright crafts of small Ukrainians will make the location and dugouts a little warmer. Or maybe a picture of your child will become a talisman for one of the defenders.

15. You can also go to the official pages of units and brigades and write a few words of thanks and congratulations on the upcoming holidays to our defenders.

16. Many of our defenders are currently in hospitals due to injuries. You can also make them happy on the eve of the holidays; for example, prepare food for them as a whole family. Of course, now no one goes hungry in hospitals, but meals "like at mom's and grandma's" will become a little more than just food for the military.

17. Become a donor and donate blood for the wounded. Find out in advance the rules of blood collection and find a donor point to help save the health and lives of the defenders of Ukraine in a matter of minutes. Your blood can save civilians too. Today Ukraine needs donors more than ever.

18. Do you know the place where our tireless women weave camouflage nets, make trench candles, and pack warm things for the front? Bring them cookies, coffee, or tea; if there is no light now, then a thermos with boiling water. And if you baked the cookies by yourself, it will add an even more good mood. Let them get warmer.

19. Another effective way is to please defenders, volunteers, medics, and rescuers. Purchase a pending cake or hot drink in your favorite coffee shop. This way, you will support both our heroes and Ukrainian businesses.

Gifts for neighbors

20. Decorate the bulletin board at the entrance and post greetings for your neighbors on it. You can even create a common board of greetings where everyone can write wishes for the New Year. You can make people happy with a simple word, so you should take advantage of this opportunity.

21. And you can also make and place a jar with wishes in the shared space of the building. So every willing neighbor can take a piece of paper from it with a New Year's wish. Remember to make sure that all these wishes are good, and let them come true!

22. We still need to cover the topic of goodies. After all, it's easy to please your neighbors with homemade delicacies! For example, you can bake Christmas gingerbread cookies with your children and treat your neighbors on your floor. The recipe for the cookies is here (as well as ideas for environmentally friendly decorations). You can decorate your home with them and the space you share with your neighbors. 

23. Practical "gifts" are also meaningful. Today, in many elevators of high-rise buildings, people leave "rescue boxes." We already wrote about them here. If you don't have one in the elevator of your building, it's time to start creating one. 

24. Do you have an unnecessary rug? Put it on the front porch, so the steps leading to the porch weren't so slippery. Maybe you have pots with plants that don't have enough space at home? You can leave them at the entrance and take care of them there, making the space you share with your neighbors greener and more pleasing to the eye. Think about what other small things could make your entrance more comfortable and pleasant, and it may turn out that you are just the person who can easily share them!

Even more helpful solutions!

Small gifts for strangers

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Giving warmth is easy. Even the slightest help — with heavy bags from the supermarket that a neighbor carries to the second-to-last floor, or a photo for strangers who want to take a group photo, or ten minutes of cleaning up litter in a local square or park — makes the world around a little bit kinder. These are all small gifts we can give each other every day, but they are vital now, during the holiday season when not everyone has loved ones to share them with. 

Even in darkness, there is a place of light and holiness. Let's be generators of light for each other. 

This article was created by the Rubryka online publication within the Ukraine Rapid Response Fund program, implemented by IREX with the support of the US State Department. The content is the sole responsibility of the Rubryka online publication and does not necessarily reflect the views of IREX or the US State Department.


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