8 Easy Ways To Do Some Good This Christmas
From charitable gifts to donating a little bit of your time, here's how to spread the good cheer.
‘Tis the season of gift giving and if you’re in a place where you feel like you’d like to give a little something back this Christmas, there’s loads of simple ways to really make the difference to someone’s life over the holiday season.
Whether that’s by giving a donation or by gifting your time, here’s a few ideas to get you started.
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1. Give your time
You don’t need to have loads of cash to give back and actually, giving your time can be even more meaningful.
Whether you’ve got a spare afternoon or want to make a bigger commitment for the year ahead, here’s a few examples:
Crisis at Christmas needs 11,000 volunteers to help run homeless centres in London, Birminghan, Newcastle and Edinburgh over the holiday period. That includes helping serve meals and providing entertainment for those using the centres. Details here.
You could also offer up some time to support the elderly and more isolated members of your community over the holidays. Age UK is looking for telephone befrienders – all you need to do is sign up and they’ll match you with someone who’d appreciate a weekly 30 minute phone call. Info is here.
And if you want to know who needs a little help in your local area, Do-It have an awesome tool that will show you exactly what volunteering opportunities there are in your local area. Find that here.
2. Sponsor a room
Thousands of people face homelessness this winter and if you’re in the position to, you might want to consider making a donation to organisations that are supporting those affected with practical support that ranges from hot meals and shelter to life skills to help those who are homeless find jobs and permanent places to live. Here’s just two of many examples you might want to put a little more research into:
For just 40p a day or £12 a month, you can sponsor a room at Centrepoint for a young person. This will provide them with a warm and safe space they can stay in for up to two years, support them with counselling and practical advice to rebuild their confidence, give them skills training to find and keep a job and teach them important life skills like cooking and managing their money. Find info here.
For £26.06 you can reserve a place for someone at Crisis at Christmas, which will provide them hot and nutritious dinners, advice on getting back on track, healthcare screenings, dental treatment, an eye test and glasses if they need them, hairdressing, leaning and skills opportunities and accommodation if they need it. Info right here.
3. Donate to a foodbank
13 million people live below the poverty line in the UK, with individuals and families going hungry every single day for a multitude of reasons including delays or cuts to benefits and unexpected bills coming in when you’re already on a low income.
To help support those in need, foodbanks all over the country offer emergency supplies for those in crisis. These run solely on donations from members of the community, so if you’re able to, you might want to consider donating non-perishables (that’s things like tins and long-life products) to your local donation point. These will then be divvied up and given to those in need.
Find your local foodbank or donation point here or you can download the Foodbank app, which is a great way to find out exactly what types of food are most needed by your local foodbank. If you will find it hard to get down to a donation point in person, the app also offers a JustGiving function so you can donate money to fund foodbanks buying supplies they need.
And don’t forget that with period poverty at an all time high, it can be really useful to include sanitary products in your donations! Just make sure to check that your foodbank will accept them before donating.
4. Give the gift of reading
Christmas can be especially tough for children in care, so why not send them a surprise gift through the letterbox? This year the BookTrust’s Letterbox Club is aiming to send all 9.700 children in care in the UK a book of their own through the post to unwrap this Christmas. Each book will match the age of the child plus a festive poster and postcard. £10 will send one book to one child, so you can easily tailor how much you choose to give!
More info here.
5. Give charitable gifts
Instead of buying the person who already has everything something throwaway or dare we say a little bit meaningless this Christmas, you might want to consider buying a charity gift in their name instead.
Most charities offer options to do this, but a few options to give you an idea:
Fund winter clothes for a child - £11 from Save The Children’s Virtual Gifts.
Feed a family affected by natural disaster - £8 from Oxfam’s Unwrapped.
Buy necessities for women and children spending Christmas in a refuge – from £5 in Refuge’s Christmas Gifting.
Buy a Christmas dinner for a homeless young person - £10 from Centrepoint’s Buy A Gift scheme.
Fund a hygiene kit for those still being affected by the hurricane damage in Haiti - £28 from PresentAid here.
Pay for a toilet for a family who don’t have one - £54 from Water Aid’s Shop For Life.
Support a young carer to put a bit of magic back into their Christmas - £15 from Banardo’s here.
6. Support somebody’s healthcare needs
There are loads of charities out there that support people through the unimaginable difficulties that can come with illness. Definitely do your research first to find out where your money is going, but here are a few examples to get you started:
Pay for an hour of care from a Macmillan nurse, who will prove medical care, emotional support and reassurance for both those facing cancer and their families - £20 from Macmillan’s Virtual Gifts.
Give the gift of a birthing kit to help a birth attendant bring babies from the communities into the world safely and healthily - £10 from The Impact Shop.
Pay for Polio vaccines to protect 100 children - £14.50 from Unicef’s Market.
It’s also worth considering giving blood. Donations are much-needed all year round to help those undergoing vital medical treatment. Plus it's free to do, so find out how to get involved right here.
7. Spare a thought for your four legged friends
If you’re an animal lover then you might also want to consider using the season of giving to give back to the animals who aren’t as lucky as your dog or cat.
Investigate your local animal shelter and see if they need donations of any kind to help give their charges a nice Christmas. Battersea Dogs and Cats Home have a useful list of things they always require here to give you an idea AND they even include toy and blanket knitting patterns if you’re handy with a knitting needle.
You can also consider donating to sponsor animal welfare for endangered species and their habitats – check out places like the WWF for more info.
8. Buy charity Christmas cards
Hey, it’s a simple one but every little bit counts and if you’re intending to send Christmas cards anyway, why not buy some that also support some awesome charities?
You can find them in pretty much any high street charity shop OR if you’re lazy like us, Cards For Good Causes has brought together cards from 25 awesome charities into one simple online shop. Find them here.