Christmas is becoming increasingly commercialised, but it’s also a time where people really do think of the kindnesses that they can pay forward. As such, I’ve been writing charity gift guides since 2014 (which have also helped me buy meaningful presents for those friends and family who are notoriously hard to buy for as well…) as well as supporting great small businesses who are making a difference in the world.
Blogger gift guides are pretty well established now, but as ever I couldn’t just do a normal one – it needed a slightly Adventures of a London Kiwi twist (I even spotted a couple of little sheep fellows – hey, you can take the blogger out of New Zealand…)
All of these quirky gifts are usually sent to the recipient in a glossy card or can be printed out and added to a batch of homebaked biscuits – perfect as something for those people who have everything they could ever want. Forget sickly smelling bath sets where half the products are thrown away, and ugly tie that is only trotted out on special occasions; how about buying a chicken for a suffering family and share the feel-good donation afterglow?
A few quick ideas could be;
How about a chicken, guv? – Oxfam
The money spent on Oxfam Unwrapped gifts will help to support the full range of Oxfam’s work around the world, from emergency responses to advocacy projects. Every year, Oxfam’s programme teams work out what the communities they work in need the most and it’s these must-have items that get featured in their gift catalogue.
Whether you buy a food basket or a football, each Wishlist gift helps change the lives of children across the world. Goats (or even better two), water filters, art sets, winter clothes or even tree saplings – they all make a difference.
Whatever you can afford to give – non-perishables are usually best as the food banks can hold onto them as long as needed without having to refrigerate.
Take Pandas for example – they’re insanely cute, gentle giants (unless you happen to be a bamboo plant) and incredibly under threat. Not only do all WWF profits go to fund the care and protection of your chosen wild animal, but your giftee also gets their own ‘adoption’ papers AND a cuddly plush toy version too. (You can tell why this has to be on my charity gift guide every year, can’t you?)
Like foodbanks but with hygiene essentials instead.
For more than 65 years, Unicef has been a leader in providing life-saving help for children caught in emergencies around the world. Their emergency relief effort complements our development work that helps children to survive and stay healthy, go to school, to have a voice on matters that affect them, and protect them from abuse and exploitation. All the more reason to include them in my charity gift guide.
Christmas E-cards or gift boxes – Centerpoint
Christmas e-cards are a quick, easy and environmentally friendly way to send your festive wishes to friends and family – while helping young people escape homelessness at the same time.
Centrepoint’s mission is tackling youth homelessness and providing young people with a real opportunity to achieve independence. You can donate a meal, a gift box or Christmas e-cards, all quick, easy and environmentally friendly ways to send your festive wishes to friends and family whilst simultaneously helping young people escape homelessness at the same time.
Each Christian Aid gift bought will help Christian Aid transform the lives of people in poor communities around the world – helping families in countries such as Ethiopia, Haiti, Bangladesh and many more places in need of support.
Think of it this way – it can be as little as the cost of a mulled wine or two in the most lavish season of the year – and anything that you can spare can go a long way in a small charity, or to a struggling family with barely enough to eat, let alone gifts to give their children.
And anything on this charity gift guide doesn’t appeal, you could always donate in other ways; via a blood bank, spend an afternoon with lonely elderly neighbours or buy someone needy a coffee. Have you any extra ideas as well? Is there a charity or cause close to your heart?
** None of these charities know I’m touting them about!