As much as I love Christmas and get sucked in to all the commercialised sparkly festiveness, getting older definitely means wanting to give more. This year more than ever (despite it still only being November) I’ve noticed so many ways advertised for us all to make Christmas better for those less fortunate. Since it is the season of goodwill and all that, I think everyone should get involved. These are my favourites:
1) Giving Trees
I’ve seen a couple of these now in supermarkets and shopping centres. They’re small christmas trees with handwritten paper notes attached from children, requesting one thing they would like for christmas. These are children who likely will get very little or nothing at all for Christmas and the gifts are all quite practical- shoes, clothes, school equipment. The idea is you take a note, buy a gift and hand it in (the tree should have instructions, trees are clever) and it makes it way to the child who requested it.
This has been going for several years now thanks to Save The Children, but it’s now linked up with several charities through ITV, including Macmillan and Make A Wish. If you work in an office this is a particularly easy way to raise some money- just wear your festive jumpers to work on December 18th and do a collection. It’s also the best day of the year to commute on the tube because SO MUCH CHRISTMAS EVERYWHERE.
I remember doing this at school. Basically, just wrap up a christmas present and donate it to the appeal. We used to fill shoe boxes with little gifts and practical things and this is still the idea. Give whatever you can and it will make it’s way to someone who needs it. It’s not just for children either, presents are needed for older people, homeless people and families.
Not just for Christmas, but Matalan are currently selling alphabet scarves and profits go to the Alder Hey Children’s Hospital charity, which provides vital funds to help the 270,000 patients it sees a year. They’re pretty adorable, and would make ideal gifts for Christmas.
Crisis is a homelessness charity and by volunteering for their Christmas campaign, you take part in events that give those who have nowhere to go something to enjoy at Christmas. Giving up a few hours of time can make a long lasting difference. This appeal is running all over the country and there are several ways to get involved.
Let’s all be a little more thoughtful this December.