Tis the season of giving

Ladies and gents, the year has flown by once again and we’re now in the midst of chilly December which can only mean one thing . . . I’M ALLOWED TO TALK ABOUT CHRISTMAS!  That’s right guys, we have the official seal of approval to eat mince pies and belt out Mariah Carey, ALL DAY!  Friggin hallelujah!   As you can tell, I really get into the spirit of the season and we all know that the best thing about Christmas is mulled wine . . . oh wait, no, I mean. . .  is having time to appreciate your friends and family.  Of course, there are many other elements of the season that I love but spending time with my loved ones is by far the best bit.   However, it’s really easy to get swept up in the sparkle of the season and forget those who aren’t as fortunate.   Furthermore, I recently read a survey that discovered that almost half of us are cutting charity giving this Christmas in order to cut costs.  As sad as this is, I completely understand that money is tighter than ever, especially in an incredibly expensive season.  However, there are 62,000 social enterprise businesses in the UK that sell products which contribute to charities, as well as numerous volunteer schemes.  It’s never been easier to do something good this season so why not try my top nine suggestions for the season of giving.

  1. A Letter from Santa, NSPCC

For £5 each, you can send a personalised letter from Santa to your nearest and dearest.  All proceeds go to the NSPCC and you can pick from several enchanting stories and illustrations, making your letter completely your own.

  1. Charity Christmas cards

If you’re going to buy Christmas Cards, why not get some which make a contribution to charity.  That way you’re killing two birds with one stone, you have your Christmas cards and you’ve donated to a good cause.  Plus, they look great too.

  1. Christmas Present appeal, Salvation Army

The clever people at the Salvation Army are responsible for setting up the Christmas Present Appeal.  They believe every child, family, OAP and homeless person has the right to open a present on Christmas Day so they are collecting unwrapped presents until mid December and will give them to those less fortunate for Christmas.  So, if you notice any cheap toys, books or CDs on your next shopping trip, why not spend a couple of pounds and make someone very happy this Christmas.

  1. Christmas Jumper Day

The idea is simple, on December 16th wear your best Christmas jumper and you can raise awareness for Save the Children and fundraise some money too.   Genius!  Surely this is the most fun and fashionable way to raise awareness?  Put a jumper on a get festive!

  1. Charity carol concerts

From Great Ormond’s Street Hospital, Asthma UK, Macmillan Nurses and the NSPCC, there are hundreds of charity carol concerts to pick from in the UK this year!  If you’re a fan of carolling around a tree with a mince pie in hand then this is definitely something to keep an eye out for.

  1. Give to your neighbour

Ok, this one isn’t anything to do with charity but why not make a few extra gingerbread men this Christmas and give them to your neighbour?  It’s only a small present but it’s still a really sweet gesture.

  1. Food banks

Ok, no shame, we all do it.  We all buy enough food to feed five thousand at Christmas.    It can’t be helped, there are just so many yummy treats to look at and then bang you’ve spent £50 on mince pies!  However, if you don’t want to eat everything and end up swearing at the scales in January (it happens) a better alternative might be to donate a couple of items to your nearest food bank.  Or if you prefer to keep all your food (because hey it’s winter and we need to stock up for hibernation) then you can also volunteer and help at some food banks in a number of roles.

  1. Give blood

I really wasn’t aware that this was an issue but apparently over 24, 000 appointments are missed in the UK during the festive season.  I wasn’t shocked as we all know how busy Christmas can get but, as someone who donates blood regularly, I also know that blood donation isn’t taxing at all. I’m sure if we put our mind to it, we could find a spare hour in December to save a life.  Go on, you even get free snacks!

  1. Volunteer for the homeless

Another great way to volunteer your time this Christmas is to spend some time with charities helping the homeless like Crisis.org.uk.  Every year they look for a myriad of volunteers including health care professionals, hairdressers, performers and even good listeners, to support the homeless.  There’s a place for everybody to lend a hand so check out their website for more information.

So eat, drink, be merry, remember to leave a carrot out for rudolph and spread a little joy this Christmas.

Happy holidays everybody!



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