We recently wrote a blog post about how to bring more meaning and joy to the festive period – from hand-making your decorations to volunteering at a homeless shelter. And another way of enjoying a more meaningful Christmas is swap your gift ideas for a donation to charity!
The festive period isn’t always one of happiness and joy and, by helping someone in need, you will not only spread goodwill to all men (…women, children, animals, the environment…), but your gift will make a HUGE difference to their lives. The ultimate feel-good for both you and your lucky recipient!
And, instead of donating an ‘amount’, we LOVE the idea of buying something more specific (for example, adopting an animal in the recipient’s name), so they can see exactly how the gift has made a difference. (This idea, coincidentally, was behind our very own charity advent calendar, which tells you exactly what each donation will go towards!)
But enough about us…Here are 8 wonderful alternative gifts that give back – created with the help of a selection of our amazing charities!
1. Help someone to start their own business
Earn yourself a spot on Santa’s ‘Nice’ list by enabling someone living in poverty to start their own business – helping to support their family and the local community. And this amazing gift comes on a stocking-filler budget! Shivia suggests: “We think a really meaningful thing to do this Christmas would be to buy a life-changing poultry toolkit as a stocking filler. How about a £15 toolkit certificate which would change the life of a very poor family in West Bengal by enabling them to start a poultry enterprise, send their children to school and better feed their families.”
2. Give the gift of life
Yes, really! Did you know that you can purchase a birth certificate for a street child? Toybox say: “Bring more meaning to Christmas this year and give the gift of life! Without a birth certificate, street children are essentially invisible, and cannot access some of the basic rights that we take for granted such as education, healthcare and even just a birthday to celebrate. A birth certificate can be purchased directly from our Toybox website.”
3. Adopt an endangered animal
Supporting an endangered animal will be a Christmas present that lasts all-year round! One such example is the mountain gorilla, with just 1,000 left in the wild. The Gorilla Organization say: “If you’re looking for a meaningful Christmas gift, you can adopt one of the last remaining mountain gorillas in the wild and help fight for their survival! For just £3 a month, you can adopt a gorilla in Uganda – this is a fun, affordable, educational gift that focuses on more meaning and less waste. With your adoption, you receive a gorilla cuddly toy or t-shirt, information and news updates about your gorilla and a certificate with your name on it – the perfect gift for Christmas!”
4. Give a gift to someone who otherwise wouldn’t receive one
Christmas is undoubtedly a time of excess, with many meaningless gifts passed back and forth – but there are some people who won’t receive anything at all. 52 Lives suggest: “For a more meaningful Christmas this year, why not forgo the endless Secret Santa £5 novelty gifts, and buy a gift for someone who really needs it instead? We set up wish-lists every Christmas so our supporters can buy gifts for 1,000 people who otherwise wouldn’t receive anything!”
5. Help a family feel at home
For families escaping domestic abuse, spending Christmas away from home can be an especially upsetting time. The Pathway Project says: “Why not donate a present to your local women’s refuge and help to make a family’s Christmas away from home be the best that it can be?” This could be clothing, toiletries, toys and games for women and children who will be spending Christmas in a Pathway Project refuge.
6. Nurture a love of sport
If your gift recipient is passionate about sport, then this one is for them! Lord’s Taverners suggest: “Give the gift of Sports kit this Christmas to deprived communities all over the world. Our kit recycling programme equips UK clubs and developing nations with high-quality kit donated by manufacturers, clubs and members of the public. Recycling unwanted kit helps communities increase participation among young people while reducing the build-up of kit in landfill sites”.
7. Help a ‘sister’ rebuild her life
Women for Women International suggest: “Give a gift that changes a life! This Christmas, give something unforgettable and change the life of a woman survivor of war. For £264 you can sponsor a woman with Women for Women International, in honour of someone special to you. Over the course of a year, your loved one will be able to share messages of support with their new ‘sister’, as she learns the skills to rebuild her life. Learn more via our website.”
8. Give a gift that lasts all year round
If you’re looking for a gift that your lucky recipient can enjoy all year round, then our World Changer Calendar 2020 might just be the perfect choice! The kindest wall calendar in the world not only supports 12 charities, but also challenges the recipient to take on a monthly mission related to each charity, giving them that amazing feel-good factor all year round! It’s a brilliant way of adding a little extra kindness, sustainability or well-being to everyday life (if we do say so ourselves!).
Bonus tip: And if you just can’t tear yourself away from online shopping, did you know that you can donate as you shop? Just One Ocean say: “For a more meaningful Christmas this year, use Amazon Smile for your online shopping. A proportion of your spend is donated to charity – including Just One
Will you be buying an alternative gift this year? Let us know on social media using #AdventOfChange!