Christmas gift lists can be really helpful, can’t they? They provide genuine inspiration for tricky-to-buy-for family members, and it’s also quite fun to just browse the products our favourite bloggers and publications recommend. But, there is something to be said for reigning back on this ‘consumerism’ thing a little isn’t there? (I say that fully acknowledging that I will write a Christmas gift list this month, by the way. I’m not shooting down buying actual presents for people, or meaning to be so sanctimonious!).
The reason behind that is this: I think there might be a better way to use my pay packet in the run up to Christmas. A way that makes good use of the money I’m earning, and actually makes a little bit of difference to the world. That way is making donations to charity in the name of people I would otherwise just buy presents for. It’s not a new idea, I know, and I’m not suggesting that we all transform into a bunch of Mother Theresas overnight. But, ’tis the season of giving and all that, and I think it’s worth writing a post on the ways you can give to charity this year in place of giving presents.
Giving to charity might help people who are far less fortunate than the majority of us are, and I also like to think that my loved ones would happily forgo unwrapping a present if they know they’ve done a good thing for someone else! So, if you’re prepared to consider giving to charity this Christmas, do so by donating an amount in the name of your loved ones. Here are a handful of charities you might want to choose from…
The Brain Tumour Charity
The Brain Tumour Charity is a charity that’s close to Lee’s heart, and by association, mine too. Brain tumours only get 0.52% of the total spend on cancer research, but like any form of cancer, the effects on those suffering and their loved ones are ginormous. The Brain Tumour Charity funds research into understanding, diagnosing and managing brain tumours, and they also offer services for individuals diagnosed with them too. They provide support groups and for family members, and put those affected in touch with other people in similar situations via Facebook groups as well.
Medicins Sans Frontieres:
Medicins Sans Frontieres are a charity who are really helping refugees this year, delivering medical care to people who are in most need of it. These guys travel to war zones and crisis areas, dealing with the kinds of things we’re lucky to not even be able to imagine.
Given how much I love writing (and reading) about homes and interiors, it makes sense that Shelter are a charity I really respect. I think we take our homes for granted, not realising how lucky we are to know we’ll be getting in from the cold every night, flicking on the lights with a steady supply of electricity and crawling into a warm, dry bed. Do you see feel the same? We’re incredibly fortunate to have somewhere safe to sleep every night, and there’s so much dignity in having hot water, utilities and a fridge full of food. Or a fridge at all, for that matter.
The Salvation Army
The Salvation Army are one of those charities that I’d struggle to list the precise services of, simply because they do so much. They help with homelessness, deal with human trafficking, unemployment, and domestic abuse too. But it’s their focus on the elderly that makes me want to include them on this list. They do a great deal to combat the effects of isolation among older people, and provide care homes too (the Salvation Army have thirteen across the country). This charity also offers a befriending service, enabling volunteers to spend a few hours of quality time a week with elderly people to strengthen the sense of community, confidence and independence among people who might not have family or friends around to support them in their old age.
Many women (and men, but I say women because they’re the larger statistic) suffer domestic violence and abuse at the hands of their partners, and I imagine Christmas is a really tough time deal with something that horrific. Among all the gift giving, merriment and family get-togethers, there’s doubtless going to be controlling behaviour, violence, excessive drinking, fear and isolation this year, so that’s more than enough reason to donate to Refuge. Refuge are a charity who operate a 24 hour telephone helpline, provide accommodation up and down to the country to women and children escaping abuse and contemplating their future, and also give advocacy, emotional support and child support workers too.
The NSPCC are a charity who do a tremendous amount of work to serve children, running a helpline and making sure that abused or neglected minors get the help they need as quickly as possible. They also do a great deal of work in fields such as perinatal health, mental health and internet safety, and they also help to support children giving evidence in court too.
Pets are so much a part of our families, and it baffles me that anyone could ever be so cruel or neglectful of an animal. But, it sadly does happen, and I can only imagine how awful it must be to see first-hand. If your loved one is a cat lover, dog lover or just loves animals in general, the RSPCA could be well worth donating to. This charity rescue, rehabilitate and rehome animals, so giving to these guys could mean you help pay towards surgery for a poorly cat or care for an abused dog, for example.
If you’re not sure how much to donate to a charity or can’t really afford to make ongoing donations, why not just give the amount you were going to spend on a present? That’s plenty more than you otherwise would’ve donated, and doubtless your loved ones will be really pleased to know something good as been done ‘in their honour’ this Christmas. 🙂