For many of us the festive season and Christmas has become all about the gifts, the food, the summer holiday.... But it is possible to give something back this Christmas.
At The Gift Trust we’re celebrating generosity of all kinds with our festive top 10 list:
1.) Give your time. Volunteer at a soup kitchen, homeless shelter, rest home or hospice. Extra volunteers are always needed over the festive season. Or find a neighbour or someone in your community who may need a little extra help at this time of year. You could sign up to your local Timebank where people in the local community swap skills and volunteer time.
2.) Buy charity Christmas cards or gifts. Buy a gift or card from your local charity shop or look online at some of the charity gift options. Some of our favourites include Forest and Bird’s online store, Trade Aid’s online store, Oxfams unwrapped gift service but you might find your favourite charity has an online shop.
3.) Swap Secret Santa for Charity Santa. Instead of spending $10 on some unwanted item for a colleague why not give a charitable gift instead. Pick from the gift ideas above or make a donation to your favourite charity and print out some information about them to give as your secret santa present. Another option is the Good Registry’s charity voucher service- you give your friend a charitable voucher and they get to choose which charity the donation goes to.
4.) Give a Christmas present to a family in need. There are many ways to do this. You could ask your local city mission, homeless shelter or womens refuge if they need donations of presents. Always ask first. Or try one of the specialist services that give Christmas presents to families who are in need - Wellington’s Shoebox Christmas or Christmas in a Box.
5.) Donate to a foodbank. City missions or the local Salvation Army are a good place to take a food parcel. Always check what they need first. Many provide families with Christmas Day packages which include treats, so don't limit your donations to tinned food and other staples.
6.) Get your gifts wrapped by a fundraising stall in your area. Many charities, including Mary Potter Hospice in Wellington, are providing gift-wrapping in exchange for a gold coin donation.
7.) Clean Your closets. Do your children have toys or clothes that have been sitting, untouched, for a few years? Why not give these items to a charity store so other children can benefit.
8.) Visit a neighbour or elderly person. Christmas can be a lonely time, especially for the elderly living alone. Why not pop next door and say hello and while you're at it, see if you can help with the Christmas shop, or perhaps posting some cards.
9.) Do a random act of kindness! Make some home made biscuits and deliver them to your neighbours, leave a secret present in a friends letterbox or leave an anonymous thank you note on a colleagues desk.
10.) Donate! Financial donations are often what charities need the most at this busy time of year. Whether you donate via The Gift Trust’s service or directly to charity, give a little extra if you can.