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Giving more this Christmas

27 November 2012

I’m hoping that I’m not the only one that has been taken by surprise that it’s the end of November, and we all know what that means – Christmas is around the corner. I’m not one for panicking about Christmas presents, especially as I have quite a small family, but this year I would quite like to slow time down a bit. I must say that my enthusiasm and excitement for the holiday has somewhat declined over the years and this year, I fear I may be unable to muster up any kind of Christmas spirit.

So I’ve been thinking that I will have to do something different this Christmas, perhaps by digging deep into my youthful years and trying to recreate ideas that used to have me feeling merry. Having spent a bit of time reflecting on this I remember that when I was younger, my school gave us the task of creating a ‘shoe box’ present for a child in a less privileged situation. The idea was simple – you decided the gender and age of the child you wanted to gift, and then you chose small gifts for that child; toys, pens, a colouring book, note pad, sweets and anything else you could think of. It was lovely to think that this present could create a lot of joy for the recipient and it felt a bit like Secret Santa!

Unfortunately when I researched the idea, I was greeted with the countdown of days remaining to have your shoe box ready, and in no way do I want to rush such a precious gift for someone – sadly I don’t even have a shoe box kicking about at the moment. But I knew that there must be other ways in which I could give a little bit back to someone else this Christmas.

And in fact there are countless ways to give something back to people and communities in need as the campaign I’m working on, Give More, has highlighted. Give More’s campaign premise is simple: those who can, should consider giving time, money or energy to causes and issues they care about. To make this as easy as possible for everyone, the campaign has just launched the Give Guide. The Guide shows the 100s of different ways in which you can give something back this Christmas. Whether it’s giving away extra portions of food that you have cooked to someone in need, or using a search engine that donates a few pence to charity when searching or buying presents via them, the Guide shows that everyone can make a difference and that giving something back needn’t cost the earth – in fact, many ideas in here don’t cost a thing!

There has been a lot in the press recently about the fall in the number of donations made to charity in the past year, and it has dropped by 20% in the UK. This is a really disappointing statistic but not surprising considering the difficulties many people are facing during the recession. I think we now all have a better perspective of how it feels to have a little less than normal, and so perhaps we might bear than in mind and think about a way which we can  give a bit more to someone else this year? For inspiration check out the Give Guide.