’Tis the season to be jolly… and what could perk you up more than doing something to help charity in the season of goodwill and giving. Here are our 10 favourite ways to help out charities at Christmas.
1 Donate to charity
Christmas is the season for giving, and is the time of year many people are inspired to give to charity. Which charity you choose is entirely up to you, but even the smallest amount can make a big difference to vital causes at home or abroad. Make sure you search the Charity Choice directory to find one (or more!) that you would like to help.
2 Volunteer at a shelter
Every year, homelessness charities depend on volunteers to keep up their good work. Charities like Crisis need a huge amount of volunteers – from those willing to ‘muck in’ with general tasks to people with specific skills, such as dentists, hairdressers, lorry drivers and cooks. If you have a special skill you’d like to use to help others, make sure to put your name down in the volunteering section of Charity Choice and let charities find you!
3 Give food
While most of us are busy eating our own body weight in turkey, some people go hungry over Christmas. Donating food to those in need is a great way of redressing the balance. You can do this through food banks like FareShare, and major supermarkets or local community centres and churches often also run food drives at this time of year.
4 Visit the elderly
Here’s a saddening statistic: around 500,000 older people in the UK spend Christmas day alone, according to Friends of the Elderly. Do you have an elderly relative or neighbour that is longing for some company this Christmas? Pay them a visit with a few mince pies in tow and make their day.
5 Answer calls on a helpline
Christmas can be a particularly distressing time for people without friends or family, or with difficult home lives. Helplines such as Samaritans and ChildLine, provide beacons of hope for vulnerable people – but they require lots of volunteers to keep them running.
6 Sing carols for collecting
Vocalise your need for figgy pudding this Christmas by going carol singing. Find local charities to call and ask if you can carol on their behalf. They’ll usually provide you with an official collecting tin – but you’ll have to pay for the singing lessons yourself!
7 Buy charity Christmas cards
Buy Christmas cards directly from charities (see our top 50 charity cards here!). While many big retailers sell charity cards, not all of the money goes to benefit the cause you’ve chosen to support. Buying directly from shops or charities’ websites means more of your money will help those that need it most.
8. Go charity shopping
Consider buying gifts from charity shops (read our top 10 charity shop gift guides here), or another option is to shop on websites that give a percentage of their sales to charity. You may also want to think about giving more charitable presents, like animal sponsorship packages or items from gift ranges, such as Oxfam Unwrapped. Check out our guide to virtual charity gifts that give twice here.
9 Recycle your Christmas cards
We all love putting festive cards (preferably charity ones of course) from our nearest and dearest up for display over Christmas, but did you know that if everyone in the UK recycled just one card, the Woodland Trust would be able to plant more than 60,000 trees? There will be card collecting bins at M&S stores in January, so take yours down and do something for nature.
10 Give unwanted gifts to charity
You’re bound to get at least one present you’re not that impressed with this year - be it novelty socks, or a jumper two sizes too small. It’s the thought that counts, but rather than languishing for years in a dusty drawer, you could turn things around by passing that present on to charity – either donate it to a charity shop or stick it on eBay and donate the money raised to the charity of your choice. Another option for larger items is to post it on the Charity Choice 'Give Your Goods' section and let charities get in touch with you.
Like this? You might also enjoy our Favourite Charity Christmas Guides!