In these (sigh, I’m going to say it…) unprecedented times, there has never been more reason to give back. For most of us, the year has created setbacks and much stress, however, that doesn’t mean we get a pass on helping those who need it more. In fact, the opposite.

For the most vulnerable, this year has been even tougher than usual and so we must get together and try our best to provide. The holidays are going to be strange for everyone this year, but let’s try and do something good and make sure others can too have a little joy this Christmas.

Oxfam Unwrapped 

Oxfam is renowned for its life changing work helping to fight global poverty. With global hunger on the rise, gift a family something that will really help make a difference. Choose from their selection of e-cards and truly make someone in needs day, from providing safe drinking water to a family of four to supporting equality for women around the world, to even gifting a loved one a pile of manure to help a community in poverty grow more food to eat and sell, with effecting, eco-friendly composting. 

Right now Oxfam Unwrapped has 50% off their charity gifts but this doesn’t mean less money is going to these life-changing projects. Every £1 spent during their sale will be matched.

Kids Out

Christmas isn’t a magical time for everybody; some children won’t receive gifts from Santa on Christmas Day. Kids Out, the charity that gives disadvantaged children positive experiences to support them becoming future members of our society and workforce, are determined to change that, by providing a gift and delivering it to a child in refuge. Help Kids Out do this by donating via their Giving Tree. They’ve created an online shop where you can choose and donate a present to a child in need, from book tokens to footballs, stationary sets to dolls.

Illustration: Ashling Lindsay

BookTrust 

BookTrust is the UK’s largest children’s reading charity, offering support, resources and books to 3.9million children across the UK every year. This year they’re asking for £10 donations from the public so that they can send a book gift to a vulnerable child to add a sparkle to their Christmas morning. More and more families have struggled this year as a direct result of the pandemic so this small token could really make all the difference to a child’s Christmas.

Crisis 

Crisis is a UK charity helping to tackle and fight against homelessness. With homeless on the rise, this Christmas the charity is asking for donations of £28.22 to help give someone a Crisis Christmas. Your small donation could help buy essential food, a place to stay over Christmas, year-round support and training, and friendship and support from volunteer befrienders.

Secret Santa with Action for Children 

The dreaded work Secret Santa’s have really taken the fun out of them for most, but for some it can mean the whole world to. Action for Children is asking the public to take action and become a Secret Santa for a vulnerable child in need. 

Action for Children’s research shows and website states that, “more than four million children in the UK were locked in poverty. That’s the equivalent of nine children in every school class of 30.” That figure is likely to have changed dramatically since the pandemic hit, so this Christmas why not help children and young people have a hot meal, present or safe place to sleep by donating the Action for Children’s Secret Santa campaign.

WIILMA

WIILMA is a local East London charity dedicated to hosting, entertaining and catering for those vulnerable and isolated community members, and this Christmas they’re hosting a couple of exciting ways you can get involved. 

The charity is asking artists of all ages, abilities and mediums to use their isolation time to create a piece of art that is true to them, inspired by three themes. Each entity will be whittled down by a panel of judges and then displayed online and in person at public art exhibitions. The closing date for this ends on Saturday 19th December so for those who want to enter, get your creative head on pronto.

They’re also hosting an online Christmas concert, which will see musicians from The Royal Albert Hall perform, alongside dances from local groups and a special tribute to George Michael. To get involved check their website out. You can also donate to help support the charity and their incredible work. 

Salvation Army Present Appeal

For those wanting to help gift a present to a child who would otherwise not receive one on Christmas Day should look to the Salvation Army Present Appeal. This December, many of the Salvation Army churches and centres across the UK are accepting donations of new, unwrapped toys and gifts for children. These gifts will then be wrapped and distributed to a child in need. 

Check online to see if your local church or centre is accepting gifts right now. It says they’re currently accepting until mid-December so get your donations in quickly.

Age UK

Christmas can be an incredibly lonely time for many. It’s estimated that more than 850,000 older people could be spending Christmas alone this year, but Age UK are determined to help as many as possible but they need the public’s support. 

From volunteering to telephone friendship support, to simply donating, your support could help make someone’s Christmas special. This one isn’t so much a gift, but a way to help support our elder generation during this trying year. 

RSPCA Christmas Rescue 

RSPCA is asking for the public’s support this Christmas by pleading money for animals who have been mistreated. For every £1 pleaded, over 80% goes straight to animal welfare, while 18p goes to raising the next pound and 1p spent on governance. There are options for donating once or to give monthly, from as little as £6 per month.