What do you buy for the person who has everything? Please not another pair of socks. Say no to mindless consumer spending this Christmas and give a charity gift instead. Most people recognise that they have a lot more stuff than they really need, so maybe your friends and family would rather you spent your Christmas budget on something which helps the less fortunate. Here are 10 interesting ideas for charity gifts which do some good, don’t contribute to landfill, and should raise a smile around the tree this year.
• Pile of poo, £9, Oxfam
If you can bring yourself to literally spend your money on crap, this humorous gift will certainly be a talking point on Christmas Day. Oxfam’s pile of poo is described as “the ideal mix of manure, organic fertiliser and training in eco-friendly farming techniques to help a family grow a lot more crops.” The result? Poor families eat a better diet and get a more stable income. You get a bit of a giggle when Aunt Mabel opens her present.
• Hook, line and dinner fishing cooperative training: £13, Present Aid
Give the gift of fish! For £13 you can help fund Christian Aid’s Ethiopia programme, which teaches people how to set up fishing cooperatives and gives them relevant training and tools to improve the long-term prosperity of their communities.
• Liberty for lorises: £20, People’s Trust for Endangered Species (PTES)
Their cute and cuddly looks have sadly made Javan slow lorises a much sought-after pet. They are being snatched from the wild, treated inhumanely in terrible conditions and sold on markets around the world. But, for £20, PTES helps educate local communities about the reality of this cruel and illegal trade to try to reduce demand for lorises. Twenty quid seems a small price to pay to improve animal welfare. This gift is a great way to give an animal lover the feel-good factor on Christmas Day.
• Warmth through the winter, £74, International Rescue Committee
Rescue Gifts come in lots of shapes and sizes, allowing you to contribute to a range of disaster relief, health and education projects. For £74 you can supply warm clothing, boots and blankets to help displaced Syrian refugees make it through a cold winter.
• The Great Indian Bake Off, £25, Good Gifts
Good Gifts is the trading name of the Charities Advisory Trust. It partners with different charities to make sure your money always goes directly to the exact project you want to support. In this case, your gift funds a project to help low caste girls in India train as bakers to improve their employment prospects. This gift is perfect for fans of the Great British Bake Off.
• Protect 100 acres of rainforest, £5,250, Good Gifts
Working with a bigger budget? Gigantic Good Gifts has a lot of great ethical gift options for institutions or wealthier individuals. You can help restore British hedgerows, train eye surgeons in developing countries, or build a library for an underfunded school.
• Bee Saver Kit, from £15, Friends of the Earth
This present raises awareness of the importance of the UK’s bees, and should also brighten up someone’s garden in time for spring. For £15, Friends of the Earth offers a bee-saving kit which comes with bee-friendly wildflower seeds and a how-to guide to create a bee sanctuary in your garden. This gift also helps fund Friends of the Earth’s other environmental campaigns. Order by 7 December to guarantee delivery in time for Christmas.
• More than a Christmas dinner, £5, Centrepoint
Give a homeless young person a hot Christmas dinner and a sense of community at a time when they might be feeling especially lonely. Youth homeless charity Centrepoint offers a range of gifts across the price spectrum, whether you want to give a new saucepan, a bed for the night, or a helping hand back in to education.
• Two Fingers Brewing Co beer, £variable, available from Ocado, Tesco and Morrisons
If you want to give a physical gift, booze always goes down a treat. Give two fingers to prostate cancer this Christmas while enjoying an artisan ale. Ethical beer brand Two Fingers donates all its profits to Prostate Cancer UK.
• Designer undies, from £10, Pants to Poverty
Ok, I know I said no socks, but you might want to consider these fancy pants. Pants to Poverty aims to use fashion to change the world. It sells ethically made underwear which gives the Indian farmers who produce its cotton a fair wage and a safer working environment free of pesticides.
And here are two extra ways to give – neither of these ideas are for under the Christmas tree, but they won’t cost you anything and they could really help someone this festive season….
• Give food
A lot of us end up with excess food at this time of year, but there’s no need to waste it. Unwanted, in-date food is always appreciated at food banks, especially over Christmas. The Guardian has produced a handy interactive map showing many of the UK’s food banks and listing their website and contact details. Click here for the map.
Every single blood donation you make can help as many as three people. Not just emergency cases but also those poor souls undergoing long-term medical treatment, which doesn’t stop just because it’s Christmas.
Links and resources:
Buysocialchristmas.org.uk – has lots of other great ideas for gifts offered by social enterprises.
MoneySavingExpert’s charity gift guide – a good roundup of charity Christmas presents.
Want2donate.org – a site dedicated to raising awareness of and driving supporters to top UK charities and ethical businesses.