It is holiday time and we’re all a little guilty of spending a little bit too much money on ourselves. With all the sales, interest-free credit cards and same-day-delivery online shopping orders, it is easy to forget those who are less fortunate.
This year, instead of splurging too much on presents, food and booze, why not include a little bit of charity and goodwill into your gift-giving? You might even earn a few extra Santa brownie points.
Help out disadvantaged women
Sadly we live in the 21st century and yet women still have to justify their education. This Christmas you can do a little to help young girls from developing countries receive an education. Donate to Care Australia or to CareGifts to help put a disadvantaged girl into school. This can cost as little as $75.
Through CareGifts you can also help get young business women the leg up they need. Donating $100 will help set up and support an entrepreneurial women in her business endeavours.
Buy charity Christmas cards
Cards and wrapping paper go hand in hand with Christmas. Even in wrapping presents and writing thoughtful messages to loved ones you can support charities. Organisations like WIRES, Salvos and Amnesty have Christmas cards that help support their causes. For the environmentally conscious there are a range of cards on The Smith Family website that you can send as e-cards.
Volunteer on Christmas day
This is the timeless one. Christmas day is always a day for family, but what about those who don’t have family, or whose family can't afford to buy them a gift? Across Australia, nearly 14% of the population live in some sort of poverty, according to Vinnies.
Volunteering at a community kitchen, handing out donated presents to underprivileged children and feeding the homeless is a perfect substitute for eating and drinking yourself stupid on Christmas day. You can find some community kitchens at communitykitchens.org.au or by doing a simple google search.
Gift someone a charity gift
The holiday period is without a doubt the busiest time of the year. All the parties, festivities and end of year work builds up, and Christmas shoppers often rely upon the the humble gift voucher as a present. But why not give the gift of charity instead of a voucher supporting a department store?
Many charities like World Vision allow people to sponsor an underprivileged child with an upfront payment or long term contributions. Oxfam lets you gift different animals like pigs, goats, chickens, even full barnyards to farmers in villages in developing countries. You can also gift life-changing equipment like water desalination kits, with some gift vouchers starting around $9.
Save your new best friend
There is always a bit of a concern over buying pets for people. On one hand, animals are wonderful Christmas presents, but on the other it might seem a little off-putting to buy a pet from a pet store or puppy farm. Make the purchase of your new best friend a heartfelt one by visiting the local Council Pound or by rescuing an animal from the nearest RSPCA. Animals in Council Pounds or the RSPCA have sadly been neglected by so when you buy from them you are rescuing an abandoned or unwanted animal.
That said, the decision to buy a pet should not come lightly as they always come with a lot of responsibility. Know what you're getting yourself into before you set out to buy an animal this holiday season.
Give a child something to open this Christmas
According to Vinnies, there are more than 730,000 children who won’t receive a gift this Christmas morning. You can help share the holiday spirit this giving season by donating a present to the Kmart Wishing Tree. Shoppers simply buy a gift and leave it under the tree, and on Christmas volunteers hand out the gifts to disadvantaged children.
It’s an easy and thoughtful way to include disadvantaged kids in your Christmas shopping.
The Smith Family run a similar Christmas drive with a focus on books and art as well as toys. You can simply purchase a book or an art kit and send it to a child in need from the Smith Family online store.