Gift Ideas: How to give more
Hooray for the presents and carols and cards and tinsel! You’ll hear no Scroogery coming from Reform Towers. But, once all the wrapping is in the bin, and the sage and onion is stuffing human tummies, it is a shame to realise we forgot something – like giving to the people who most need it, as well as the ones who happen to be closest to us. Luckily, charities offer no end of creative ways to include more people in your Christmas. And Reform makes it even easier by bringing their ideas together in one festive hamper. Help yourself. Help others. Have a better Christmas.
Buy from Bethlehem
Embrace the Middle East
Buying gifts and decorations made in Bethlehem is not just super Christmassy, it also supports the most vulnerable and disadvantaged in the region. Embrace is a Christian charity tackling poverty and injustice in the Middle East, and their catalogue includes tree decorations, crib scenes, crosses, bracelets, soap and even cards, all made from olive in Bethlehem. They’re fairly traded, hand-carved and made in Bethlehem, just like Christmas. Also available are Middle Eastern hampers and recipe books, and don’t forget the carol singers’ friend – the Bethlehem carol sheet.
For the catalogue, visit www.embracechristmas.org or call 01494 897950
Host a fake Christmas
It’s called Faux Ho Ho. Host a Christmas-themed meal, keep an empty chair or two for those who can’t be with you, and give the money you would have spent on them to ActionAid, who is appealing for help for homeless children around the world. ActionAid supplies a party pack which includes fundraising ideas, special recipe cards, a game, hats and other bits to make your fake Christmas go with a jingle.
For more information, visit www.actionaid.org.uk/feast or call 020 3122 0561
This year, Christian Aid has produced a free booklet of daily reflections examining the biblical theme of gifts. Starting on 6 December, the feast day of St Nicholas, who inspired the character of Father Christmas, the booklet, Unwrapping Precious Gifts, ends on Epiphany, 6 January, when we celebrate the magi bringing gifts to Jesus. Christian Aid has also produced a star decoration to hang on Christmas trees and a series of church resources and carol service prayers. This year, every pound donated or Present Aid gift purchased will be matched by the UK government, meaning people in poverty get double the support.
For more information, visit www.christianaid.org.uk/christmas or call 020 7523 2225
Macmillan Cancer Support, Make-A-Wish UK and Save the Children
ITV’s Text Santa gala on “Christmas Jumper Day” (Friday 18 December) is supporting three charities and showcasing their work bringing hope to families in difficulty at Christmas. The organisers are asking supporters to wear festive knitwear for the day and raise money. A pack is available with fundraising ideas for schools, workplaces and other groups.
For more information, visit www.itv.com/textsanta
Tearfund, Hope and Sports Chaplaincy UK
Community carol singing brings people together and focuses on the Christmas story. Joining in with Sing Christmas does all that and raises money for people around the world affected by conflict, disasters and climate change. The three charities involved in Sing Christmas provide everything you need to organise the event, including a carol booklet, a short drama sketch, a prayer and posters.
For more information visit www.singchristmas.org or call 0208 943 7972
Hang a bauble
Action for Children
To support vulnerable children this Christmas, pop in to your nearest HomeSense homeware shop, buy a bauble for £1, write a festive message or a happy childhood Christmas memory on it, and hang it on the store’s Christmas tree. All proceeds from the bauble donations will go to Action for Children services close to each store. Action for Children works with vulnerable children, young people and their families, for whom Christmas can be an especially difficult time.
For more information visit www.actionforchildren.org.uk/hang-a-bauble or call 01923 361 500
Light a Christingle
The Children’s Society
An orange, red tape, sweets and a candle are all you need to make a Christingle and help some of the country’s most vulnerable children. Christingle is a simple tool to teach children the message of the Gospel, while bringing families and communities together to celebrate the light of Christ. The Children’s Society provides a free guide on how to host a Christingle service. Alternatively, it will help you find your local event. Funds raised from Christingle help The Children’s Society support children at risk of sexual exploitation.
For more information, visit christingle.org/reform or call 300 303 7000
Seat an angel
Traidcraft’s new trio of hand-painted wooden angels has been cleverly designed to perch on a windowsill or mantlepiece. They cost £12 and are made by Pekerti, a social development agency in Jakarta, which enables subsistence farmers and rural people to supplement their income through traditional crafts. Traidcraft offer a wide range of Fairtrade Christmas products, including cards, calendars, decorations and food, which means your Christmas can be part of the fight against poverty through trade.
View the catalogue online at www.traidcraftshop.co.uk or call 0191 491 0855
This is an extract from the December 2015/January 2016 edition of Reform.