Christmas ideas: How to give more
Reform’s annual recommendations for including charities in your Christmas celebrations
‘Christmas comes this time each year,’ as the Beach Boys sagely advised us, and assuming they were talking about 25 December, they weren’t wrong. But what comes this time each year is Reform’s guide to a giving Christmas. May we take the seasonal liberty of reminding you just how much better Christmas is when it includes giving some help to those people who are most hoping for it. How much warmer the candles glow and how much truer the carols sound when our giving includes people who really need our gifts and can’t give us anything back. We’ve asked eight charities who are making a difference in the world to advise us how we can include them in our celebrations. Pick one and answer their call. Have a better Christmas.
Keep a girl like Aniker safe from harm this Christmas. Eight-year-old Aniker is one of millions of girls around the world living on the streets or in dangerous conditions. Vulnerable and hungry, without our help she is at risk of human trafficking, exploitation, forced labour and slavery. Children need the support of someone who cares. Child sponsorship though ActionAid can provide girls with secure shelter and healthy meals. By sponsoring a child this Christmas, we can make sure girls like Aniker are kept safe from harm.
For more information, visit www.actionaid.org.uk or call 01460 238000.
Christian Blind Mission
If you are preparing to enjoy a Christmas dinner with loved ones, lay an extra place why not share some festive cheer with families going hungry. For the price of a festive meal, you can provide a family in drought-hit Zimbabwe with chicken and seeds to feed themselves, not just at Christmas but for months to come. In return, you’ll receive a prayer of thanksgiving and the story of a family who will ‘join’ you at your Christmas meal. This is one of many virtual gifts offered in Christian overseas disability charity CBM’s alternative gift catalogue.
For more info visit www.givejoy.cbmuk.org.uk or call 01223 484700.
This year’s Christmas appeal from WaterAid asks Churches to raise money to bring taps and toilets to everyone everywhere by 2030. The charity has provided downloadable resources for church services and Sunday schools, including a poster, a film and a presentation suitable for all ages.
For more information, and to obtain resources, visit www.wateraid/uk/christmas
or call 020 7793 4594
Light a candle, literally and metaphorically, this Christmas, for millions of people seeking safety from conflict. Christian Aid is offering downloadable resources for a candlelit carol service or a walk of witness, including fundraising opportunities, and a downloadable Advent colouring candle for meditation and refl ection. Meanwhile, as you celebrate the light who came into the world, giving a Present Aid gift can help families wrenched from their homes by fear and violence see their way to a safer, brighter future.
For more information, visit www.christianaid.org.uk/christmas or call 020 7523 2225
Embrace the Middle East
The Embrace the Middle East catalogue (included free with October’s Reform, print edition) includes a unique range of alternative gifts to bring a smile to friends and family, and to those in need of comfort in the Middle East. Alternative gifts supporting refugees include food parcels, school books, warm beds and kids’ clothes. Other options include care for babies – vitamins and medication for the malnourished in Gaza. Buying an alternative gift gives you free postage on all other purchases from the catalogue, including cards and church resources. All money raised is used to support the life-changing work of Christian partners in the Middle East.
Browse and order online at www.embracechristmas.org or phone 01494 897950
to request a catalogue
Inspired by the UK’s favourite carol, Silent Night, Tearfund is this year offering an all-in-one resource for carol services called Christmas No 1. The pack includes a PowerPoint and booklet of the top ten carols, children’s material – and the all important film. This highlights the work Tearfund does through local churches to help people in need to discover the answer to poverty that lies within themselves. You won’t forget the collection, will you?
For more information or to obtain the pack, visit www.tearfund.org/christmasno1
or call 0208 977 9144
The Children’s Society
The Children’s Society’s Christingle celebrations have brought light and hope to thousands of children’s lives for the past 48 years. Created especially for children, Christingle is a simple tool to teach the message of the Gospel – and all it takes is an orange! These services bring families and communities together to celebrate the light of Christ in our world. And crucially, the funds raised from these celebrations help the Children’s Society to continue its work supporting vulnerable children to have their voices heard.
For more information, visit christingle.org/reform or call 0300 303 7000.
The ‘Well Good News of Christmas’ booklet and video is a faithful but fun retelling of the Christmas story. Order one booklet for free from the Bible Society for a child close to you, or buy in bulk for 50p each and spread the word around. There is also a ‘no-rehearsal’ nativity play based on the booklet which could save you hours. But enough of what they offer you – give something back by running the ‘Bible for refugees’ appeal in your service, and support the society’s work meeting the huge demand for Bibles among those who have left their homes with nothing.
For more information, visit biblesociety.org.uk/Christmas or call 01793 418100.
This article was published in the December 2016/January 2017 edition of Reform.