Are you looking for the real spirit of Christmas? If you think it’s too hard to find, why don’t you make some yourself with some truly selfless giving.
It’s the silly season. Everyone is short on time and cash and the true spirit of Christmas sometimes feels like it’s gone into hiding.
If you’re tired of rampant consumerism and want to make a difference, here are five suggestions for truly selfless giving that should get you into the Christmas spirit.
Be your own Santa
Not everyone is going to wake up to presents this Christmas. Sadly, many Australian families are struggling to put food on the table, let alone splurge on gifts.
The Salvos have long been supporting families in need and, in partnership with Kmart, they will hopefully provide over 500,000 gifts this Christmas thanks to the Kmart Wishing Tree.
If you’re already out buying gifts, why not buy one extra for a kid who would really appreciate it? All you have to do is take a gift tag from your local Kmart Wishing Tree, specify the age and gender of a suitable recipient and place it with your gift (wrapped or unwrapped) under the tree. You don’t even need to buy it from Kmart — gifts can be purchased from any retailer or handmade.
It’s your shout
For the young and young at heart, Christmas and the long nights of summer often signal the start of the party season.
It’s easy to blow $100 on a night out these days and even easier to turn a blind eye to the homeless population sleeping on the pavement while you’re walking home.
While you’re not going to the solve Australia’s welfare problem in one night, why not budget an extra $50 on your next night out to give to those who really need it? Take $50 worth of small bills out with you to pop into the hats that are littering the city’s street corners. No judgement, just hand it over and trust you’ve made someone’s night a little brighter.
Everyone loves a bargain but at what cost? While retailers are aggressively competing on price there is a cost to producers around the world, especially those living in developing countries.
By buying Fairtrade products you are helping to ensure better prices, decent working conditions, local sustainability and fair terms of trade for farmers and workers in the developing world. By requiring companies to pay sustainable prices, Fairtrade addresses the injustices of conventional trade which traditionally takes advantage of the poorest, weakest producers.
Sure, it may be a little bit more expensive but this is a classic case of less is more. When you shop, look for the Fairtrade mark or search for Fairtrade products and stores right here.
The gift of a day
If time is all you have to give then it’s time to get giving! Charities are often in need of experienced hands to help out with fundraising so why not give the gift of a day to the charity of your choice?
While they may be too busy to take you on board during the Christmas period, you can give a day of your time to organise a fundraising event with your friends, help promote the charity via social media or make a commitment to help one day a month for a whole year.
Or, if you’re not squeamish why not consider giving blood? Hospitals around the country have a huge demand for blood this time of year and are often running short. Bank some platelets with the Red Cross today and give the gift of life tomorrow.
The Drive Thru Difference
At a time when people are doing it tough and are stressed to the max, the Drive Thru Difference may be just the lift they need to get them through the day!
The concept behind this great idea from radio station Hope 103.2 is simple. Next time you’re buying a coffee in a queue, or a meal at a drive thru, ask the attendant if you can also pay for the person behind you. You can download a postcard from the station for the attendant to hand to your recipient if you like, or you can just go on your merry way knowing you’ve put a smile on someone’s face and maybe inspired them to give a selfless gift themselves!