A tradition I want to start with my family, especially at Christmas time, is to give back to our community.
I want to raise a family that does’t view its way of life as the only way of life. I want my kids to be well adjusted and to understand how lucky we are to live where we do. Whether we have done it tough or well that year, the things that are important are our health, having a roof over our heads, food on the table and each others love and support.
It can be really overwhelming at Christmas time when so many people need help, so we have done some research and put together a little list of ways you can give back this year. It’s in no way a complete list but it’s a start for you and yours to consider.
- RSPCA – Santa Paws & Christmas Market – Now I am a bit of crazy dog lady so this sounds like a lot of fun to me. You and your pooch can have their photo taken with the big man in red himself! It’s happening in Brisbane on 22 November and the Gold Coast on the 28 November, and you need to book ahead. You can also enjoy some discounted RSPCA shopping on the day too.
- Charity Christmas Cards – If you still do Christmas cards, this is a nice simple way to give back. Buy your cards from your charity of choice and know that you are supporting a cause, rather than the corporates.
- Kmart Wishing Tree – The Kmart Wishing Tree kicked off on 10 November and runs until 24 December. It’s sole charity partner is The Salvation Army. They provide 100s of 1000s of children, doing it tough across Australia and New Zealand, with some Christmas cheer.
- Assist a Sister – You can help the ladies that have escaped domestic violence by donating to the Assist a Sister Pamper Pack Drive. The drive helps women in refuges, most of whom are mums, feel as special as they deserve to feel. They also have some great charity events coming up, so head over to their Facebook page if you would like to help them out.
- Cubbies for Christmas – This is a joint project between StreetSmart and creative play specialists Tinyfolk. Cubbies for Christmas aims to raise funds to provide women’s refuges and safe-houses throughout Australia with Tinyfolk Playhouses. This will allow children in crisis accommodation to have access to quality play experiences, even if they are spending the holiday season in crisis care, under traumatic circumstances.
- SIDS & Kids Charity Hampers – this is great, especially for the corporates out there. All the hard work is done for you and you can feel good knowing some of the proceeds are going to SIDS & Kids.
- The Salvos – The Salvation Army runs one of the most comprehensive Christmas Appeals. We’re not trying to plug them over others but there are just so many ways you can contribute, from donating money to really getting involved on the ground.
- The Smith Family – The Smith Family’s focus is literacy and education with kids who are disadvantaged. Literacy in lower sociao-economic demographics really does suffer. By investing in education for these kids, The Smith Family is helping to build a level playing field and opening up education opportunities to those who traditionally would be disadvantaged.
- Softies for Mirabel – The lovely Pip Lincoln from Meet Me At Mikes is in her eigth year of running Softies for Mirabel. The Mirabel Foundation helps families and children impacted by parental substance abuse. If you have the time to make a soft toy than please do. You can check out Robyna’s tutorial for her contribution to the program here > Sail Boat Softie – Instructions and Pattern
- St Vincent de Paul Society – Similar to The Salvos, Vinnies has a wide range of activities to help those less fortunate this Christmas. Their main Christmas drive is for cash donations and they explain to you exactly what your money is able to do for another individual or family.
- The UN Refugee Agency / World Vision – When we hover and look out at what is happening in less developed countries in particular, I know I for one am over come with a sense of helplessness. Something I have done previously, which worked really well, was rather than have a Secret Santa at work where you traditionally get a pretty crappy present, we would all put the $10 into a kitty and donate it to an international aid cause. If your kids are old enough to be earning pocket money, perhaps start teaching them about philanthropy now by encouraging them to donate a small amount each month towards helping children overseas. There are so many ways we can help here.
- The Red Cross – In addition to helping with their local and international humanitarian efforts, another way you can help The Red Cross at this time of year is to donate blood. Blood stores are traditionally low, but the dark side of Christmas – increase in road accidents, the party season which can get out of hand way too often, spikes in domestic violence, etc – means that the demand for blood can increase. If you can, roll up your sleeves and give.
And for this week’s challenge: We would love you to commit to at least one act of giving back this Christmas. We often think about it and then it gets lost in the busy-ness of the season. Commit, set a date and just do it! Hopefully it can become a Christmas tradition.