1. Support Giving Tuesday
This Charities Aid Foundation run day acts as a counterpoint to Black Friday and Cyber Monday. Instead of going Christmas shopping crazy, why not give to charity instead. It doesn’t have to be cash, on #GivingTuesday you can shop in a charity shop, bake stuff to raise money or volunteer. Remember to share you pics on social media!
2. Buy a bed for a homeless person
National homeless charity Bethany Christian Trust is asking people to buy a bed for a homeless person this winter. The £21 Care Shelter Christmas Gift Voucher can be bought online and will provide someone with overnight shelter, safety from the elements, professional support, access to a hot meal and professional services.
3. Join in on Christmas Jumper Day
Do you really want to be the only bah humbug in the office refusing to take part in Christmas Jumper Day? On 14 December it’s time to dust off your Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer themed knitwear and support Save the Children. The idea is that you pay £2 to wear your Christmas jumper to work or school. The money will go to support Save the Children projects in the UK and around the world. If you haven’t got a jumper yet, a range of retailers are also donating a proportion of sales prices to the charity. Check out amazon.co.uk/savethechildren for example.
4. Get a Caring Christmas Tree
Bethany Christian Trust needs lots of support over the winter months, and one easy way to do it is to buy one of its real Christmas trees. If you live in Edinburgh and Lothians, Glasgow and West, or Fife you can order your Caring Christmas Tree online and arrange to pick it up. The deadline for order is 12 noon on Monday 10 December for pick ups that weekend. The charity works with 7,000 homeless people to help them with housing and furniture and overcoming challenges such as addictions.
5. Sleep out
It’s fast becoming a Scottish tradition to take to the streets on one of the coldest nights of the year to fight homelessness. After the massive success of last year’s Social Bite Sleep in the Park, it’s back again this year with events across the country. Join celebs Amy Macdonald, KT Tunstell, Frightened Rabbit and Lulu alongiside an estimated 12,000 people in Edinburgh, Glasgow, Dundee and Aberdeen on Saturday 8 December. Nearly £4m was raised to tackle homelessness last year, and organisers hope to do even better this year.
6. Buy a toy for Twelve Weans of Christmas
Make a child smile this Christmas by donating a brand new toy to One Parents Families Scotland’s Twelve Wean’s of Christmas appeal. The charity is looking for toys and warm clothing for children aged 0 to 16 years old to make their Christmas special. The toys must be new and in packaging. They will go to families across Scotland whose children may not have many presents to open this Christmas. There are drop off points from Glasgow to Aberdeenshire.
7. Get your Christmas cards direct from a charity
Charity Christmas cards are one of this season’s must dodge cons as many retailers claim their cards support charities while the amount passed on is pretty small. To ensure your cards genuinely contribute to a good cause, buy them direct from the charity. You can do this in charity shops or online. Edinburgh older people’s befriending charity Vintage Vibes has had its own cards designed especially this year.
If it’s not Christmas until you’ve made yourself hoarse reaching the high notes of Hark the Herald Angels Sing, why not get some friends together to do some carol singing for a good cause. There are also concerts all over the country, but if you live in Edinburgh or Glasgow you can sing in support of world-wide adult education charity Feed the Minds. The Edinburgh Telephone Choir will be leading in Edinburgh’s Greyfriars Kirk on Wed 12 December, while the Scottish Opera Community Choir takes over in Wellington Church, Glasgow on Thursday 13 December. Tickets include mulled wine and mince pies.
9 Deck the halls with charity decorations
From felt gingerbread mentree decorations and Christmas stockings from Barnardo’s to handcrafted and painted dove ornaments from Unicef, there is a plethora of good Christmas decorations for sale from charities. The Oxfam shop is also selling Fill Your Own Christmas Crackers so you can still enjoying a banging Christmas dinner without poking your eye out with pointless plastic tat!
It’s not that easy to find volunteering shifts over the Christmas holidays if you’re not already signed up as a regular. However, homeless charity Crisis is still looking for people to help out at its Crisis at Christmas centre in Edinburgh from 23 December to 2 January. If you’ve got a skill that might help a homeless person, then why not volunteer to run a workshop. The charity is also looking for volunteer entertainers, hairdressers and barbers, massage therapists, podiatrists, befrienders and general volunteers.
11. Shop well
Tis the season for over consumption, and far be it for us to cast a shadow over that. However, if you would like to feel that you’re being a little more ethical this Christmas, why not get some of your presents from charity shops – you’ll be amazed what you can find. Or, check out TFN’s Good Gifts List – a selection of gifts you can buy from charities or social enterprises across Scotland.
12. Eat well
Cutting down on meat around Christmas time is good for your health, good for the environment and good for animal welfare. However, if the thought of Christmas dinner without roast turkey makes you want to cry, think about sourcing organic meat. Check out one of Scotland’s many farmer’s marketsto find a supplier. But, do you really need a meaty starter too? The Vegetarian Society has loads of good ideas and recipes for a vegetarian Christmas including delicious looking parsnip and carrot rotis with mushroom and Wensleydale sauce. For dessert why not try a vegan Christmas Galette.
13. Sign up to Dry January
You know you’re going to eat and drink too much this Christmas. So, why not vow to do your bit for a good cause (and your own health) in January. Dry January is an Alcohol Concern run booze-free fundraising challenge. According to the charity 79% of people who do Dry January save money, 62% sleep better and have more energy and 49% lose weight.