By: Ben McEachen
In a world of choice, it can be almost overwhelming to work out what gift to give every Christmas.
It can be a good problem to have but what if we cut through the gift catalogues and stocked shelves with presents focused on helping others? Gifts that give to those in need, more than giving to create a bigger pile of presents for someone you love.
Here are just 12 Christmas gift ideas (in no particular order) that could make a world of difference this year – to someone you don’t even know.
1. Baptist World Aid
The “Big Hearted Gifts” range is a rainbow of small and big ways to help others around the world this Christmas. Gifts span from $15 for a COVID Care pack (face mask, gloves, other protective equipment) to a Change a Child’s Life pack, for $150, that brings clean water, education and playtime to needy kids. Plus, every gift comes with a beautiful card that illustrates the generosity of gift giving.
2. The Salvation Army
Perhaps you and your family has been blessed during the pandemic. From what you have, this Christmas you can give many everyday experiences and necessities to our neighbours in Australia who are struggling to get by. The Salvos “Wishes” selection include gifting a “Family Fun Day” to another family, or providing a Christmas meal to a mother and children escaping domestic violence. From a cup of soup and a chat, to a $3000 gift that could revamp the life of a vulnerable young person, “Wishes” can come true for others in need this Christmas.
3. The Smith Family
Here’s the good news: The Smith Family’s annual “Toy and Book Appeal” is still happening in 2021. However, the impact of COVID-19 (you might have heard about it) has meant The Smith Family will not be able to collect your donated gifts in the real world. Instead, you can give a digital gift voucher to one of the more than 30,000 disadvantaged children supported by The Smith Family.
The State Emergency Service is NSW’s peak body on looking after us during a disaster event and other weather challenges. As the past few years have sadly highlighted, Christmas also can be an annual time of danger and threat to where we live. As a Christmas present for all of us, you can donate now to the SES’ important work of protecting and rebuilding.
5. Wayside Chapel
For almost six decades, Wayside Chapel in Sydney’s Kings Cross has been fuelled by God’s love to serve and support its local community. Wayside’s “Christmas Appeal” invites us to get behind the Wayside work of providing Christmas meals, hot showers, emergency accommodation and other health services we can take for granted. Make a real, lasting difference this Christmas to someone sleeping rough or battling addiction or wrestling with unemployment.
6. Children’s Hospital Toy Appeal
What is worse than being a kid and being in hospital? Being a kid and being in hospital… and it’s Christmas. Turn that frown upside down by giving a gift to a patient. You can either donate or select from a big catalogue of toys. Either way, you can awaken on Christmas morning to the tune of knowing you’ve helped make the day of a kid.
7. Buy from the Bush
How awesome is “Buy From the Bush“? A prime example of the internet being used for good, Buy From the Bush is a one-stop online shop of all sorts of regional or remote businesses across Australia. You can shop local even at a distance, with access to presents you might not have found otherwise as well as the opportunity to back a small Aussie business.
8. The Pyjama Foundation
Give an “Angel” this year as a Christmas gift to a child who lives in out-of-home care. A Pyjama Angel is a support worker and mentor for kids being cared for, outside of their traumatic or dysfunctional family situation. Pyjama Foundation is seeking additional financial backing from us to ensure at-risk children are better supported throughout the year.
9. Samaritan’s Purse
Samaritan’s Purse do a lot of things, from disaster relief to church resourcing, education to agriculture. One of its best-known forms of community care is Operation Christmas Child. Shoeboxes are packed with fun gifts, toys, hygiene products and school supplies. They are sent to children around the world who live in vulnerable, impoverished situations. You can pack a box yourself or do it virtually.
Imagine being homeless at Christmas. Then, add the pain and fear of fleeing a domestic violence relationship. Barnardos offers us the opportunity to support children and families in that terrible situation, by giving to its Christmas crisis fund. Accommodation and care can be presented to desperate families, at a time of year when homeless shelters and refuges can be inundated.
11. Share the Dignity
Women across Australia may not be able to afford or access sanitary items. Share The Dignity seeks to provide them to them. Beyond such vital products, Share The Dignity also encourages us this Christmas to get aboard the “It’s In The Bag” opportunity. Fill a bag with essential female hygiene items, drop it off at Bunnings, and they will be distributed to women and girls who are going without.
12. Meals on Wheels
One of the longest-standing home delivery services around, Meals On Wheels has the added bonus of being free to those it provides food to. Also, these home deliverers also check in on the welfare of people they are visiting and provide real community connection. You can help to put dinner on the table of someone who really needs it by giving to the valuable, nourishing work of Meals On Wheels.
Article supplied with thanks to Hope Media.