Gifts That Give Back

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Giving great gifts is something of an art isn’t it? Sometimes it’s not the most lavish gifts that hit the spot. It’s those small thoughtful ones that can really make someone smile. And after the year we’ve all had, there is even more to consider than usual. With so many of us losing our jobs, seeing incomes shrink; can we really afford to splash out in the way we did in Christmases past? Lots of us are pledging to shop small or choose local in an attempt to keep smaller businesses afloat.

For my part I’ve decided that this is the year my kids (well the older two anyway) will get an idea of the true meaning of Christmas: goodwill, kindness and charity; as opposed to mountains of stuff. I’m definitely scaling back because I realise there is nothing they actually need. As soon as Boris gives the green light I’m going to take them to Smyths Toys and let them pick one toy each… which they will then wrap and give to a toy collection service for less fortunate kids in our area. Last year we gave to Norah’s North Pole and they are doing fantastic work for the children of the northeast again this year.

As far as possible I will be shopping with a social conscience and choosing gifts that give back. Here are my top tips for gifts your kids will love that will also do some good!

  • Friends of the Earth ‘Planet Protector Pack’ In exchange for a donation of your choice, you’ll receive this fantastic interactive pack bursting with activities for your little eco-warrior.
  • Adopt an animal! If like me; you’re bored of saying “No. No you cannot have a dog.”… get them a ruddy Elephant! Check out the huge range of animals you can adopt through the World Wildlife Foundation from as little as three quid a month. Kids will receive a cuddly toy replica of their adoptee, plus a welcome pack and certificate.
  • Park ‘Pass-a-ball’ Football I absolutely love this initiative. For every football they sell, they donate one to a child who needs one in the UK and across the world. A perfect gift for any young football fanatic.
  • Sponsor a child through Action Aid. This is something I’ve been meaning to do for ages. Now with Coronavirus on the scene, children in poverty around the world are facing more uncertainty than ever before. Action Aid will send you a photo of the child you are sponsoring and twice a year you will receive an update on their progress and how the sponsorship is helping them. There’s even the opportunity to exchange letters. Kids will love the chance to engage with a child from another country or background and the sponsorship program provides a huge learning opportunity for both parties.
  • The website Pebblechild has a huge range of beautiful handcrafted toys made by women in Bangladesh. When you buy a toy from here you are helping these women from very disadvantaged backgrounds support their family, and keep their children with them. Check out their range including this pull-along wooden toy which is an absolute steal at just £32.00.
  • Twin your loo! Sounds daft, but I know my toilet/bum/willy/anything rude obsessed kids would love this gift in their name. Toilet Twinning are on a mission: they want to flush away poverty, one toilet at a time. When you twin your loo, you provide a family in the developing world with access to their own toilet, clean water and the opportunity to learn about good hygiene. A combination which saves lives. You will be sent a certificate to display in your own loo and be given the GPS coordinates of your twin toilet. A quirky but very cool Christmas gift!

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