‘Tis the season to be merry, so why not spread a bit of Christmas cheer to more than friends and family? From donating food and clothes, to adopting animals – here are five ways you can share the Christmas spirit while making a difference.
Make a donation
No matter if it’s your first time or somewhat of a tradition, making a Christmas donation is a great way to support someone (or something) in the community who may need a helping hand, not to mention a great way to teach family and friends kindness and compassion. There’s no shortage of charities in which you can donate to, but we suggest picking a cause that may be close to your heart or that you’d love to learn more about. Alternatively, have a look at what you’d like to donate – cash, food, clothes or toys, for example – and search for a charity or organisation that accepts these items.
Adopt an animal
According to WWF Australia, the Australian bushfires of 2019/2020 left an estimated 3 billion Australian animals killed or displaced, and up to 7 billion trees destroyed or damaged. Add climate change and deforestation into the mix, and the fate of our native flora and fauna looks bleak. However, thanks to organisations like WWF, the fight to protect our animals and their habitats continues. The best bit is, it’s easy to join the cause, and give a fantastic Christmas gift at the same time. Nature conservationists big and small can pick either a koala, platypus, turtle, tree or an internationally engaged species like a tiger or orangutan to adopt via WWF, with donations going directly to protecting each species from things like disease, deforestation and illegal trade. Depending on the package you choose, you can get your very own soft toy to keep, too.
If you’re looking for presents for under the Christmas tree, take some time to consider the products you plan on purchasing. Have they been made without exploiting people, animals or the environment? Not sure what to look for? Keep an eye out for products that are labelled fair trade, organic, cruelty free and/or sustainably sourced and when in doubt, just ask.
Gifts don’t always have to be wrapped – volunteering is a great way to give back this Christmas and presents an excellent chance to meet new people and actively help those in need. Check in with your local charity organisation for volunteering opportunities, jump into your local Facebook Community Group and ask, or browse listings on volunteering websites like Volunteering WA.
Pay it forward
Whether it’s buying a coffee for the person behind you in the line, helping carry someone’s shopping to their car or just smiling and saying hello – don’t underestimate how far a little kindness can go. In fact, it’s sometimes the simplest of gestures that are often the ones that are the most valued, cherished and remembered. So next time you’ve got some change or a moment to spare, why not spread a little Christmas love and give back this year?