‘Tis The Season of Giving

Randi Weaver – Good Giving Planner

Welcome the season! Christmas, Hanukkah, and Kwanzaa are times of celebration that often include gift giving and that can include giving back to your community as well.

A recent survey revealed that one-in-five people in the UK claimed to donate more at Christmas.  How they define “donate” is key.  It may be true that many people have less cash to donate in these times of economic uncertainty, but there are other ways to share the Christmas spirit with one or a number of charities this festive season.



Charity Christmas cards are a seasonal favourite.  For many, choosing a charity card is an easy way to offer financial support to a favourite cause. But buyer beware. According to a recent Which? Money survey, some retailers are more generous than others in donating a percentage of their profits to good causes.  John Lewis came top overall donating 25% of profits from their own brand cards to good causes.

Some choose a different path in the greetings space: they elect not to send a paper card and to instead donate to their charity of choice of the cost saved, including postage, a trend initiated in, and still embraced by, the corporate sector.


Click for “Cashback to Charity”

For many, the Christmas season starts with shopping for the perfect gifts for under the tree and much of this search-and-selection now takes place online. And the good news is that every gift bought through specific websites will raise money for charity without costing the buyer more.  This is “cashback to charity” and two examples are: www.giveasyoulive.com, with 6,000 retailers and over £23 million raised for charity and www.easyfundraising.org.uk, with over 7,000 brands and over £42 million donated to good causes.

Join with a retailer’s seasonal fundraising

Whether shopping online or in-store, one can choose to give their patronage to a retailer who has a publicised and active charitable giving programme.  One example is Marks & Spencer. They will be donating a portion of the profits from their range of festive food to nine UK charities chosen by celebrities and employees. They aim to donate £2 million this season.

Choose donation-embedded products

Alternatively, shoppers can choose from a wide range of products where the purchase price includes a donation to charity. This is similar to how charity Christmas cards work, but the donation per item sold is generally higher. Look for prominent product displays in-store.

Make charity shops a destination

Whether visiting to choose charity Christmas cards, or perhaps motivated by clearing out the children’s toys in preparation for the visit by Father Christmas, people are more likely to visit a charity shop in the run up to Christmas. In addition to shelves of gently used goods, several charity shops now offer good value lines of new gifts at Christmas and throughout the year.

Charity Catalogues

If you are buying a gift for somebody who already has it all, or you want to buy something different and caring this Christmas, select a virtual gift from a charity catalogue.

Whether offering a villager access to clean drinking water, a mosquito net or 10 chickens, these gifts are fun, high impact and unlikely to be duplicated under the tree.

There is also the option to purchase a charity voucher, which enables the recipient to donate to any one of thousands of UK charities.

Here are some suggested websites: www.goodgifts.org; https://market.unicef.org.uk/inspired-gifts/; www.charityvouchers.org

Attending a Christmas Fair like the ones sponsored by The National Trust (https://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/visit/christmas/christmas-markets-and-winter-fairs) combines family fun and entertainment with an opportunity to shop for unusual presents for those on your gift list. Other events offer seasonal entertainment in the company of celebrity performers and guests, where the ticket price is largely a donation to the charity organiser in support of their year-round work.  One well-known and loved London event is the annual Carol Concert organised by The Prince’s Trust (https://www.princes-trust.org.uk/support-our-work/events/christmas-carol-concert-in-partnetrship-with-Cunard)


One can also support charities at Christmas in the traditional way: by donating money, time, or goods.


Whether making an extra donation to a favoured charity or supporting a new one, donating directly is popular during the holidays.

Many charities run special appeals at Christmas to attract new interest in their year-round work and to hopefully capture some of the generosity of the season, such as: the National Deaf Children’s Society (www.ndcs.org.uk) and Centrepoint (https://centrepoint.org.uk/christmas).


Often people want to share their happiness and positive feelings by offering practical, hands-on help to those less fortunate.  Organisations like Timebank can help arrange volunteering opportunities at Christmas and indeed throughout the year, and charities like Shelter and Crisis at Christmas actively seek extra volunteers during the busy holiday period.


Lastly, the warm-hearted can support charity shops, food banks and soup kitchens with a donation of cash or items from a published wish list.

Included below are links to larger organisations, but most communities will offer local options eager for your support:

Food banks


Soup kitchens


There are many options for giving, and giving back, at the national level or in one’s own community. Practicing the selfless act of giving not only brings a little joy to others, but it will also make the donor feel good. This is a true celebration and a way to share the Christmas spirit — a certainty during these uncertain times.

Next Steps

As always, if you’d like to start a conversation about your charitable and good-giving plans, please contact me at hello@longhurst.co.uk.