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5 easy ways to give back this Christmas

It doesn’t take much to make a big impact


For most of us, Christmas involves gift-wrapping, Michael Bublé on repeat and turning the exterior of your house into what could only be described as festive Las Vegas chic.

However, while we’re munching down on choc-covered sultanas and arguing with Uncle Colin that his mobile phone probably isn’t under CIA surveillance, there are Australians across the country with empty plates and bare Christmas trees.
It doesn’t take much to make a big impact on the life of someone else; so this year, we’ve put together five simple ways you and your family can make someone else’s Christmas a little more magical.

1. Fill a bag

Run by nib foundation partner Share the Dignity, the ‘It’s in the Bag’ Christmas collection aims to make life better for a woman or girl experiencing homelessness or poverty. Simply grab a handbag (it could be new or lightly used) and fill it with practical things like shampoo, sanitary items, toothbrushes and deodorant – then throw in a few little luxuries (maybe a book, some nail polish or a scarf) to make it extra special. Visit the Share the Dignity website for more information.

2. Get recycling

In Australia, we have a number of recycling programs that reward you for returning your drink containers with cash. This Christmas, get the kids involved and encourage them to collect containers from around the house (even better if it’s from the local park or beach) and donate the money they make to their favourite charity. You’ll be helping the environment, helping a charity and teaching your children a valuable lesson! Head to Planet Ark’s Container Deposit Schemes page for more information on your state’s incentives.

3. Place a gift under someone else’s tree

The Kmart and Salvation Army Wishing Tree has been running since the 80s and has provided millions of gifts to Aussies doing it tough. It’s so simple to participate; just grab a gift (the website recommends practical gifts) and pop it under the Christmas tree at your local Kmart. Santa (or one of his trusted representatives) will collect and distribute to those in need.

4. Foster a pet

Unfortunately, Christmas can be a tough time for our furry friends, with three pets abandoned every hour over the holiday period. Help make a difference by signing up to the RSPCA’s foster care program and provide a temporary home to an animal in need. The program runs across the country in both metropolitan and regional areas and we reckon that once you start fostering, you’ll realise that the pets won’t be the only ones having a ball.

5. Ask around

Giving back doesn’t have to be done through an official charity – most of us know of someone in our local community who’s struggling. Whether it’s someone who’s been diagnosed with cancer or someone who’s just lost their job, the simple act of baking them a casserole or offering to mow their lawn could help out a lot.

Once you’ve got the volunteering sorted, it’s time to read up on tips for staying healthy this Christmas (because we all know how hard it is to say ‘no’ to that second plate of roast turkey). Check out our article 5 health tips to surviving the silly season.

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