In the run up to Christmas, there is no shortage of charities appealing for our attention and, crucially, our money. Christmas cards, calendars and other gifts are marketed and, if it is a cause close to our heart, then we will dig deep and buy some.
But is it really the best way to help a charity: buying things that we don’t necessarily want, products that have taken a certain percentage of the money you are giving to produce?
Of course you could donate the money without expecting anything in return but these days we are so bombarded by charity appeals through the post, on television and online that we are in danger of not knowing who to give to and we end up maybe not giving at all.
There is, thankfully, another way – and it is something that will not just benefit the charities that you donate to but also help another section of society who, to some degree, need a bit of help and support.
Traditionally new year is the time we root around our homes and fill boxes with unwanted items – things that we probably haven’t used in years, gifts we won’t even have looked at ever since we undid the wrapping a few Christmases ago.
Well, how about having this clear out a month early. Have a clear out to declutter your living space in time for the arrival of friends and family over the holiday and donate items to a charity shop, or maybe even several charity shops. They will be grateful for things of good value that you no longer need or have never wanted, from CDs that you now have downloaded onto your smartphone to the jumper that a well-meaning auntie bought you for Christmas 2002.
But the beneficiaries of your gift don’t stop there. For a great many people on a restricted budget, for whatever reason, charity shops provide a way of buying gifts for their loved ones without having to part with too much money. In short, the items you donate will represent something of a bargain – even if that jumper does make you cringe, someone else will love it (honest!) This will save people from maxing out their credit cards at a time of year when there is so much pressure to do so. £1 for a good CD instead of £10 new from a music shop, a few pounds for a game that their children will cherish, the list is an endless as the pile of unwanted things that you donate.
And come January, you won’t have to face doing the dreaded clear out. Indeed, you’ll have plenty of room to store away the piles of dreary celeb autobiographies, that Take That CD you’ll never listen to and those delightful braces that your brother thought would look good with your work shirt.