How to gift peace and goodwill instead of presents this Christmas

A woman sitting next to a Christmas tree smiles as she puts a Santa hat on a child.

Not too into gift giving this year? Well it turns out you’re not alone, as one in ten Australians said they don’t want a present at all this Christmas, according to Gumtree’s latest report.

Maybe we’re all tired from the craziness that has been 2020. Or maybe we’re simply not as into material things as we once were. Whatever it is, perhaps everyone just needs a change of pace this holiday season. So if you’ve fallen out of love with swapping gifts, why not think about donating your Christmas budget to a worthy cause instead.

We’ve come up with a few ideas to get you started.

Support traditional owners

One thing this year has highlighted is the prejudice and inequality Indigenous Australians still suffer. So, why not be an ally to the traditional owners of this land and donate to an Indigenous organisation or cause this Christmas. 

The Happy Boxes Project, which supports women in remote communities, is even running a ‘Happy Giftmas’ campaign at the moment. A few other suggestions are: Sisters Inside, the Indigenous Literacy Foundation and the Healing Foundation.

Share the love and the food

Collectively Australians wasted $10.3 billion worth of food this year, according to Rabobank’s 2020 Food Waste Report. That figure is bad enough, but even more so when you consider that according to the organisation Foodbank, three in ten Australians now experience food insecurity.

If you want to donate food or a meal this Christmas, some charities to consider are Foodbank, SecondBite (which is doubling donations made before Christmas), OzHarvest and StreetSmart Australia.

Christmas time is playtime

Why not donate a toy to a child who might not be getting a visit from Santa this Christmas. This year has been an especially tough one financially for a lot of people, including young families. So, if you want to help make a child’s Christmas a little more magical, why not check out The Smith Family’s Charity Gift Catalogue. Or, you can pick a charity to donate a toy to through the Simply Giving website.

Make refugees feel welcome

Another way to support those in need this Christmas is to donate to refugee and asylum seeker support centres. 

Some organisations to donate to are Friends of Refugees, the Asylum Seeker Resource Centre, the Refugee Council of Australia and Refugee Voices.

All creatures great and small

If you agree with the Farm Transparency Project that ‘turkeys are for lovin’, not the oven!’, then you might want to spread some much needed cheer to a wild or farm animal rescue sanctuary.

Sponsoring an animal in need would even make a great present for a loved one. Edgar’s Mission in Victoria has a ‘best buddies’ program at the moment, where you can sponsor one of the sanctuaries’ many friendly residents. Other ones to donate to are Where Pigs Fly Farm Sanctuary in New South Wales, Farm Animal Rescue in Queensland or Happy Hooves Farm Sanctuary in Western Australia.

There are so many good causes to donate to and maybe if you pass on some joy, you might even start feelin’ the Christmas spirit yourself.

Want to read more articles like this? Check out our family finances hub, where we cover everything from monthly financial checklists to what Giving Tuesday is all about.