caroline mallan blog author

Caroline Mallan

Former Head of Media

Charities Aid Foundation

Christmas gifts with a charity twist

12 December 2019

CAF was recently asked to help MailOnline to come up with nifty ways to help charitable causes while also making speedy inroads into getting the Christmas shopping sorted. As we gathered up some ideas, I am pleased to report that we were spoilt for choice.

From buying unique products that charities sell directly to customers to finding extra benefits that come along with your regular supermarket shop or directing some of your loyalty points to good causes, your Christmas spending can go a lot further – and do a lot more good - than you might realise.

Here is just a taste of what’s out there:

  • Together: Our Community Cookbook (£9.99) – For the cook on your list - the Duchess of Sussex’s support for the Hubb Community Kitchen, set up by women in the community affected by the tragic Grenfell Tower fire, has enabled the kitchen to expand and proceeds from the sale of the book continue to support the community.
  • Woodland Trust Nature Detectives (£18) – Something for the little ones – an all-season gift that keeps on giving when you enlist them as Nature Detectives. Activities range from building cosy winter homes for insects to butterfly counting in the summer.
  • Brewgooder beer (£20.00 for 12 tins) – For the craft beer fan on your list - nothing says Christmas more than a festive tipple. These brewers have committed to spend 100% of their profits to bring clean drinking water to 1 million people.
  •  Ishkar jewellery and homewares (jewellery from £39 and hand-blown glassware from £68) – starting in Afghanistan but now working with people in war zones around the world, the company works to revive the traditional craftsmanship at risk of being made obsolete by the everyday pressures of conflict.
  • Stand4socks (from £12) – The most requested item by homeless shelters gets a charitable boost. When you buy one pair from a huge selection of cool socks, another pair is donated to the homeless. Or you can direct the proceeds of the sale of your socks to a range of charities both at home or around the world.
  • The ‘Mantra Changes Lives’ initiative works with charities and not-for-profit organisations to create jewellery to raise funds. Mantra then donates 25% of the selling price of pieces to the charity.
  • Dogs Trust and Radley have produced a special range of purses and handbags with 10% of net sale prices going directly to Dogs Trust. So far, they have raised more than £92,000 to help care for vulnerable dogs. 
  • Bottletop bags uses recycled and waste materials to create high-end fashion items, helping to fund health education for young people in Africa.
  • Sana Jardin is the world’s first socially conscious luxury fragrance brand. Buying this fragrance helps them train female jasmine growers around the world, provide them with business training and reducing waste in the production process.
  • Migrateful cookery classes are taught by a refugee, asylum seeker or isolated migrant. This social enterprise offers language and skills training to their chefs, as well as a vital source of income.
  • BuddyBoxes from the Blurt Foundation offer a ‘hug in a box’ and works to increase awareness of depression with one-off and monthly deliveries of ingenious self-care boxes of mini-treats, plus a wide array of cheery stationary and gift ideas.

And there’s even more ways to give as you get ready for the holidays

  • CAF worked with Co-op on their Co-op members programme that directed £17.3m to support community projects across the country in 2018/19 by diverting 1% of all their purchases on selected Co-op own-brand products and services.
  • The Woodland Trust and Sainsbury's work together to donate 1p for every 12 eggs sold to planting trees – so far more than 3.6 million trees have been planted.
  • Credit card and loyalty card points schemes often give you the option of donating some of your points. Sainsbury’s Nectar points can help support Oxfam, while American Express points can be donated to a variety of great charities including the NSPCC.