A Charity Christmas: Last Minute Gift Ideas

22/12/2015 11:23 GMT | Updated 21/12/2016 10:12 GMT

"Christmas is doing a little something extra for someone." - Charles M. Schulz

This year, although I've just moved into a new house, I've found myself telling family and friends there's nothing I need for Christmas.

Of course there are things I would like, a car, new shoes, jewellery etc. But there really is nothing I feel like I urgently need.

Christmas has gradually evolved over the years and is now considered as a time for giving and showing your appreciation for loved ones and friends. But even this message has been taken out of context on the highstreet, with people being encouraged to spend more and more in a manufactured frenzy to give those they care about an unforgettable Christmas.

According to a recent YouGov poll, British household spending this Christmas is down £24 on last year but is still set to be a huge £796, which will be spent on gifts, food and drink and extras like cards.

And sometimes it's worthwhile taking some time to think about the volume of money being spent on this buying glut and what the money could mean to others.

Here are some festive things a little bit of your money can buy from charities this Christmas:

Oxfam gift cards:

These are a well-known way to buy someone you know a gift card which is a present given to those who need it in their name. They make a great last minute stocking filler or work secret santa gift. They range from £5 - £1,500 and you can buy someone in need anything from a bar of soap to a goat. They can now also be sent as an e-card.

http://www.oxfam.org.uk/shop/oxfam-unwrapped/ecards

Support a sustainable grassroots project:

La Choza Chula is a community development non-profit based in the small fishing town of El Paredón in Guatemala. So far they've built a secondary school and now they're looking to fill it with much needed resources and technology.

Currently they're trying to crowdfund $5,500 for a computer lab for secondary school pupils and teachers. It will also be used to help local businesses promote their companies to tourists.

http://www.lachozachula.org/campaigns/crowdfund-computer-lab/

Buy your gifts second hand:

A great way to save money, get a unique gift from a charity shop and donate to a good cause. Charities like Save The Children and The British Heart Foundation have shops on the highstreet and online selling everything from furniture to stocking filler knick-knacks.

https://www.bhf.org.uk/shop

http://www.savethechildren.org.uk/go-shopping

Support A Local Cause:

This can be anything from a signing up for a small monthly donation for the rest of 2016 to volunteering some of your skills and time. If you do a little research you can find a cause you're passionate about right on your doorstep.

The Bethany Christian Trust is a charity which supports more than 7,000 homeless people living in Edinburgh. It runs a Winter care shelter in churches from October until April each year, a care van which provides hot food to those sleeping rough in the city and a variety of other mentoring and community initiatives for homeless people year-round.

http://www.bethanychristiantrust.com/support-work/

Although many people may appreciate the gift of a charity donation this Christmas, some still prefer an old-fashioned present. With the rise in popularity of craft, vintage and DIY presents, there are now ways to save some money on gifts this festive period. If you would like to save a little money from each gift you buy someone and make your own charity donation, here are some hand-crafted Christmas ideas:

Christmas Hampers:

If you're good at cooking, baking or crafts, a Christmas hamper may be the perfect gift from you to your loved ones. Jams, cookies, cakes, alcohol, juice and festive breads can all feature in your homemade goodie box. Etsy and Pinterest are great sites for some crafty inspiration.

https://www.etsy.com/uk/

https://www.pinterest.com/

Make Your Own Mug:

A quick fix for a late minute present with a personal touch, you can buy all the paints and pens you need and a cool black mug to decorate from Hobbycraft. I did a glittery mug as a fun work secret santa this year and filled it with sweets.

http://www.hobbycraft.co.uk/home-crafts/glass-and-ceramic-painting/ceramic-paint

Knit Something:

A practical way to make a personal gift, eye-catching knitwear is in fashion at the moment. You can opt for something simple like a scarf or mug cosy or if you're a knitting pro, go for a more ambitious jumper or gloves. Find your own unique pattern and idea on Pinterest:

https://uk.pinterest.com/acselnick/knitting-ideas/

Make Some Soap:

The lovely all-natural gift for someone who appreciates personal and useful, Kirsty Allsop's gift sets contain all the ingredients to create your own handmade soaps, bath bombs and lip balms.

http://www.hobbycraft.co.uk/kirstie-allsopp-natural-soap-making-kit/593490-1000

Fairtrade Gifts:

For a mix of a charity donation and a great gift you can opt for Fairtrade. The Fairtrade Foundation ensure that all of their products are sustainable and sourced from workers who are paid fairly.

http://shop.fairtrade.org.uk/

So by saving a small amount of money you could give a little to an important cause. Helping someone who needs it will make you feel good this Christmas too!