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Christmas is a magical time for a lot of children. But for some, there are no gifts, and no excited wait for Santa; it can be a really tough and lonely time. In fact this year 21,265 children living in poverty won’t receive any presents, according to research conducted by The Childhood Trust.
But there are ways you can bring a smile to a child’s face. From buying Christmas toys for them via Amazon wish lists to funding a pantomime for disabled kids, these ideas aim to ensure no one misses out on the fun.
1. Send A Book Parcel
Each year BookTrust sends out hundreds of book parcels to children who are vulnerable or in care via its Letterbox Club. For some kids, it will be the first time they’ve had a letter or parcel through the post. For others, it will be the first time they’ve ever even owned a book.
This Christmas, people can pay a tenner to fund a book parcel which contains one hardback book, a joke book, a letter from author Jaqueline Wilson and a specially designed postcard by author and illustrator Nick Sharratt. It’s hoped BookTrust will raise enough cash to send more than 11,500 children a gift this Christmas.
2. Check Out Wish Lists
A Dear Santa appeal will ensure over 3,000 young victims of crime will receive a present of their choice this Christmas – all paid for by the generosity of strangers. Embrace, which runs the appeal, is currently generating hundreds of nominations from police officers and safeguarding professionals across the UK.
Children referred for a Dear Santa gift may have suffered trauma as the result of sexual abuse, violence or neglect. Others will have lost a parent or loved one to homicide.
To bring them a tiny bit of joy this December, each child nominated to the service can choose a gift priced between £25 and £50, which is then placed on a unique Amazon wishlist. For example, a 14-year-old impacted by homicide has requested some Nike trainers and a five-year-old affected by domestic violence requested a Lightning McQueen toy.
3. Donate To A Toy Appeal
There are various toy appeals running up and down the UK, but perhaps one of the most well-known is the Salvation Army’s Christmas Present Appeal which runs until mid-December.
To take part, you need to donate new, unwrapped toys and gifts to a local Salvation Army centre. These will be wrapped and distributed to children who might not otherwise receive a Christmas present. Toy ideas include dolls, teddy bears, baby clothes, bath toys, action figures, cars, lorries, DVDs, colouring sets, books, puzzles, educational games and toys.
You can find your nearest centre by using this postcode and place search. Or, failing that, donate new toys to your nearest foodbank.
4. Pay For A Pantomime
Happy Days Children’s Charity, based in Luton, works throughout the year to create special experiences for children who have additional needs, including mental and physical disabilities. Christmas is no different. The charity has been running festive pantomimes since 1992, giving children the opportunity to take part, sing songs and play a character.
Last year, the charity organised a special panto day for more than 6,000 children. But demand is high and there were many more children it was unable to support. From October to December, the charity is trying to raise an extra £30,000 so that it can reach even more children.
To donate, click here.
HumanKind is HuffPost’s celebration of kindness, featuring people who do incredible things for others or the planet – transforming lives through small but significant acts. Get involved by joining us on Facebook. You can also nominate those who deserve to be shouted about by filling in this form or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.