There are some extremely good reasons to consider an alternative Christmas. There’s the packaging (more than 100,000 tonnes of plastic packaging will be binned on Christmas Day), the wrapping paper (equivalent to 227,000 miles), the food (this year we are set to bin two million kilos of cheese!) and then of course, the presents themselves – endless mountains of clothing, household goods and plastic toys.
With the calls to cut down on waste growing louder by the day, why not give one thing that isn’t a thing? But what are your options? Here are five of our favourites for an alternative Christmas:
1) Preserve an acre of rain forest for £100 – World Land Trust
You can buy an acre of pristine tropical forest, turning this threatened habitat into a protected nature reserve that will provide a safe haven for some of the world’s most threatened wildlife. Every donation to the ‘Buy an Acre programme’ helps save a whole ecosystem. You can buy a quarter of an acre for £25, half an acre for £50, or a full acre for £100.
2) Buy a poultry toolkit including 10 chicks or ducks to help a family in rural India become farmers (£15) – Shivia
Shivia’s Poultry Development Services programme provides the tools and training for families living in poverty to start a small enterprise from home by raising chickens and selling the produce. The programme is particularly aimed at women with children who are often the group most disadvantaged by poverty. When women are empowered to earn the whole family benefits.
3) Buy an advent calendar with a difference (£16.95) – Advent of Change
Billed as the ‘kindest advent calendar in the world’, each of the 24 perforated doors represents a donation to charity and will tell you how your contribution could be used, so you can see exactly how you have changed the world for the better that day. Last year, this advent calendar raised £100,000 for its 24 chosen charities. This year they’ve added a new braille calendar, a child-friendly calendar and a premium calendar.
4) Encourage your children to learn about the environment by joining a conservation camp – Action for Conservation
Action for Conservation runs programmes that aim to give young people aged 12-16 the skills and confidence to run their own environmental change projects and build lifelong connections to the natural world. Your children will spend an all-inclusive week on one of their conservation camps and will return ready to drive change in your community.
5) Help provide a Christmas lunch for young homeless people – New Horizon Youth Centre
For over 50 years, New Horizon Youth Centre has been a force for transforming the lives of vulnerable and homeless young people across London. If you are concerned about the welfare of our most disadvantaged young people, donate this Christmas and help those desperately in need. All contributions, however small, help their work to continue.