Because Christmas is not the most wonderful time of the year for everyone.
When we get caught up in the festive spirit and start to get excited about all the food, cosy nights in, fun nights out and great films on the television, we can forget that Christmas is not a joyous occasion for everyone in Ireland. 
 
Christmas is supposed to be the most wonderful time of the year, and for a lot of people, it truly is. However, it is so important to remember that not every child will wake up with a toy from Santa, not every family will sit down to a hearty meal, and not everyone will even have the strength to get out of bed due to poor health. 
 
It’s the season of goodwill, so if those of us who are privileged enough to enjoy Christmas comfortably can give back to those less fortunate, we can make a positive difference to those who need it more than ever this time of year. 

 

#UnderTheTree with Spar

Spar have once again launched their Christmas social media campaign, The Spar Twitter Tree. For every tweet including the hashtag #UnderTheTree, Spar will send a donation to Cystic Fibrosis Ireland (CFI).  Spar have also set up a Christmas tree that relies on tweets with the hastage #UnderTheTree to light it up. This campaign was a huge success last year, and this year Spar are aiming to raise €20,000 for CFI. This is really a fantastic way to get involved in charity this year, and it takes minimal effort that could really go a long way in terms of helping those suffering with cystic fibrosis. 

 

Knitivity

Knitivity is taking place at Beaumont Hospital in Dublin this year, to raise much needed funds for the hospital’s services at what is the busiest time of the year. The hospital will be selling adorable knitted teddies with a choice of Santa, an elf, or a reindeer. Single teddies cost €15 (which come in an attractive gift bag) or all three teddies together cost €40. This is a great initiative to get involved with, as the teddies can make a gorgeous gift for someone. It will also help the staff at Beaumont hospital hopefully make patients better in time for Christmas. 

 

Barnardos Teddy Bear Raffle

Barnardos are holding a Teddy Bear Raffle this year in an effort to raise funds so they can continue their hard work at supporting disadvantaged children. To take part, contact Barnardos on 01 7080464 or teddybear@barnardos.ie. Tickets must be sold at €2 each and raffle must be held by 15th of December. To encourage organisations to take part, every company/school/group that raffles a Barnardos Bear is automatically entered into a draw to win a holiday voucher worth €1000. Barnardos have consistently been a great support network for children who need their help, so raising funds for their excellent services could seriously improve a child’s Christmas.

 

Simon 24hr Carolathon

There is simply no denying that homelessness in this country is a massive issue. Although homeless people need our help and support 365 days a year, at Christmastime when the weather takes a turn, those sleeping rough need it more than ever. It’s also important to support people, including many families with young children, who have no choice but to live in overcrowded houses, with less than ideal living conditions. The Simon Community do fantastic work to help combat homelessness all year round, and at Christmas it is no different. The “24hr Carolathon” takes place on the 15th and 16th of December on Grafton Street in Dublin city. Singers and choirs are encouraged to sign up for a two or three hour slot to sing carols, in the hope there will be continuous singing in the city, which will help raise much needed funds. To get involved, ring 01 6715551 or to support, pop down to Grafton Street on the dates given.

 

Irish Cancer Society Christmas Cards

There is something so heartwarming about writing and receiving Christmas cards from friends and family. How much better would it feel if you knew writing and receiving such cards meant you were raising funds for charity, too? Irish Cancer Society are selling their well-loved Christmas cards again this year. For €6.99 a pack, and with a gorgeous selection ranging from traditional, religious designs to classic Santa designs - and even a pack with puppies on the front - you can help make a difference to cancer research in Ireland. Everyone has been affected by cancer either directly or indirectly, so if carrying out a simple task such as writing Christmas cards can help us tackle it, it can go a long way and really make a positive impact.
 
Although it’s important to realise Christmas isn’t an easy time for everyone, it is equally important to be thankful and enjoy the holidays. However, if those with privilege use it to help someone else out, it can only add to the enjoyment of the season, so spare a thought for others and give something back this Christmas.