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Christmas has always been a time of charitable giving and staying socially conscious. In fact, giving to the less fortunate has become a fixture of many Aussie family Christmases, with many schools and households alike organising their own food drives to ensure that all Australians can enjoy a hearty meal come Christmas Day.
Whilst Australian charity organisations do come to expect an influx in donations around the holiday season, there's no denying that year after year, there are bound to be some issues that aren't given as much media attention or exposure, resulting in many Australians that are in need going forgotten over the holiday season.
Want to make sure you and your family don't leave any of your fellow countrymen out in the cold this Christmas season? Here are a few ways that you can ensure your Christmas generosity extends to Australians in need.
Organise food drives to spread Christmas cheer
As mentioned above, food drives have been apart of Aussie family Christmas celebrations for decades.
The task of collecting groceries and Christmas-themed foods for your own family often occurs alongside simultaneously sourcing an extra jar or tin here and there to ensure that you'll be able to feed more than just your own family this holiday season.
You can participate in food drives organised by your children's schools, or your extended family may opt to organise your own food drive and select your own charitable organisation to make your food donations to.
Another practice that's been gaining in popularity over the last few years, in particular, is the creation of the reverse advent calendar.
This is basically similar to a consumer advent calendar that involves indulging in a little sweet treat every day of December in the lead-up to Christmas, but instead of enjoying a little piece of chocolate for yourself, the idea is that a family in need can unveil another new Christmas treat of their own from a package of twenty-five Christmas-themed foods.
A reverse advent calendar basically allows families that are less fortunate than your own to participate in the excitement and anticipation of the holiday season.
Volunteer in community spaces
Alongside making food-based donations, you and your family may also choose to donate your time.
There are many local community organisations and charitable agencies looking for passionate volunteers around the holiday season, ranging from your local homeless shelter and soup kitchen to animal welfare shelters.
All you need to do to get started is find an organisation that piques your and your family's interests, make an inquiry about volunteering in the lead-up to Christmas, and organise a time, date, and place where you can offer your skills as voluntary workers.
It's also important to note that voluntary work can take on many different forms. If you're volunteering at your local animal shelter, your work may involve taking shelter dogs out for walks and providing care for cats.
Also consider if any members of your family have any other skills that they can offer when volunteering, such as free dog grooming to keep shelter animals comfortable over the holidays. In that case, chances are animal shelters would be highly appreciative of their time.
It's well worth inquiring if you can offer your own personal skills when enquiring about volunteering this Christmas.
Donate Christmas gifts to local hospitals and welfare agencies
When buying Christmas gifts for your children this holiday season, it's well worth keeping in mind that there are thousands of young Australians across the country who may not be as lucky this Christmas.
Many children may not be expecting to receive any Christmas presents this year, whether that be because of their family's circumstances or other factors that may distract from the jovial atmosphere of the holiday season.
This is precisely why local hospitals and child welfare organisations run gift-giving drives. Children who may be spending their time in a hospital bed or other care facility deserve a little unexpected joy this Christmas too, and there's arguably nothing more joyous than receiving a present that's been sent just for you.
Alongside donating physical gifts, cash donations will also be just as valuable and will allow these organisations to provide children in their care with a more than adequate Christmas experience as well!
You can organise your own Christmas fundraiser on behalf of the organisation of your choice to ensure that your donation is as substantial and impactful as possible.
Give charitable gifts to your friends and loved ones
One gift-giving trend that's well worth a try is swapping out your physical Christmas gifts for some truly selfless charitable gifts.
Suppose you have friends or family members that are notoriously tricky to shop for or simply don't really have a want or need for very much that you can provide.
In that case, the chances are high that they'll deeply appreciate a gift that doubles up as a donation made in their name.
There is a myriad of charitable gift-giving opportunities that benefit Australians in need as well.
Charitable gifts can include donating funds to a charity organisation or even in the procurement of select resources for specific communities. A popular charitable gift idea is to buy a goat or cow for a family living in a rural, third-world community.
Just be sure to conduct your own independent research to find a cause and charitable gift that best aligns with the values and concerns of your gift's recipient.
Although Christmas and generosity do go hand-in-hand, the holiday season is by no means the only time in which Australians extend a hand to their fellow countrymen and abroad.
Charitable giving has been on the rise across Australia for the past few years, and especially so in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. It's likely that this Christmas season is likely going to bring a lot of joy and cheer to Aussie families from all walks of life!