8 ways to make your Christmas more meaningful

Illustration by Twylamae
Words by Alyce Greer

Do something nice.

So you’ve spent all year on the Naughty List. You never once paid for parking while you ran in to grab your takeaway coffee, you sauntered into work late pretty much every day, and you never admitted to your housemate that it was you who ate his lasagne out of the fridge.

But now Christmas is just around the corner, and it’s not looking good for you. You need to get back into Santa’s good books – stat. Well, we’ve got just the thing. Actually, we’ve got eight of them. Here are eight ways you can clean up your act and make your Christmas more meaningful this year. You should probably get started.

1. Look for presents with a purpose

This year, give the candles a rest and buy gifts for your friends and fam that have a purpose and give back to the environment.

When you shop at The Body Shop this Christmas, whether it’s for someone else or *cough cough* yourself, you’ll be helping to protect and re-wild over 10 million square metres of rainforest, as part of the retailer’s Bio-Bridges mission.

What a nice thought to have while you’re soaking in a big bubble bath on Christmas night.

2. Do some volunteer work

If you’re a human being, you’ve probably mentioned once or twice about how you’d love to volunteer someday. You know, really help out someone in need. Can you think of any better time to do so than Christmas?

Whether it’s at your local soup kitchen, aged care home, or any other worthy cause, it’s likely the silly season is their busiest time, so do some research to find out what’s in your area and reach out!

Sadly, for a lot of people, Christmas is also the loneliest time, so you’ll put a smile on someone’s face and feel good that you did something nice while you’re at it.

3. Buy fundraising wrapping paper and cards

Step awaaaaay from the overpriced, not-very-cute Christmas wrapping paper at the supermarket – you can do better than that.

Be organised and buy Christmas wrapping paper and cards that have been designed to raise funds for charitable causes across the Christmas period. Not only is it a lovely thing to do, but these items are generally a lot nicer, and you will probably get brownie points for being a thoughtful grown-up too, so that’s a plus.

This festive season, The Body Shop has collaborated with Amnesty International on a range of gift tags – head into any store and pick up a few to top off your gifts in charitable style. All proceeds will go straight to Amnesty International.

4. Make donations when you purchase gifts

While it’s a nice thought to think about donating to worthy causes throughout the year, it’s another thing entirely to actually follow through with it. I’m not throwing shade; you’re busy, I’m busy and although we have the best intentions, sometimes it just doesn’t work out.

These days, plenty of stores realise we’re a bit hopeless like that, and they help us out. So, when shopping for gifts, look for stores that give the option of adding on a donation to a charity and leave as much as you can – you’ll be giving someone a hand when they probably need it most, plus you’ll feel a nice little buzzy feeling afterwards too.

Alternatively, you can look for stores that make donations on your behalf (like supporting The Body Shop’s Bio-Bridges and Amenesty International initiatives).

5. Get involved with Christmas charity events

Let’s be honest: it’s the silly season. You’re already going to be out and about, swishing Champagne and eating teeny weeny canapés. Why not raise funds while you do it?

Each year, major cities in Australia play host to a bunch of Christmas charity fundraising events, like luncheons and galas.

A quick Google search will tell you exactly what’s happening in your location, and how you can help out… while getting very merry at the same time.

6. Support brands doing good things

We already knew that The Body Shop does incredible things for our planet and the people on it, but this Christmas it’s doing even more – and we can help too.

For example, The Body Shop is teaming up with the Australian Childhood Foundation to bring love back to children affected by the trauma of abuse and violence. The partnership will see The Body Shop donate $20,000 to go towards building a ‘Healing Hearts Garden’ – a place where children can heal and explore their senses in a peaceful environment.

If you needed another reason to buy a bath and body hamper for your mum, this is it.

7. Enlist your friends and fam to join you

If you’re reading this article – and you got this far – it means you’re probably a nice person who is interested in making a difference. Maybe you have some kind-hearted friends and family who are a bit like you?

Most of us have at least one social event over the silly season, which can be used as a platform to raise much-needed funds for charities. Ask your guests to come along and donate to their charity of choice – anything helps!

Another great idea is to arrange with your family to skip presents this year, and each donate the money you would normally spend to a worthy cause you all support.

8. Make someone’s day with a random act of kindness

We’re not saying you need to pay for someone’s entire trolley of Christmas shopping… but even the smallest act of kindness can make someone’s day and help you feel like a Christmas angel. Offer to help someone struggling with their shopping bags, pay for someone’s coffee or take over a fruitcake to Mrs Ferguson across the street. That should get you back onto the Nice List.

This article is brought to you by The Body Shop

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