So the other day i posted this post about my Grinchiness [or lack thereof] which highlighted that it is not so much Christmas that i don’t like, but how crazy over-the-top consumeristic it is, which in the face of so many people living without in the world, feels pretty horrific. 

# Imagine for a second if every western family in the world for one year set aside all the money they would be spending on presents, decorations and Christmas meals and put that in a big pile and spent it on the homeless, the elderly, health and education – i imagine the stats on what one year’s Christmas money could achieve would be frightening

So at this time of the year i am usually on the lookout for alternative ideas and suggestions to the bankrupting yourself to give people the things they don’t need and maybe want so they will do the same for you. tbV and i are still trying to figure out what our personal Christmas looks like although i am leaning towards having a meal with people who might be on their own on Christmas Eve…

i asked around on the Book of Faces and here are some ideas and suggestions that people had and with a month to go i would love to add more:

Phumzile Mchunu Mokae: Ask the people you know will be getting you something for Christmas to rather get you non-perishable foods to the value of the item they were planning to spend on. I’m doing this for Christmas and for my upcoming wedding. #NoPresentsPolicy.

Hilary Murdoch:  Brett, there’s a bunch of things but something I’m excited about is getting Christmas gifts for @home from home (foster home) kids who are connected with our church.

Shana Kreusch: Sooo, we have a campaign at the moment called A Gift That Matters. You can buy a Christmas card for someone for R50, R100 or R250, and write a message in it for them, and the ‘donation’ goes directly towards a child for either 3 months of numeracy support (R50), 6 sessions of one-on-one counselling support (R100), or 12 weeks of literacy support (R250). Cards can be bought from our offices or on our website (either printed as an actual card, the card download for you to print at home, or an eVoucher to send to someone overseas. 

Kari Cousins: Not being Christian my household does not “celebrate” Christmas in any form but we try to put together at least grocery hamper for Oasis at the end of every year. And think of the dogs and cats and the wonderful people who work at Mdzananda Animal Clinic and include them… Also, a note to those who employ women in their homes to discuss what would be most useful as a bonus or a token of your affection. Never assume that anyone wants or needs what you want or need.


And then Steph Joyce sent me this whole message:


Thanks for all of your posts about christmas grinch stuff 🙂 I’d been pondering the question for a couple days now what can we be doing. how can we do christmas differently this year.

I’ve emailed a couple of organizations, for example Home From Home; and the Orphan care Foundation in Westlake; and the Westlake Church Trust and I simply asked them the question “What is your organization needing as the Christmas season approaches? (not only money and food items, please include anything from cutting things out, to cooking food for parties etc)”.

I am waiting to hear back from them.

The idea that I have needs people to be proactive, and you have a large social media audience so I thought the two could work quite well.

  • I thought that one way that people could help out simply right in their own homes is to clean out their cupboards and chuck out a couple (or a lot) of items of clothing and shoes. (If they could wash them first and if there are items that have a hole please stitch them up first)
  • The other way (which might have some haters lol) is to instead of buying gifts this year; or maybe if thats too much then to use a portion of what you would spend on gifts to buy perishable food items, blankets, toiletries etc.

Those are two of my thoughts that I have. Here’s where I come in. If people would be willing to do those two things, and make sure clothes are clean and stitched; and the food items are bought, then I’m happy to go to fetch these items from their homes (or people can drop them off at my home). I would then be happy to take them to these organizations.

Its really a community project and wouldn’t save the world at all; but it’s a start and would take a lot of help from the community around but i think every bit helps.

Not sure what your thoughts are? Also those were three organizations i know of… if we want to include others thats obviously fine.


Steph []

How about you? Does your family have a tradition that involves those less fortunate than yourselves? Do you have creative ideas about not spending tons of money on presents for those who really don’t need anything? Is there a particular organisation you volunteer with or give money to? Please leave some more ideas in the comments below…