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12 ways to give back this Christmas

From a steamy firefighters calendar to Kiwiana pet toys, here's how to give a wonderful gift and support a charity this Christmas

Christmas is not just about receiving gifts but giving back to others and making a difference in their lives. So, if you’re wondering what you can do for charity at Christmas, choose a present that pays it forward or donate to an organisation close to your heart. A charity Christmas gift is also an excellent way to lead by example and teach the younger generation about charitable giving.

Our roundup of favourite charity Christmas gifts for 2023 includes a variety of beautiful initiatives that support deserving people in need, both in Aotearoa and worldwide. Here’s to honouring the true spirit of the festive season by giving back.

12 thoughtful charity Christmas gifts for 2023

1. Purposeful Charity Christmas cards

Specialising in meaningful gifts that help people and communities worldwide in need, CAREgifts allows you to give a thoughtful gift tailored to your recipient’s interests and values. In return, you’ll receive a beautiful Christmas card adorned with an illustration by an artist.

The animal lover in your life will appreciate the gift of a chicken, goat, piglet or beehive to aid families in their farming endeavours.

For the climate-conscious, give the nutritious gift of fruit trees to a community or a veggie garden to a family to help them thrive.

You can even give the gift of sending a girl to school, helping a woman start a small business, or providing tools for a female farmer.

Visit caregifts.org.au to browse a selection of gifts catering to various budgets.

2. A steamy calendar that supports men’s health

Five years since its departure, the viral Kiwi Firefighters Calendar is back. Featuring 12 current and former serving firefighters from around Aotearoa, all profits are donated to Movember, a charity that funds men’s health projects like mental health and prostate cancer.

Just $20, shop the red hot calendar at kiwifirefighterscalendar.co.nz.

3. Iconic Kiwiana pet toys

Beloved animal charity Pet Refuge has partnered with iconic Kiwi toy brand Buzzy Bee to create the first-ever Buzzy Bee soft chew dog toy and cat wand.

These playful gifts are ideal stocking stuffers for the family pet, and the profits go directly towards caring for vulnerable animals whose owners are escaping family violence.

Shop the Buzzy Bee dog toy and cat wand ($25 each) at petrefugegifts.co.nz.

4. A practical, life-saving gift for Kiwi Kids

Westpac Rescue Rashies are brightly coloured rash vests designed to keep children aged 2-8 safe in and around the water this summer.

100% of the purchase price of each rashie will go towards the life-saving work your local Westpac rescue helicopter service undertakes. At checkout, you can donate an extra vest to Water Safety New Zealand’s Water Skills for Life programme to protect children in need.

Buy a Rescue Rashie for $25+postage at westpac.co.nz.

5. The gift of sight

Gift a toy or charity Christmas card to a loved one through The Fred Hollows Foundation. In return, you’ll support valuable treatment and operations ending avoidable blindness and vision impairment in the Pacific.

Visit giftofsight.hollows.org.nz to browse the gift shop.

6. Spread joy and cheer under the Christmas tree

Kmart has kicked off its 30th annual Kmart Wishing Tree Appeal with charity partner The Salvation Army.

Kiwis wanting to get involved can choose a practical gift for children, youth, adults or the elderly and visit their local Kmart store to place it under the Kmart Wishing Tree. With the rising cost of living, recommended presents include backpacks, headphones, games, beauty products, and gift cards.

Spread hope and joy with the Kmart Wishing Tree Appeal by visiting your local Kmart store or donating online at kmart.co.nz/kmartwishingtree.

7. Meaningful presents for Kiwi families

The Salvation Army’s Gifts of Hope allows you to give a variety of meaningful presents to support a family or life-changing service. They include a Christmas food box, a gift under the tree, and a back-to-school pack.

Light up someone’s life by visiting salliesgiftsofhope.org.

8. Putting South Auckland Kidz First

Dave Letele’s BBM Motivation movement and Middlemore Foundation have teamed up to put Kidz First this Christmas. They aim to support 600 South Auckland families with disabled or sick children and give them the Christmas they deserve.

You can donate to the cause, gift a Christmas decoration, or buy a Christmas gift for a Kidz First patient.

Support these incredible children and their hard-working families by visiting kidzfirstchristmas.org.nz.

9. A toy haven for children in need

Run by the Kindness Collective, The Christmas Joy Store is New Zealand’s first social toy store that provides children with the dignity of choice of gifts and treats. As the Kindness Collective is tasked with finding at least 60,000 toys to give to children nationwide, you can donate a new toy at select drop-off locations or give a monetary gift online.

Visit kindness.org.nz to support this joyful cause.

10. A book about an All Black that gives back

Give the gift of new books to children who struggle to access quality literature. Donate books in person or online, or visit a One NZ store to purchase your copy of A One Good Kiwi Story: Ardie Savea for $20, the proceeds of which will go to Kiwi Christmas Books.

Discover more at kiwichristmasbooks.org.nz.

11. Give the gift of entertainment

Purchase an Entertainment app membership for yourself or a loved one and save on dining out, takeaways, activities and more. Even better, 20% of every membership purchased will support the New Zealand Red Cross.

Grab a single or multi-city Entertainment app membership (locations include Auckland, Waikato/Bay of Plenty, Wellington/Manawatu, and Canterbury) at redcross.org.nz.

12. A children’s t-shirt that supports the wellbeing of babies

South Island label Perriam has designed a beautiful organic cotton t-shirt to raise funds for The Nest Collective, a volunteer charity providing free baby essential packs for whānau in need across Aotearoa.

The special-edition t-shirt features a delightful bunny illustration by local wildlife artist Madison Coulter, and is available in sizes from 3 months to 4 years.

Available to purchase via perriam.co.nz for $69, $10 from each t-shirt sale will be donated to The Nest Collective.

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