To help you choose the best and most appropriate 'helping idea' (or as we like to call it ... Spirit of Christmas activity!) to include in your Letter from Santa we have listed a number of different ideas below. We have also included descriptions and approximate costs for each of the ideas to help make the process of choosing as easy as possible ... and don't forget that you also have the option of including your VERY OWN Spirit of Christmas idea in your Letter from Santa if you so wish!
Once you have decided which Spirit of Christmas activity you would like to include in your letter, simply select this idea on the order page when you go to order your letters.
This is a very simple yet fantastic idea for children (particularly younger children). It simply involves going through old toys, finding ones they no longer play with anymore (that are still in good condition) and giving these toys to a charity such as The Salvation Army, Lifeline, St Vinncent de Paul, charity op shops, charity bins etc. There is no cost to do this idea – just time! It also helps to free up some space for when Santa comes to visit!
This idea simply involves buying a new toy or book for a boy or girl and donating the gift to the Christmas Wishing Tree at Kmart. Kids may love this one, as they get to go shopping! Starting price would probably be around $5 and would only take the time needed to buy the gift and drop it off to your local Wishing Tree. For very young children, you could donate a new toy or book on their behalf.
This can be a great activity for the whole family to get involved in – from choosing the charity right through to going as a family to volunteer! Some good websites to visit to find out more include www.govolunteer.com.au and www.volunteeringnz.org.nz. And if you're feeling adventurous, you can always combine volunteering with your family holiday (see mumsdotravel.com/2013/11/family-volunteering-holidays for more ideas). Some other ideas for volunteering as a family include packing Christmas hampers together (see www.magicmoments.org.au), planting trees, Clean Up Days etc. There is no cost for this idea – just time! If you are having trouble finding a suitable activity, you could even try contacting a charity that you like and asking how you can help them out as a family.
Donate some yummy (non-perishable) food items and help others enjoy a special meal this Christmas! Starting price would probably be around $5 and would only take the time needed to buy the food and drop it off. For more information please visit www.salvationarmy.org.au or www.salvationarmy.org.nz (just search for 'food drive' or 'food bank' to find out more OR google 'salvation army food drive'. They should also have a list here of suggested food items which you can go through with your children to pick out the items that you would like to donate). For very young children, you could donate some food on their behalf.
A great idea for those who love their furry friends! This can be as simple as getting an old blanket or towel from home, or some good quality dog food from the supermarket and dropping it off at a shelter. Some supermarkets also have collection bins for this at the front of their stores. For more information please visit www.rspca.org.au or www.awla.com.au or www.rnzspca.org.nz. For very young children, you could donate on their behalf.
Sponsoring a child through World Vision, The Smith Family or Kids Can (in NZ) can help make a life-long difference to a disadvantaged child (and can be a very fulfilling and exciting activity for the whole family, as you may have the chance to write letters and communicate with your sponsored child!). This is an on-going gift of giving and prices start at $48/month for The Smith Family, $48/month for World Vision ($45/month for World Vision NZ) and $15/month for Kids Can. For more information visit www.worldvision.com.au, www.worldvision.org.nz, www.thesmithfamily.com.au or www.kidscan.org.nz. Donations may be tax deductable for this idea (check with the charity you choose).
This donation can be to any charity of your choice (a list of charities in Australia can be found at www.rememberme.com.au and a list of charities in New Zealand can be found at www.amemorytree.co.nz/donate_to_charity.php). As a family you could sit down and decide on a charity that you would all like to donate to. Any donation amount can be made (from as little $2 for example) and donations can often be made over the phone or internet. Great for all budgets and only takes a short amount of time to do. Donations may also be tax deductable (check with the charity you choose). For very young children, you could donate on their behalf.
Remember, of course, that you can also specify your VERY OWN Spirit of Christmas idea to be included in your child’s Letter from Santa! Other ideas could include helping with the housework, sharing their toys, helping to make dinner, doing the dishes, or donating a shoebox full of goodies to Operation Christmas Child (www.operationchristmaschild.org.au for both AUS and NZ). The possibilities are endless!