Embrace the true meaning of Christmas by giving back this season

We’re all a little guilty of only talking about the festive season as a time for parties and frivolity. And while the wishlists and the presents and the tables laden with food are the reality for many of us, for others, Christmas is a time that can put disadvantaged situations under a spotlight — highlighting the real need that some people have for a helping hand. That said, it’s good to remember the true spirit of selflessness that sits at the heart of Christmas, and make an effort to (between the parties) do something for others. Here are three simple ways to start.

Donate to or volunteer at Everybody Eats
As New Zealand’s first pay-as-you-feel restaurant, now with a permanent space in Onehunga, Everybody Eats’ mission to ‘feed bellies not bins’ might not be exclusive to the Christmas period, but it’s a goal that really resonates at this time. While we’re planning our turkey and ham and various Christmas cakes, some Kiwi families are struggling to just put basic food on their tables every day — a discrepancy that Everybody Eats wants to see changed. Help this worthy cause by volunteering in the Everybody Eats kitchen or as waitstaff, or by simply donating. Every $10 will allow Everybody Eats to provide three extra meals to the homeless or food insecure.

Support the Auckland City Mission
The Auckland City Mission plays a huge role in helping Kiwi families in need to have a special Christmas, whether that be with some food on the table, some presents under the tree or some shelter. The mission’s Christmas Day lunch feeds over 1,600 Aucklanders at The Cloud, while the facilities and community centre at its new Hobson Street building are offering services like never before. Right now, the ACM needs donations of non-perishable food and unwrapped, unused gifts for families and children who would otherwise go without this year. See here for more information on how you can help.

Swap the usual stocking fillers for Oxfam’s meaningful gift cards
Cheap and cheerful stocking fillers are outdated. Now, with issues of waste and unchecked consumerism shining a rather unflattering light on the Christmas culture of old, it’s time we started giving in a more meaningful way. Oxfam’s Unwrapped initiative is the perfect way to give a gift that changes lives. Simply choose a card based on the issue you want to help, receive or download it and give it to your friend or loved one. Oxfam, meanwhile, will give the ‘gift’ to a family or community in need on behalf of the receiver. And those warm fuzzies you get from giving a great present? Well, they’ll be bigger than ever. See more information here.

Culture


Sit front row at these online performances of ballet, opera and theatre

6 new luxury hotels to satisfy your wanderlust when it’s time to travel

The long road to artist Toby Raine’s overnight success