As we all know Christmas can be an expensive affair that stretches the purse strings of most families, and while our attention turn to jingle bells, gingerbread lattes and brown paper parcels tied up with string, I always try to keep in mind the real spirit of Christmas, the spirit of giving. Not just presents but love; a time of unity, spreading peace and goodwill. OK I know I sound like a hallmark gift card but I love the warmth that fills the air in December, and the hope and kindness it seems to bring.
As much as I want to give presents that will bring a smile to loved ones eyes, I often wish I could make my money stretch further and help those that need it the most. So when I was introduced to easyfundraising.org.uk and their #morethanagift campaign I was thrilled to get involved and raise money for charity while filling up the stocking.
If you haven’t heard of easyfundraising.org.uk, they are a free, nationwide service, giving charities and good causes the opportunity to raise free donations when their supporters shop online. They have over 55,000 causes registered with the site and by simply shopping with any of their 2,700 registered retailers, including John Lewis, ASOS and Next, you can raise money for your chosen charity – you can find out just how easy it is here. To date, they have raised over £10 million for charities in the UK which is incredible considering it's from our spending sprees.
The hardest part was choosing which amazing charity to raise funds for! After thinking carefully I chose The Julian Trust, a local charity run by volunteers that provide shelter for homeless people in Bristol. Seeing people sleeping on the streets is heart breaking and even more so at Christmas when it's traditionally time for families and friends to come together. As I look at F tucked up in bed all cosy and safe, I think of these unseen people who have fallen through the gaps, spending their nights cold and alone on the streets. Knowing I can make a difference no matter how small gives me hope for change.
Joining was oh so simple, within minutes I had signed up my email address, chosen my charity and installed the EasyFundraising button to my tool bar, allowing prompts to activate a donation while shopping. The next bit was easy, just shop online as normal. I was amazed at how many stores are signed up to donate and as I picked up these pieces from: Oliver Bonas, Urban Outfitter, Marks & Spencers, John Lewis, Asos, Amazon and some of my other faves, I felt happy knowing a percentage of my spend was going straight to the people that need it.
Email alerts tell you what you've raised from each online shop and although I've only raised a small amount from my Christmas shopping, I know that every time I shop online I will be continuing to support The Julian Trust.
Are you thinking about Christmas already? Do you prefer online shopping. I really hope you sign up to this free service and you can share your donations by using the #morethanagift hashtag to help spread the good word. I'd love to hear about the charities close to your heart and see what's in your Christmas stocking.
*This is a collaborative post. All words & opinions are 100% my own.