Spread some festive cheer this holiday season with these giving-back schemes…
The world can be full of doom and gloom. The stories we hear on the news, read in the paper and online can leave us with a pretty dim view of the world we live in today. That’s why for us here at UK2, the holiday period is one of our favourite times of year.
As we head into December, it’s hard for even Ebenezer Scrooge to escape the festive spirit all around us. People from all backgrounds come together around Christmas time to help those less fortunate than themselves. Christmas is a time for appreciating what he have and giving to those in need.
Recently, science stepped in to have their say on the kindness of humanity, and it’s looking good! A study published this week in the Proceeding of the National Academy of Sciences studied 45 pairs of participants, one of whom had to decide how many electric shocks they would receive to their body for financial gain while knowing that their partner would also receive the shock. The results showed that participants would sacrifice twice as much financial gain to keep their partners from getting shocked than they would do for themselves. Thanks, science, for showing us that there’s some positive news to report.
So, even if just for this afternoon, we’re taking a little doom and gloom out of the news and putting the spotlight on some ways in which the festive spirit is being spread across the globe. Enjoy!
Back in 1891, Captain Joseph McFee decided to tackle poverty over the festive period in San Francisco. He took inspiration from his time in Liverpool where passing boats were able to toss coins into a large kettle to help the poor. McFee placed his own pot at the Oakland Ferry Landing, and the public have ‘Kept the Pot Boiling’ ever since with the kettle drive becoming a Christmas tradition the world over.
The RAK Foundation is a non-profit organisation dedicated to simply spreading kindness across the globe. From wishing someone a nice day and smiling at someone in the street to helping out with local charities, kindness really does spread like wildfire. The RAK Foundation have a team of RAKtivists who have pledged to spread a little cheer where they go. You can check out some of their RAK stories and get involved here.
This year, Marks & Spencer are encouraging random acts of kindness. Their Christmas advert focuses on two fairies who bring a little ‘magic and sparkle’ into people’s lives at Christmas. Following on from this, M&S are sharing ideas for random acts of kindness and giving the opportunity to share yours!
Bob’s Band Aid
This year, Band Aid turns 30! Bob Geldof has once again gathered a team of superstars to release ‘Do They Know It’s Christmas?’, and this year the chorus has undergone a few changes. Instead of calling on the public to just feed those less fortunate this year, Bob and his team are raising funds for the Ebola crisis in West Africa; the chorus calls for us to ‘Feed the world / Feel the world / Feed the world’. Bob has been doing the rounds of local TV and radio shows, urging the public to “download it, delete it and download it again” to raise funds. Buy the song here.
For the 18th consecutive year, the Junior League of London have begun their Holiday Hampers campaign to raise money to provide hampers filled with gifts, food, toiletries and other essentials for underprivileged families and individuals during the holiday period. The hampers are customised to the needs of the recipients, aiming to take the strain off this Christmas and bring a little festive cheer into their lives. So far, the team have raised £2,285 for the cause. You can find out more and donate here.
Across the pond in America, superstore Macy’s is rustling up some festive spirit with their Santa mail scheme. For every letter written to Santa Claus they will donate $1 to the Make-A-Wish foundation which grants the wishes of children with life-threatening illnesses. This year, Macy’s are hoping to break the Guinness World Record for the longest wish list sent to Santa. You can help them reach their goal of a $1,000,000 donation by writing your own letter to Father Christmas here.
Don’t be a Scrooge!
Hopefully, you won’t need the haunting spectres of Christmas past, present and future to scaremonger you into digging deep this Christmas. Even old Ebenezer Scrooge, that “squeezing, wrenching, grasping, scraping, clutching, covetous old sinner”, awakens on Christmas day with joy in his heart and sends an anonymous prize turkey to the Cratchit home for Christmas dinner.