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Top 10 Charity Christmas Gifts

By Kate Maunder on 17 Dec 2014

Money Advice Service conducted a 2014 Christmas spending survey which found that the average adult spends £530 on their festive celebrations which equates to a total spend of £26 billion on Christmas food and drinks, gifts, decorations etc. 

More people are turning to online shopping for Christmas presents, to avoid the crowds and get the best deals around. Many charities offer some kind of alternative gift, such as virtual gifts, which appeals to people for a variety of reasons; they are ideal for people that have everything, they are different, they support a charity and make them feel good.

The idea is simple; you donate money to your chosen charity on behalf of the recipient. In return the charity sends them a thank you note, or Christmas card (either in the post or an ecard) along with any certificates (if sponsorship) and sometimes a free gift, such as a cuddly toy or keyring.

This month we look at which charities offer the best gifts, in terms of variety of gifts and prices and gifts with a connection to their charity.



Good Gifts

100% of your donation goes straight to the charity you choose to support. They used to charge a handling fee, but now use Gift Aid to keep the site running. You receive a keepsake card bearing a description of the gift, which can be personalised.

Gifts include: Advent calendars, £14.95, Gift of sight for a child, £30,  Christmas hampers for elderly people, £25.


Age International - Cows ‘n’ Things

All donations to this appeal will support Age International’s charitable work overseas. For every ethical gift purchased a gift card or ecard will be sent to you or the recipient.

Gifts Include:  Starting at £5 for a gift of a chicken, fruit tree, mosquito nets, rising to gifts of £140 for an irrigation system.


CAFOD – World Gifts

Over 88p per £1 donated goes to the international emergency and development work. You receive an illustrated card of your chosen gift, with a presentation gift envelope to give to your recipient. Alternatively a personalised ecard can be sent.

All gifts are related to helping transform the lives of communities and families fighting poverty. Gifts include: Teaching someone to read, £10, a meal for someone in poverty, £8, immunise a child, £14, rising to £80 for a chicken breeding farm and £5000 to protect a community at risk.


Oxfam - Unwrapped

82p per every £1 donated goes directly to the emergency, development and campaigning work, 9p is spent on support costs and 9p is invested to generate future revenue. You can opt for a personalised gift card or ecard.

Gifts include: Feed a family, £7, educate a child, £19, Plant an allotment, £24, rising to safe water for a school, £1,670. At the time of writing, Oxfam were also offering free chocolate spoon for every unwrapped purchase, while stocks last.


Unicef – Inspired Gifts

Your donation goes towards your selected choice of gift, however sometimes a substitute will be made based on current needs of the charity. You can personalise a gift card to send and Unicef will deliver the gift.

Gifts include: Gifts range from mums and babies, to clean, safe water, nutritious food, life-saving vaccines and in memory gifts, ranging from £10 up to £1,525.


CentrePoint – More than a gift

The gifts are examples of how the money could be used and the money will be spent where the need is greatest, including food, accommodation and vital support. The recipient receives a token of your gift by post or email.

Gifts include: £5 to provide a Christmas dinner for a young person, £20 for more than a health check, rising to £1600 to help a homeless young person make the final step to independence towards rent. 



All money donated to Macmillan via gifts will be used to fund their vital work; the gifts are examples of how money could be used.  Sales of gifts will fund Macmillan nurses, run their support line and provide information and grants to people with cancer. You will receive an uplifting card to give to the recipient, detailing the gift you made.

Gifts include:  Children’s books £5, Dvds £10, an hour of care £27, A liquidiser £50, Gift of time £260, rising to a month of care £4,500.


RNLI – Lifesaving Gifts

RNLI use money from gifts where the need is greatest. You’ll get a card/ecard explaining the value of the gift and how it benefits RNLI’s work, this can be personalised and sent straight to the recipient.

Gifts include: Writing in the rain notepad £10, protect a crew member’s hands at sea £20, Dress a lifeguard £45, Protection for Rough Sea £194.


The Children’s Society – Alternative Christmas Gifts

The Children’s Society will use money from the gifts where the need is greatest. They will send you a card to send out to the recipient, including a fridge magnet.

Gifts include: A Christmas present for a child, £7, an outing for a child, £12, a Christmas party for 5 children, £50, an outing for five children, £60


Barnardo’s Real Gifts

Barnardo’s Real Gifts are ethical gifts, where the money spent on a gift goes towards supporting the vital work Barnardo’s do. The recipient receives a card and magnet by post or an e-card by email.

Gifts include: Real meal, real dinner, £10, Christmas dinner & ice-skating, £25, one-on-one help & advice, £90, equipment for children with learning difficulties, £1,500.




Many charities have a variety of general gifts, where the recipient receives the gift you purchase. With many of these, the charity does not receive as much of the money. Many of these gifts are related to their cause, so if you know someone’s interest you can buy a relevant gift. For example Guide Dogs have many dog related gifts for dog owners.

Do you have a favourite charity Christmas gift? Post a link in the comments below.