alternative gifts this christmas

If you have placed your Christmas food order and bought and wrapped all your presents, I don’t even want to know about it. I love Christmas with all my heart, but the impending chaos of the weeks prior often leaves me in a bit of a panic. Top of that list of worries is knowing what to buy for my friends and family. I mean, I possibly overthink this a little (If you are lying awake at 3am debating cashmere socks over scarves, does that qualify as a little?) but picking out just the right gift is always so important to me.

As a family we have never been frivolous, and are always so mindful of being grateful for every little thing that we are fortunate to have. We want to live intentionally rather than materialistically, and I think there is no greater challenge to that than the crazy hysteria and last-minute panic buying of the Christmas period.

A few years ago we opted to buy alternative gifts for our family members (I think it was goats from memory!) and they were so delighted with them and the notion of helping others at a time when we are encouraged to be so thankful ourselves. So when Concern got in touch to chat me through their 2017 gifting campaign my ears immediately pricked up. I love the whole ethos behind this idea of alternative gifting, and it’s utterly perfect for those tricky to buy for people in my life too!





Concern Worldwide is a humanitarian organisation which is dedicated to tackling hunger and transforming lives in some of the world’s poorest communities. By choosing an alternative gift you are making a donation in lieu of your recipient, and helping fund some really vital work across the globe. There are numerous areas that you can choose to donate in – from emergency to agricultural support. We opted for the education bundle which includes school fees, school lunches and a school starter kit too.

Being an ex-teacher, education always holds a very special importance for me. I’m so passionate about the fact that we raise children who are informed, able decision makers. That we impart lessons and skills so that they can improve their communities. That applies here, close to home, and it applies elsewhere too. I remember once hearing a saying that went ‘Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach him to fish and you give him an occupation to last a lifetime.’ How true this is for so many aspects of life. Providing skills, teaching, encouraging – those are life-changing qualities.



This little bundle funds school fees for five children for a year. It also affords school supplies so their progress can be tracked and encouraged. And it provides nutritious school lunches too. It’s just a drop in the ocean of need, but it’s starting somewhere. At a time of year when we are bombarded with so much, it’s pretty humbling to think on the difference such a small contribution could make.

If you are struggling with what to buy loved ones this year (and having the early morning socks vs scarf debate too!) then perhaps Concern can help. I know I’m going to be choosing a few more gifts and delivering little gift cards to my family this Christmas.

Because informing our own children also means educating them about the world around us too, doesn’t it? Kindness, social conscience, the art of giving…

That’s Christmas in a nutshell.

E x




  1. November 15, 2017 / 12:12 pm

    hits hard that we complain over materialistic things but all over the world there are children that would give anything to have their basic needs fulfilled. I commented on Anna’s post also, you are both amazing women! i am going to purchased the school fees for my girls teachers this year and i will be encouraging friends and family to do the same

  2. November 16, 2017 / 10:41 am

    ❤️❤️❤️Lovely idea!!!! I went to Uganda back in 2009 as part of a school building project and it was the single most amazing and humbling experience. Many of these people had “nothing” but the sense of community amongst them was something else. The whole village came along for the school opening ceremony-thousands of people. The mums/women helped with food and the men helped us set up. Asa thank you to us they all donated food they had grown in their gardens..a lot of mangos. Some of our party wouldn’t take it saying they needed it to feed their family but the organisation we were with said no-they are proud people and want to thank you. Take it! Hand ups and not hand outs. It took me a long time to adjust when I came home, but it’s funny how quickly you get sucked back into life again and all the little dramas. What a lovely reminder of the simple needs people less fortunate have at such a, lets face it,materialistic time !!

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