The Greatest Gifts

A haul of presents is a delight for your child, but the festive season is also a time to encourage generosity and embrace the true spirit of Christmas…Giving.

“No one is useless in this world who lightens the burdens of another.” – Charles Dickens

The Spirit of Christmas

  • Be a good role model. Teaching by example is one of the most effective ways to influence your child’s behaviour. Let them see your caring side.
  • Think of others. When your child recites their wish list, ask them what they think other members of the family would like too.
  • Recycle old toys. Okay, this is hard. Getting children to give up toys is like pulling teeth but if you can, adopt a one-in-one-out policy and encourage them to donate toys no longer played with to a charity or younger cousins or friends.
  • Pile on the praise. Recognise when your child displays generous behaviour and tell them how happy it makes you.

The romantic notion is that Christmas is a time of loving and giving, but ask any child what it means to them and chances are that receiving a huge pile of presents comes top of the list. Children however are naturally very generous. Watch any child toss a coin in a charity collection box or bring in a gift for teacher and you can see the sense of joy it brings. Altruistic children become altruistic adults so let the kids pick a few gifts for the special people in their lives this year that keep on giving and have a conversation with them about how their choice of gift can really help change lives…

The Big Issue, established 25 years ago, was a pioneer for social trading and has enabled thousands of people to achieve life-enhancing steps forward in their journeys away from poverty and social exclusion. It has now developed an e-commerce marketplace encouraging “socially-conscious shopping” and part of this online shop features a fab selection of baby/children’s wear.

Founder and editor-in-chief of The Big Issue Lord John Bird says ‘It’s a very special shop because what we sell helps. It helps you because it’s something that you want to buy. It helps us because it gives us income for our work. And it helps the people who make the stuff that we sell to you! It’s a virtuous circle. Winners all around. And it’s all social trading’.

From Babies with Love is the award-winning baby brand that donates 100% of its profits to orphaned and abandoned children around the world. The profits from the design-led, ethically sourced range of products support the children to grow up in loving family homes dedicated children’s villages. The children have an SOS Mother, brothers and sisters, recreating a family unit and supporting the children to go on to independent adult lives, breaking the cycle of poverty.
Find at


Can’t decide on the perfect present to say thank you to a teacher, childminder or carer? Oxfam has launched its seasonal range of Unwrapped alternative gift cards of thoughtful ideas that spread happiness around the world. The gift of Long Life Learning (£10) fights for education for young people, including orphans and vulnerable boys and girls. Educate a Girl (£19) gives girls the opportunity they deserve to attend school or Care for Mums and Babies (£16) provides better, more affordable health care so more young families can call on fully trained doctors, midwives or birth attendants – no matter where they live. You receive a card, which you can personalise, letting the recipient know about the wonderful gift you have given in their name. Buy at

For animal lovers who adore pandas, lions and chimpanzees, but realise keeping one for a pet would probably be a bit problematic, why not consider giving them the gift of adoption from Edinburgh Zoo or the Highland Wildlife Park? There are four different levels of adoption* to choose from starting at £40 and over 200 species. Your loved one will receive a personalised pack of materials all about their adopted animal and an invitation to a special adopter’s event.

Or how about making Christmas special for our four-legged or feathered friends? RZSS Edinburgh Zoo would love to receive rubber spiders or snakes for their birds of prey shows or the sun bears love boomer balls. And if granny knits an extra jumper this year, or come the new year you have no need of a festive sweater the chimps and monkeys would be so grateful to use them as snuggle blankets. Find out more at

Nature lovers will be flying high with a unique gift from the Scottish Seabird Centre. Adopt a puffin, Bass Rock gannet family, or seal for just £30 and receive an adoption gift pack including an A5 poster, adoption certificate, fact sheet, cuddly toy and for a limited period a free family pass for two adults and two children to the Discovery Centre.

And you can visit the new addition to your family to see how they are getting on. Watch live on camera the fascinating behaviour of gannets who return to the same mate and nest each year, spot a puffin or witness the birth of seal pups who are born during November and December.

Find out more about adoption or order at

*Order by December 5 for guaranteed delivery by Christmas.

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