Christmas isn’t just about presents. Here are five ways to show people – and the world – that you care.

World Vision
Thanks to our brand partner, World Vision

In 2017, hashtags are the currency of social justice and “caring” about causes.

We’ve got hashtags for every issue every day, which is great for bringing people who have never met and may never meet together at the touch of a button.

And while changing our profile pictures to show our support and posting statuses about issues that are important to us are good things, it can often feel like our actions aren’t cutting through and causing any real change. But we can.

In a world where it’s easy to feel like one person can’t make a difference, each and every one of us has the power to make someone else’s life just that little bit better.

And because Christmas is as good a time as any to start, we’ve rounded up some of the easiest ways to inject some good back into the world.

1. Give a gift that helps someone else.

When we’re surrounded by discarded Christmas wrapping and pavlova, it’s easy to forget about the millions of families going without this Christmas.

There’s got to be an alternative to yet another body wash gift pack or movie voucher. One of my colleagues used to work for World Vision Australia, and she’s a big fan of child sponsorship and other feel-good World Vision gifts that help others.

“Working for World Vision Australia over a number of years allowed me to really understand and appreciate the great work that they do,” she told me. “I could see the real impact that they have first hand, particularly at Christmas. You can choose to be as involved as you want to be – even the smallest gesture can help support a global community.”

It costs $48 a month to give a sponsored child the support to succeed through World Vision. That’s two smashed avos with haloumi or a couple of G&Ts per month – and can be paid whichever way works for you – upfront payments or fortnightly/monthly/quarterly direct debits.

We spend more on our monthly phone bill or personal training without thinking about it – 81.4 percent of every dollar you donate helps children and communities through field programs and advocacy work.

For a lower commitment option, World Vision gift packs allow you to choose from a number of gifts, including future leader programs, new mum gift hampers, helping a woman start a business, art therapy and teaching training, to name a few, making it really easy to give your loved one a gift that will mean something to someone in need.

The range includes meaningful, life-changing gift options priced between $5  and $1450. From school pencils, chickens and eggs, to fire detectors and clean drinking water, every dollar makes a real difference.

Sure, gift cards are good, but they don’t last. Doing your bit towards a cause or issue close to someone else’s heart is a gift that will last a lifetime. You can find out more about the extensive range of World Vision gifts and World Vision Child Sponsorship.

 2. Clean out your wardrobe.

A change of season is often just the excuse we need to do a bit of online shopping. But what about the mountains of clothes collecting dust we no longer need?

Rather than stashing them under the bed or selling them on Facebook, how about donating them? It’s so much easier than selling them online – no flat lay photos and texting back and forth. Just a quick trip to your local charity bin or store, church or community centre.

And if you want to spread the good stuff even further, how about doing a clothes drive at the office or with your family? Because 10 bags of unwanted yet perfectly good clothes will always be better than one.

3. Ask your boss.

An easy way to incorporate charity work into your busy lifestyle is to get involved in company giving.

Many workplaces offer volunteer opportunities through selected not-for-profits that align with their business’ core values. If you feel like it would be a struggle to find extra hours outside of work to give back, ask your boss about how you can work it into your weekly/fortnightly/monthly workflow.

4. Donate your time.

Not everyone has money to give, but our time is just as worthy. Think about how often you spend scrolling on social media every week. By donating as little as an hour of that time spent on your phone towards helping the many Christmas appeals across the country, you can help make someone’s Christmas that bit brighter.

There are volunteer opportunities with a variety of organisations including The Salvation Army, Mission Australia (Christmas in the Park, Perth), The Exodus Foundation (Sydney), Baby Give Back (Queensland) and St Vincent De Paul Society – among many others.

5. Check on the people around you.

Image: Getty.

This one won't cost you a thing, other than a few minutes of your time and undivided attention. While Christmas can be such a joyful time of year, for many it's a day of grief, loss and hardship. Us humans are really good at hiding when we're not feeling so good, which means it takes a bit of extra effort to find out what's really going on inside.

Everyone deserves to be seen, heard and loved, especially at Christmas time. Whether it's a colleague who's moved from interstate, a friend who's lost a loved one, or a neighbour who might be feeling lonely, take a moment to check on the people around you.

A simple 'how are you?', an invitation to a Christmas lunch/dinner/afternoon tea or drink or even a Christmas card is all it takes to let people know they are cared for.

In 2017, we've never had more freedom and opportunity to be change makers. But social media is just one tool at our disposal. Changing your profile picture or sharing a hashtag is a great start, but we can do better.

Do you know of a great way to give back that we've missed? Tell us in the comments!

If you'd like to sponsor a child this Christmas, visit World Vision now.

This content was created with thanks to our brand partner World Vision.

This Christmas, nurture generosity in yourself and your family, by sponsoring a child with World Vision.
Your support will empower your sponsored child’s community to lead their own development.
You’ll help them make lasting changes in critical areas like education and child rights, clean water and sanitation, health and nutrition, and income generation, improving the wellbeing of all children in the community.
By helping your sponsored child’s community to overcome poverty and injustice, you’ll give children in need the chance to grow up and achieve their dreams.
Give a gift that lasts a lifetime and sponsor a child today.

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