CHRISTMAS is traditionally a time for ‘giving’, and more than ever before, people are looking for ways to give to causes that are close to their hearts. Whether that’s through giving up their time to support a charity’s work, replacing material Christmas presents with a charity donation, or getting creative with Christmas fundraising ideas.
In celebration of Smile Train UK’s 15th anniversary year, and to mark the start of the festive season, we wanted to share 15 fun ways you can get into the Christmas spirit whilst supporting children around the world with clefts.
1. Give the gift of a smile
For those of us who often scratch our heads over what to buy friends and loved ones, donating to Smile Train in place of a material gift is a quick and meaningful way to celebrate ‘the season of goodwill’.
For children living with cleft around the world, the gift of a forever smile might be the best Christmas present they could ask for – and is something that will last forever.
You can donate online here.
2. Channel your inner baker
At Smile Train, we love baking – especially at Christmas time when there are so many festive recipes and ingredients to try.
Why not pop the oven on, tie up your apron and make some delicious gingerbread cookies or mince pies which you can offer to friends and family in return for a small donation to Smile Train.
3. Watch Smile Train’s Christmas Carol Concert
It wouldn’t be Christmas without Smile Train’s annual Christmas Carol Concert, click here to watch: https://www.smiletrain.org.uk/carols.
Filmed at the Grosvenor Chapel in Mayfair (as seen in the classic Christmas film, Love Actually), the concert featured festive performances from the Choir of Grosvenor Chapel, as well as inspiring stories from our inspirational Ambassadors, and hymns from seven of Smile Train’s patient choirs across the world.
The concert is free to watch, but any online donations raised whilst watching it will help us continue providing free cleft surgery and comprehensive cleft care to children globally.
Please watch and support our work.
4. Have a Christmas clear-out
Make space for all your new Christmas presents by decluttering your wardrobe and cupboards and turning your unwanted items into donations – by selling your stuff online.
Whether it’s clothes, DVDs, books, or games, the money you make will help to give a cleft-affected child the opportunity to live a healthy, productive life – filled with lots of smiles!
5. Create your own Christmas tree decorations
Are you partial to a spot of arts and crafts at Christmas time?
If so, why not get creative and design some Christmas tree decorations to sell to your friends and family, donating any funds raised to Smile Train.
Or, if you’re feeling really crafty, you can design your own Christmas wreaths or garlands for the staircase and fireplace.
6. Organise a supermarket bag pack
With the festive season on the horizon, local shops and superstores will be busy helping people to stock up on Christmas staples.
Raise money for Smile Train by organising a supermarket bag pack in your town – not only are you helping your neighbours and local community, but you’ll also be helping children born with cleft worldwide.
7. Offer your gift-wrapping services
Wrapping presents can be very time-consuming, so many people prefer to have their gifts professionally wrapped.
Put your gift-wrapping skills to good use and offer to wrap people’s presents in exchange for a small donation for Smile Train.
8. Consider charity Christmas cards
Fancy sending out some Christmas cards with purpose this year?
Pick from our range of pre-made Christmas cards here, where money from every card bought will go to Smile Train and the children we support.
You even have the option of sending them digitally for those of you trying to be more sustainable!
9. Christmas tree collection
Every January, we find ourselves trying to weave past the discarded Christmas trees lining the pavements following the festive period. Setting up a Christmas tree disposal service alongside your friends and family is a great way to encourage people to donate to Smile Train. All you need is a big car boot and a strong person in your passenger seat.
10. Organise a Christmas quiz
Whether virtual or with a small group in person, a Christmas quiz can be a brilliant way to get people into the festive spirit.
As well as everyone’s favourite ‘name the Christmas song’ round, consider including a Smile Train themed round, so attendees can learn more about the charity their donations are going towards.
11. Wedding favours with a difference
For anyone due to have a winter wedding, replacing your traditional wedding favours with Smile Train favours is a brilliant way to raise money for the charity.
Pop little place cards on each guest’s seat explaining a little about Smile Train and how your donation will be helping children born with cleft lip and palate worldwide.
12. Take a Christmas dip
For those who live by the coast, swapping a cooked breakfast and Buck’s Fizz for a dip in the sea on Christmas morning is a fun way to start the day – and can be turned into a charitable competition too.
Challenge your friends and family to compete in a Christmas swimming race, and ask people for a small donation to take part – with all proceeds going to Smile Train.
13. The 12 days of Christmas – Smile Train style
Put your own spin on ‘The 12 days of Christmas’ by pledging to carry out an act of goodwill in your local community in the 12 days leading up to the big day.
Whether this is organising a litter pick in the area, running a dog walking service, or simply finding ways to make people smile – you can ask people to donate to your cause in exchange for your help and support.
14. Sponsored Santa walk
Host your very own ‘Santa walk’ in your local community to get people in the festive spirit and raise some money for Smile Train. Encourage people to pop on a Santa hat and bring along their friends, families and even dogs!
15. Pop a hot chocolate stand on your front drive
Embrace the wintery weather and set up a hot chocolate stand on your front drive for your neighbours to enjoy. You could offer your visitors a whole host of toppings and ask for a donation to Smile Train in exchange for a warm delicious drink. (We personally love whipped cream, marshmallows and chocolate sprinkles!)
The ways in which you can help us change the world one smile at a time are limitless. How will you choose to support Smile Train this Christmas? For more information on how you can fundraise for Smile Train, please visit: smiletrain.org.uk/get-involved-uk.