20 easy ways to give back just by shopping this Christmas

'Tis the season for giving. Yes, we’re buying Christmas gifts left, right and centre (along with a few treats-to-self thrown in for good measure) and it might feel like a stretch to give to charity too, but good news: there are a whole bunch of ways you can give back as you shop. From getting the retailers to give back on your behalf to buying the gifts that keep on giving, get ready to polish that halo.

Have the retailer donate for you

Did you know there are ways you can give back every time you shop? Think of it like cashback, only the cash goes to a charity of your choice, rather than to you. Here are the retailers to know about:

Amazon Smile

Amazon Smile: Link up an Amazon Smileaccount, with your Amazon account. Amazon donates 0.5% of the price of eligible Amazon Smile purchases to a charity of your choice.

M&S Sparks Card 

Getting an M&S Sparks Loyalty Card has loads of benefits - the more Sparks (or points) you collect, the more benefits you unlock - but one of those benefits is that M&S will donate 1p to a selected charity, every time you make a purchase (just don’t forget to scan your card at the till!).

Give back on your food shop

Whether you’re doing your weekly food shop or buying lunch in the week, there are loads of easy ways to give back:

Collect tokens at supermarkets

To support local communities, supermarkets like Waitrose and Sainsburys will give you a token at the end of your shop in-store, which you can then place in a box of the good cause you’d most like to support. The more tokens the cause gets, the bigger donation they receive. Every month, for example, every Waitrose branch will donate £1,000 (£500 in convenience shops) between three local causes that you choose.  

Donate to food collections

Tesco’s Feed the Neighbourhood initiative encourages us all to donate long-life food to charity. Since they ran their first collection in 2012, they have collected over 38 million meals. Their next collections will be taking place between 21st Nov - 3rd Dec in Express stores and 1st - 3rd Dec in Extras, Superstores and Metros. A great way to make room in your cupboards for the big Christmas food shop!

Buy a “suspended Starbucks”

In 2013, Starbucks kickstarted a goodwill initiative to help the homeless: buy a “suspended coffee” and it is banked for someone who needs it. How does it work? When you buy a “suspended coffee”, Starbucks will make an equivalent donation to their charity partner Oasis, which distributes that donation through community hub across the UK.  

Buy charity-sponsored lunches

Permission not to feel too guilty about how much you’re spending at Pret: if you buy from their Christmas sarnies range (their Christmas Lunch sarny is one of the BEST Christmas sandwiches on the high street), a 5p donation is made to homeless charities. Similarly, if you buy from the M&S seasonal range, 5% of the purchase price is donated to homeless charity, Shelter. This partnership has raised £2.3 million since 2005 to fund the Shelter helpline.

Buy charity Christmas cards

An easy way to give back by buying what you need already? Charity Christmas cards. They don’t cost much more, the designs are still gorgeous – the only difference? The money is going to those in need. Here are some of our favourite picks...

Buy gifts that keep on giving

There are loads of great gifts, from fashion to beauty, that make donations to good causes on your behalf. Here are some of our favourites:

Boots & Feel Unique – Look Good Feel Better make-up brushes

New year, new make-up brushes? Get yours from Boots or Feel Unique – they’re offering a selection of brushes, the proceeds of which support the Look Good, Feel better charity, providing practical support to women and teenagers struggling with the visible side effects of cancer treatment.

Aromatherapy Associates – 10% of proceeds go to Defence Against Cancer

Created during her lowest ebb amidst treatment for cancer, Co-Founder and President of Aromatherapy Associates, Geraldine Howard, looked to her oils, seeking to formulate an essence tailored to give her the strength, courage and a positive frame of mind to enable her to face her fears and continue, strong, on the path to wellness. The Aromatherapy Associates Inner Strength line is the result – and 10% of all proceeds are donated to the charity, Defence Against Cancer.

Clarins  – donations to FEED to fight hunger around the world

Clarins have partnered up with charity to FEED to fight hunger around the world. With the purchase of two or more recommended Clarins products, one to be skincare, you’ll receive a FEED10 purse containing a collections of Clarins favourites worth £56. Every FEED10 pouch is worth 10 school meals to those in need.  

Topshop – donations to Key to Freedom, Lady Garden & Fashion Targets Breast Cancer

Topshop have a number of collections, which allow you to make donations to great causes as you shop. There’s the Lady Garden line, which helps to raise awareness amongst young women about gynaecological cancer and its symptoms. Topshop partner with Key to Freedom to launch bags, scarves and kimonos – the proceeds of which go to the Women’s Interlink Foundation in India, which provides refuge for women whose lives have been affected by human trafficking and domestic violence. Finally, every year Topshop create an exclusive collection of which 30% of the proceeds are donated to the UK’s largest breast cancer charity, Fashion Targets Breast Cancer.

Estee Lauder – 20% of proceeds to Breast Cancer Research Foundation

Gift this gorgeous Estee Lauder Pink Perfection Colour Collection to someone and 20% of the retail price will be donated to the Breast Cancer Research Foundation.

Jo Malone – supporting community gardens to tackle mental ill health

Jo Malone support people living with mental ill health through the cultivation and care of therapeutic scented gardens. Working with dedicated charity partners, they support the creation of peaceful, safe havens for rehabilitation. This year, their Peony & Moss Charity Candle will help to fund a new project in London with St Mungo’s, as well as helping to maintain and further develop their existing charity gardens.

The Body Shop – help protect endangered species and restore the rainforest

The Body Shop will make a contribution of 4p for every specially selected Christmas gift you buy. They’re aiming to raise £200,000 this year, which will be split between three countries. 58% will continue to support their original project in Vietnam, while 42% will be split equally between Bio-Bridge and animal protection projects in Indonesia & Malaysia. Their goal is to raise 14 million square metres worth of funds by the end of 2016.

M·A·C – 100% of proceeds donated to M·A·C Aids Fund

Buy anything from M·A·C’s Viva Glam collection and 100% of proceeds will be donated to the M·A·C Aids Fund. The fund supports organizations around the world that provide a wide range of services to people living with HIV/AIDS. To date, the M·A·C AIDS Fund has raised over $400 million exclusively through the sale of the Viva Glam collection, donating 100% of the sale price to fight HIV/AIDS.

Oliver Bonas – donations to Willow to bring unforgettable experiences to the seriously ill

For the last two years, Oliver Bonas have partnered with Willow – a charity working to bring unforgettable experiences to seriously ill young adults aged 16 to 40. A donation of £1 from the sale of their Small Exotic Fig Scented Candle, £2 from their Large Exotic Fig Scented Candle and all fees for carrier bags goes directly to Willow. To date, this has raised more than £31,000.

Build-a-Bear Workshop – donations to Barnados to support young carers and disadvantaged children

Over the festive season, Build-A-Bear Workshop will be donating over 2,000 bears to Barnardo’s – a charity that supports young carers and disadvantaged children – and will be asking customers if they would like to donate to the charity when they are at the tills. So if you’re planning on gifting a Build-A-Bear, be sure to donate £1 or more at the till.

ASOS Foundation Trust – make a donation to help young adults reach their potential

We’re all guilty of overspending at ASOS! But here’s a way to give back on your next spree: make a donation to the ASOS Foundation Trust. It provides training and support to help disadvantaged, young adults reach their potential, through focused projects in the UK, India and Kenya. I

intu – contribute to a Giving Box in-centre

Next time you head to your local intu centre, look out for our giving boxes! intu Derby, intu Eldon Square, intu Chapelfield, intu Victoria Centre and intu Broadmarsh are helping to raise funds for various charities by encouraging you to buy gifts for those in need. They give you a tag and tell you who you’re shopping for; then all you have to do is find the perfect gift.

Donate your old clothes to retailers

Now is the perfect time of year to make room in your wardrobe for all those January sales purchases you’ll be making. You can take your old, unwanted clothes into retailers like Uniqlo, H&M and M&S. H&M and M&S will give you a £5 voucher to spend every time you donate a bag of old clothes (the clothes need to be from M&S if you’re taking clothes to them, but H&M will accept clothes from any retailer), so there’s a reward in it for you too!

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