How to add more heart to your Santa sack

Kinderling News & Features

Shevonne Hunt hosts Kinderling Conversation every weekday at 12pm.

Christmas is such a special time. I love Santa, and recreating the magic I experienced as a kid. I know there are many out there who say I’m lying to my kids, that I’m contributing to a consumerist tornedo but you know what? It’s one time of the year when I can spoil my children and I’m going to do that.

And it doesn’t have to be all bad. While I want my kids to learn about giving, they’re too young to understand the whole goat-on-front-of-a-card thing. That may work for older kids, but mine would just dissolve in a flurry of tears (mainly because they won’t actually be getting a goat).

Still. I want to add a bit more heart to my Santa Sack, and I’ve found some gifts that have the double impact of making your child smile and helping someone else in the world.

1. Gorgeous toys that help make a mother’s life easier 

Among the many toys and products sold to raise money for Hamlin Fistula Ethopia, you will find some very cute knitted animals. Last Christmas I bought a Lion Mama and her baby, and a Cheeta Mama and her baby for my kids. 

They are hand-knitted by local women in Zimbabwe and are incredibly well made. Each toy comes with a tag that tells you the name of the animal, and who they were made by.

Hamlin Fistula Ethopia was started by an incredible Australian woman, Dr Catherine Hamlin, and her husband Dr Reg Hamlin in 1974. Many women in Ethiopia endure childbirth for days unassisted, and often end up with a fistula. This fistula causes permanent incontinence, leaving the woman ostracised from her community. Hamlin Fistula Ethopia gives women free surgery, counselling, physiotherapy and loving care. 

2. Buying their favourite book and give to another 

My daughter is currently obsessed with Harry Potter. We always end up renewing each book at the library as we read it over and over. Buying the book outright would save on library late fees. 

Enter Better World Books. These guys will not only give a book to someone in need (when you buy one), they also make sure that your shipping is carbon neutral. 

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You can make sure your kid has their favourite book on hand for that final snuggle on Christmas night, knowing a child somewhere else is enjoying a good book to read. 

3. Toys that help communities in the developing world 

It’s an oldie but a goodie. Oxfam has been sourcing and selling ethically produced goods since 1965. Their aim is to lift people out of poverty by paying a fair price for their goods, and bringing them to you. It’s all about getting local communities around the world into a position of stability and health.

There’s a whole section on music and toys, so there’s a lot to choose from. My favourites are the instruments (check out the Peruvian Occarina whistle - it has to be better than a recorder right?) and there’s an incredible looking Connect Four game made out of wood! 

4. Arts and crafts that will light up disadvantaged schools 

What child doesn’t love to draw, colour and glue? Yoobi have a selection of stationary, including glitter glue pens and colourful gel pens. For every item you buy, they’ll donate another to a school in need (in Australia).

5. A Christmas cake to make the kids smile 

Some people love to cook at Christmas time, and I envy them. Really I do. But I am not a cook, nor do I enjoy it very much. I am, however, a big fan of cakes. 

I’ve used Cake 2 The Rescue a number of times to make amazing cakes for my kids’ birthdays. They’re amazing and easy to make (apart from that time I didn’t read the instructions and used a whole bottle of black colouring dye). 

They happen to have a great selection of Christmas Cakes (I’ve got my eye on Rudolph) that the kids will love.

Cake 2 The Rescue want to give cakes to families in need. They’re donating $10 from every Christmas Cake Kit to a fund that will give birthday cake kits to families doing it tough. It’s through a not-for-profit charity called Puddle Jumpers Inc. 

You get to look like a whiz in the kitchen, the kids get a gorgeous Christmas Cake and you’re contributing to more joy throughout the year! A win all round.