The gift of giving at the Social Bite Christmas tree- Karen Koren

Christmas is coming and Edinburgh is looking full of festive cheer. It’s amazing how quickly it comes around and how we panic about Christmas shopping, where we’re going to spend Christmas, whether it’s with the grandparents, in-laws or at home alone. Whatever the outcome is, it’s a great time of year and we should embrace it and enjoy all the sentiments that come with it.

By Karen Koren
Thursday, 25th November 2021, 4:14 pm
Hannah Ayre’s Christmas art installation for The Mound
Hannah Ayre’s Christmas art installation for The Mound

I’ve just started thinking about buying presents – I make a list of all the people I need to buy for every year and make sure that our close family all get the same amount of presents to open. At our office we do Secret Santa and only allow a maximum of £10 to be used for each person. That’s the fun part – it’s just a bit scary to see what they think of what you’ve managed to find for them.

There is far too much waste at this time of year – people buying gifts that others don’t want. Better to buy fewer gifts but thoughtful ones rather than lots of plastic toys that break before Christmas is over.

Why not buy gifts for those in need? Social Bite have announced their Festival of Kindness appeal to support those in need over Christmas and the winter months. The aim of the appeal is to raise enough funds to distribute 250,000 meals and essential items in Scotland and throughout the UK.

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Social Bite is raising funds to provide Christmas dinners and emergency food packs, as well as gifts and essential items from warm clothing for rough sleepers to toys for children in homeless accommodation to open on Christmas Day. There’s a target of 300,000 gift donations this year.

We can donate presents to them by visiting their Christmas trees at their sites in Edinburgh, St Andrew Square and Glasgow, Vinicombe Street. There you can place a present under the tree and Social Bite will distribute these presents to homeless people, poor children and families. There are also sites in Aberdeen, Dundee and London as the appeal bids to build on last year’s success.

Donating is the least we can do in this world of abundance, to know that there are thousands of people sleeping rough and families with children that can’t afford a decent meal. It doesn’t bear thinking about. But we can do something about it – a little gesture to make a person’s life better, makes it worthwhile.

For more details of the appeal, visit