Christmas, it means something different to us all. With one single splutter of the ‘C’ word some people’s minds might go right to Yorkshire puddings and the Gavin and Stacey Christmas special. For others, it’s about Midnight Mass and Christmas carols. For many, the enjoyment comes from the unwrapping of presents and gorging through your selection boxes before 9am. But when you think of Christmas, do you think of the giving? Do you enjoy the giving? On the twelfth and final post in my #12BlogsOfChristmas series, I want to encourage you to enjoy gifting to a charity, organisation or individual who needs some help this Christmas, because it is a time for giving after all. Here’s the three charities that I’ll be sending a donation too this Christmas:
Elephant park Phuket, Thailand.
Whilst in Thailand on Holiday this month, I visited the Elephant Park Sanctuary in Phuket and had the incredible opportunity to interact with these gorgeous animals in their own habitat. All of the four female elephants at the sanctuary had been rescued from the entertainment or logging industry, and had to be nursed back to help. The work that the owners and keepers are doing is nothing short of Angel work. It is clear to see they’re putting their heart and soul into giving these creatures a respectful and dignified spot of paradise for them to retire in.
The tourist demand to see elephants in shows and go elephant trekking is still high in Thailand, everywhere you look these activities are advertised, but many are unaware or choose to ignore the torture that these animals are put through to be working in such unnatural environments. The only way this will end is when the demand ends too. I had the opportunity to feed the gentle lady elephants and watch them graze in the trees. The hurt these animals have been through is heartbreaking, but thankfully there are beautiful souls out there who are dedicating their life to rescuing these animals. But looking after elephants is not cheap, and the small sanctuary need all the help they can get. If you’re visiting Phuket, please go and visit them and see for yourself the amazing work that the keepers do. If you’re not planning a trip anytime soon, then have a jingle around your pockets and try and find some change for these beautiful animals. Donate and find out more about the Elephant Park in Phuket here.
Help for Heroes
This is a charity which has been close to my heart for many years, coming from a family with a strong military background. From the Hot Shots Calendar to fundraising, bucket shaking and tackling the Big Battlefield Bike Rides for two years in a row- a 350 miles bike ride through historical sights in France – I am always happy to lend my time to this wonderful veterans charity. Most recently, I attended an influencer day at Tedworth House Recovery Centre to help launch Help for Heroes’ newest clothing collaboration with Debenhams.
We tried our hand at wheelchair basketball, which is a great sport veterans to try out during their recovery. Unfortunately all those lunch times spent at netball practice in school didn’t pay off, and our team lost, but we had such an inspiring day that 8 was able to push my competitiveness to the side for the one afternoon. This charity was only meant to be a six month project, and now ten years on it is changing the lives of thousands of veterans and their families for the better. For more info and to donate click here
The Donkey Sanctuary
Because nothing says Christmas like seeing a beautiful happy donkey. I visited the Donkey Sanctuary in Sidmouth last year and it was such a heart-warming experience. There are hundreds of donkeys here, all rescued from the trade or from owners who couldn’t look after them. They jump, they skip, then run, they make a hell of a lot noise, and they love the attention from humans.
The charity has been going for donkeys years now (I’ll see myself out) and have saved donkeys all around the world from abuse and upset. There are so many ways you can help this sanctuary, such as buying from their flurry of gifts (perfect for Christmas!), or adopt a donkey and send it to your loved one as a present this Christmas. For more info, check here:
Remember, Christmas isn’t all about the mince pies and baileys; There are millions of people and animals out there who need a help this time of year. You don’t have to have wads of cash to donate, charities mean it when they say ‘every little helps’. Let me know what charities you’re supporting in the comment section below!