09 December 2019

Seasonal segue

Christmas came early this year when I was given a handknit jumper, knit and passed on by a friend who claimed it needed a smaller person to wear it. As someone who simply cannot part with the garments I laboriously knit in the glory days of the 80s and 90s, I value the time and work that goes into handknits and was so happy to give this one a new life. I've been wearing it often.

But on Christmas Jumper Day - Friday 13th, this year - which was set up by Save the Children as a fundraiser in 2012 and has raised over £21million, I'll be following the advice to get my xmas jumper from a charity shop. In fact one such is already to hand! This handknit woollen "Nordic" beauty has been in my cupboard for some years now - I love it - and best of all, it's not specifically "xmassy", but it is special...

We should be rethinking our xmas buying practices, says this article (and many more articles) - but why stop at xmas? "Less is more" all year round, and green isn't just for xmas.

Horror statistics are everywhere, and here are the ones that got me writing this post.
Acrylic, a plastic fibre, was found in 95% of 108 garments currently on sale from 11 high street and online retailers

Acrylic releases nearly 730,000 microfibres per wash, five times more than polyester-cotton blends, a recent study found

Two out of five Christmas jumpers are only worn once over the festive period

One in three adults under 35 buys a new Christmas jumper every year

Especially that last one. How many over-60s buy a Christmas jumper ever??

Christmas is, of course, "a time for giving". A time for buying useless stuff for people who have too much already, in my bah-humbug view. Then comes the post-xmas letdown and the darkest, coldest weather sets in and thousands of kids go to school without breakfast, not to mention all the other evils brought about by lack of, or poor distribution of, resources.

If you've got financial security, how lucky you are. This article, about someone who gives away a huge proportion of his substantial income, was a wake-up call for me. I know I can now afford to be more generous, though this is very different from the decades of frugality growing up in an immigrant (post-war to Canada) family, and then as student, wife of a student, and single mother; you get in the habit of holding on to what you've earned.

But which charities use their donations most effectively?

This article pointed out that charities with less than £5000 of income don't need to be registered - news to me! It has good information about how to assess the effectiveness of a charity, and how to find local charities.

It also points out that if you're a higher rate taxpayer, you can claim back tax on part of the gift aid added to your donation ... ah yes that's the rich taking care of the rich, bah-humbug...

1 comment:

patty a. said...

I don't own any Christmas jumpers or what we call in the states sweaters, but I totally agree it is all too much. My sister is involved with an organization called Compassion. They build community center/churches in many countries around the world to help combat poverty. They focus mostly on children, but also work with the entire family. My sister's church was having a sponsor fair and had over one hundred children that were looking for a sponsor. She sent me the picture of a little 5 year old boy in Peru that was on the critical list because they have been trying for 6 months to get him a sponsor. I jumped in and I am now his sponsor. Like you I try to hold on to my money so that I can retire someday, but I am financially doing fine. When I see how poor this child and his family are and how well off I am by comparison, there is no reason for me not to help. Such a little contribution every month will make a big difference in his life. I don't know how it is in the UK, but here in the states the commercials run constantly on the TV to buy, buy, buy and I am sick of it. We have enough stuff! I was shocked that my sister sponsors eleven children! I knew she had six or seven, but her group has grown! As a sponsor you are also asked to write letters giving the children encouragement to do well in school. I have not heard back from my little fellow yet, but I sent him a second letter and can't wait to hear from him.