Geeks Vs Loneliness: Tis the season

In which we talk about how we can brighten someone else's Christmas.

Hello. As you all know, it’s Christmas. Those of you who are about to go “Well actually, no it isn’t” – shut up. Mentally it’s Christmas, and that’s what counts. It’s Christmas because we’ve started eating too much, drinking too much, doing no work, and watching The Christmas Prince/Angel/Town on a loop.

Since this is the season of giving and goodwill to all men, you might want to consider donating to charity. More specifically, you might want to consider donating toys.

If you’re old like us, you’ll know that Christmas is the most important time of the year when you’re a kid. Counting down the days/minutes/seconds until Santa comes and deposits 300 gifts on your living room. That’s great if you had that kind of childhood, but not everyone gets to have that.

This year, we’d like us Geeks to get together to donate as many toys as possible for kids who aren’t going to get much from Santa. Maybe Santa’s had to cut back to make his shareholders happy, who knows. But if anyone knows about awesome toys, it’s us, so we’ve put together a list of shops and charities that are accepting Christmas toy donations this year.

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A note: Before you buy toys to donate, have a look at what’s needed. Weirdly, donation bins seem to be full of dolls and ponies, with very few things for boys. Maybe ask the staff to see what’s not been donated much, and buy that? Failing that, unisex toys like Lego always do the trick.

Below are a list of stores and charities that are doing Christmas donations, along with their websites if you want to know more. If you know of any others, please leave them in the comments and we’ll do our best to add them. It’s also worth having a look next time you go to your local supermarket: many UK wide chains have a toy donation box at this time of year.

Alternatively, you might want to look at donating toys to your local hospital. We’ve included Great Ormond Street as an example, but the rules may vary depending on your area.

There are also some links to food banks, as well as what they’re looking for in the way of donations.

For example, here’s a list of the top 10 items requested by food banks, according to Tesco:

That’s all very well, but I would also include some fun stuff like selection boxes, and maybe some Christmas booze for the parents. No one wants to be the guy who buys a bag of rice and then goes “Well you should be able to live off that for a week. After all, you have a TV. Are there no poor houses?”

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Would you want to get tinned fish for Christmas? No, you’d want gin. Gin and Lego.

If you’re going to donate to make someone’s Christmas better, then donate a variety of things. Donate toys, food, and booze, because that’s what Christmas is all about.

There are other ways to give this Christmas. If you see a homeless person, buy them something, and stop and talk to them. If you have an elderly neighbour, check in on them to make sure they have someone. Make sure your parents are feeling OK. There’s only so much time you can spend in bed feeling sorry for yourself. Help those around you have a good Christmas, and I guarantee it’ll be worth it.

And don’t buy anyone a “letter writing set”, because that’s rubbish.

Salvation Army Christmas Present Appeal:

B&M Stores: (Not mentioned on their website at the time of writing, but they are accepting toy donations in most branches.)

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Samaritan’s Purse Shoebox Appeal:

Giving World 2019 Toy Appeal:

The Trussell Trust on items in a typical food parcel:

And finally: a list of the most requested foodbank items over Christmas.

Thanks, as always, for reading.

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