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Ten Ways to Kick the Kringle (and still have fun)

Sick of receiving dodgy socks for your office Kris Kringle? Maybe you think you really don’t need that bag of bath salts your Secret Santa is going to hand you?

This year it’s time to Kick the Kringle out the office doors and replace it with a more meaningful Christmas contribution.

Each year an estimated $16.3 million is wasted by workplace Kris Kringles. This money could be used to restore healthy eyes to 200,000 people in the developing world, or to support 1400 homeless Australians.

Here’s the GiveNow approved list of ten ways to Kick the Kringle while still having some fun.

1. Pass the Hat!

Instead of giving out Christmas presents, pass the hat to collect money for a good cause. Pick one of the 4500 good causes listed at GiveNow.com.au You can give as little as $10 or as much as you like via credit card using GiveNow - a commission-free online donations service. The benefit will last longer than a pair of socks, a packet of soaps or box of chocolates and will make a community group’s Christmas a lot better.

2. Set the challenge.

At the start of December, set everyone in the workplace a good-natured “extreme challenge” – to grow a pencil-thin moustache; to jog up to the 20th floor without resting; to have a smoke-free workday; to swap chips for salads every day for a week. A week or so before Christmas bring everyone together to check the results. Everyone has to provide proof of having completed their challenge (take a vote if the proof is ambiguous). Those who have failed pay $20 to a community group via http://www.givenow.com.au/ ; those who have passed only pay $10. Give a prize for those who have gone further than required, those who have taken the most liberty with the wording of the challenge, etc.

3. Make or bake it.

Have people make their own gifts – a plate of biscuits; a hand-knitted scarf; a poem; a song (those without talent at cooking or knitting or poetry or music can crumple up a sheet of A4 and say it’s an origami rock). Charge $5 for people to lodge and/or receive a gift, and donate the money to a community group chosen by popular vote.

4. Paint yourself into a corner.

Get staff members to pair up, give them some paints or crayons and ask them to create a portrait of each other. Hold an auction during your Christmas party and donate the proceeds to a community group of the purchaser’s choice. Drive up the price by promising to display every portrait that goes for less than $10 on the company notice board for the entire month of January.

5. Get physical.

Hold an Office Olympics, with points awarded for the winner of each event. Get your most creative people on the job of coming up with the events – the Get the Sack Race, the Revolving Chair Marathon, Pencil Darts, etc. Entry to each event costs a gold coin, with proceeds going to a community group closest to the heart of the person who collects the most points. Give the winner a trophy to be displayed on their desk and handed back at next year’s event to create some year-long buzz.

6. Give it Away.

Set up a Christmas tree at your office (buy it from a community group – see www.givenow.com.au/givenowweek/xmastrees) and ask for nicely wrapped presents. Find an organisation that could benefit and ask them what sort of things would be most useful – an organisation that helps kids may need toys that can be used as Christmas gifts; a pet shelter could probably use some dog food; a community legal centre might enjoy gifts of office supplies or a supply of biscuits for staff meetings (yep, community groups are really that poor!). If you don’t know a group you can help, go to a Kmart store and place your gifts under a Wishing Tree for welfare groups to distribute.

7. Your presence is your present.

Ask your community group contacts about the sort of skills they could use in the year ahead: it could be accountancy or legal skills, secretarial skills, desktop publishing skills, painting and decorating skills – you never know until you ask the question. Make a list and post it on your noticeboard and ask people to pledge their time by putting their name against a list item. Those who don’t fit any of the requirements may like to make a financial donation instead. Have a look through Our Community’s community-business partnerships help sheets to get some ideas.

8. For the true addicts.

If you can’t manage to Kick the Kringle this year, ensure that your gift-giving helps the community by stipulating that all presents must be purchased at an op-shop, or that they be Fair Trade certificated, or that they be produced and distributed by a community group.

9. Give a good gift.

Consider giving a gift that also has a social or environmental impact. There are heaps of social enterprises with amazing gifts on offer. Have a look at www.goodspender.com.au for products that make a difference.

10. Give a virtual gift.

Another option is to exchange presents that go to people that really need them – go online and buy your Kringle fresh drinking water from Oxfam or fruit trees from Care Australia. The person gets a card saying what’s been given in their name.

Need more help?

Can’t think of a group to connect with? There’s a list of great community causes you can search by interest area or postcode at www.ourcommunity.com.au/directory

Don’t know how to make a donation?There are roughly 2500 community appeals listed at www.givenow.com.au where you can give online commission-free.

Want other ways to give? You can find out about all the many ways you can make a contribution (by giving time, books, toys, furniture, blood, blankets, computers, phones, clothes, etc.) at www.givenow.com.au/otherways