Almost half of us are cutting gifts and charity giving this Christmas, new survey shows


A survey published today reveals that adults are tightening their belts this Christmas, and will be spending less on both presents and charitable causes, as money is tight. But buying from social enterprises means people can kill two birds with one stone.

While 43 per cent of those questioned for the poll intend to cut back on the good causes they support, an even greater number - 48 per cent - say they’ll be spending less on Christmas presents for family and friends this year.

Buy Christmas presents from social enterprises and ‘kill two birds with one stone’

The publishers of the poll, Social Enterprise UK, say that people can kill two birds with one stone if they buy their Christmas presents from social enterprises – businesses that exist to make a difference, and reinvest their profits to support environmental and social causes.

There are more than 62,000 businesses of this kind making a positive difference in communities across Britain.  Some well known examples include The People’s Supermarket and Jamie Oliver’s Fifteen London restaurant chain, which both feature in a new short film.

Social Enterprise UK’s drive to promote Xmas-shopper awareness of social enterprise is part of its Society Profits campaign, which is backed by a range of high-profile businesses and organisations.

Peter Holbrook from the campaigning group said:

“With the UK in the financial doldrums lots of people are finding it tough, but they still want to support good causes and buy presents for the people they care about.  A way around the problem is to buy your Christmas presents from social enterprises, which use their profits to make to make a difference.

"You can also feel good about your spending.  Why buy an expensive product from a company that makes millions for its shareholders, but that treats its employees terribly?  When you buy from a social enterprise you’re supporting a business that exists to do the very best by the community and by its staff.  When social enterprises profit, society profits.”

Some social enterprise present ideas

A new bag or purse, or both...

Elvis & Kresse creates stunning life-style accessories by re-engineering genuine de-commissioned British fire brigade hoses which, after a distinguished career fighting fires and saving lives, were otherwise destined for landfill.  50% of profits from the fire-hose line are donated to the Fire Fighters Charity.

Divine chocolate shop

Help to rid your chocolate guilt and buy from Divine, the only Fairtrade chocolate company which is 45% owned by the farmers.  Farmers receive a better deal for their cocoa and additional income to invest in their community, company ownership gives farmers a share of Divine’s profits and a stronger voice in the cocoa industry.

Underwear for the family

Pants to Poverty work with thousands of farmers and factory workers in India to celebrate fashion as a tool to change the world.  This social enterprise has already set up two schools and a technical college and supports another 90 schools and a variety of old age homes and orphanages to share the value they generate. It also pays a living wage, and provides free medical care, nutrition, housing, training opportunities and even self defense and yoga classes.

A fancy dinner

Book you and a loved one dinner at one of Jamie Oliver’s Fifteen restaurants in London, Cornwall or Amsterdam, where disadvantaged young people are given a second chance, and train as chefs.

Antique furniture - ‘Restoring dignity, Producing quality’

Lydia's House sells furniture that brings elegance and refinement to any setting.  This social enterprise works with vulnerable women, training them in restoration of antique and vintage furniture, textiles, and traditional frame-making, as well as the life skills needed to build new and fulfilled lives.