The festive season is – after all – a time of goodwill and there are plenty of fun and creative ways to give something back during Advent and the Christmas holidays.
This weekend, you can embrace the spirit of the season early by joining the crowds at Edinburgh’s Inverleith Park for the eighth Christmas Charity Festival.
Organised by Great Scottish Events, it will include 30 charity stalls and sponsored challenges in the form of 5K and 10K runs, the Edinburgh Christmas Walk and the Golden Tinsel Mile, which offers one, two or three-mile walking routes.
Santa Claus, reindeer and The Stockbridge Pipe Band will open the festival with a colourful parade. Later, a carol performance will be held as hot mince pies and spiced mulled wine are served.
Next Sunday, 9 December, will see thousands of runners donning beards and bobble hats and turning the streets of Glasgow red and white for the annual 5K Santa Dash.
The family-friendly occasion is a vital fundraiser for the Beatson Cancer Charity, which raised in excess of £250,000 last year.
The Santa Dash is open to all ages, though younger children might be more impressed by a personalised letter from the big man himself.
Their wishes can come to life thanks to children’s charity NSPCC, through which personalised letters can be sent from the ‘North Pole’ in exchange for a modest sum of £5.
With spellbinding illustrations, these messages will add an extra touch of magic to many children’s Christmas, while also supporting a charity in their name.
Continuing that support is Save the Children’s UK-wide Christmas Jumper Day. This will take place on 14 December and schools, offices and businesses across the country will wear their finest and most amusing festive knitwear.
Proceeds will help children around the world receive food, healthcare and education. And, what with reports of a big freeze this winter, there will be few woolly excuses not to get involved.
It wouldn’t be Christmas without gift giving and there are a number of ethical markets held each year across the country, each offering unique goodies, to help with this.
At Dundee’s City Square the Ethical Christmas Fair runs from 5 to 22 December and will provide a cornucopia of quirky gifts, fine arts, jewellery and accessories from around the world.
With more than 40 stalls, you are sure to find that ethically-sourced special something.