A trip to the dentist, a latrine and a night in a malnutrition ward. Sound like the world’s worst Christmas presents? Not according to figures released today by Present Aid, the ethical gift shop for charity Christian Aid.
As the high street slashes prices in the run up to the Christmas period, it seems Brits are snapping up virtual gifts that benefit some of the world’s poorest people – making us a nation of ‘Yuleanthropists’.
Present Aid sales are defying the high street slump as the charity announces that its latest order figures topple those from the same period last year by almost five times (an increase of 372 per cent). Based on current sales figures, Present Aid is in line to exceed last year’s fundraising total of £2.1 million substantially. One in six of consumers (15 per cent) already buy ethical gifts at Christmas, and this figure is increasing this Yuletide.
This growing trend, called ‘Yuleanthropy’ by Present Aid, means to give ethical gifts at Christmas and comes from the words ‘Yuletide’ and ‘Philanthropy’. The trend has been inspired by celebrity charitable giving throughout 2008, with high profile celebs like Brad Pitt, Angelina Jolie and Bill Gates making it fashionable to have a social conscience.
Daniel Charles, head of Present Aid, said: “You might think that with the economy as it is we’d be seeing a decline in the number of people buying ethical gifts like these over the festive period.
“However, from baby buffalo to cans of worms, watering cans to mosquito nets, it seems Brits are shunning socks and soap on a rope in favour of virtual gifts to help people in the developing world.
“Christian Aid needs these funds more urgently than ever before. As the economic crisis deepens it is the poor who are hit first and hardest and we will see millions more people across the developing world plunged into extreme poverty. With Present Aid you are able to make a significant and genuine difference to people’s lives – more than can be said for many of the novelty gifts that end up gathering dust once Christmas is over.”