Please Don’t Buy Socks & Jocks!

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My kids don’t know how lucky they are.

They live in a world where clean water is a given. Where food appears on the table every night like clockwork. Where they can expect to see a doctor if they catch a bug and there’s a couple of dozen professionals just down the road waiting to educate them when they’re old enough. They are so lucky, and yet even I forget sometimes that this isn’t the norm for all kids around the world.

This Christmas I’m putting it out there that maybe we should use the season of giving to make a difference to these less fortunate kids.

We did.

Tracey and I paid for 200 kids to get Polio vaccines. It cost $40 and there will be a card under the tree from Unicef which reads:

To the Devereaux kids

Christmas is all about giving. 

This year we organized on your behalf for 200 kids to receive vaccines against the risk of a disease called Polio so they can grow up and enjoy Christmas too. 

You guys rock!!!

Love Mum & Dad xxx 

I see this as a great opportunity for the kids to learn about how lucky they are and how easy it is to help others who are less fortunate. I mean, $40! And it’s tax deductible.

But if the idea of vaccines doesn’t float your boat, Unicef has some great ideas for gifts which will suit most budgets, from 500 pencils ($16) or 3 story books ($22), to 10,000 water purification tablets ($69) or a bicycle ($120), right up to a water pump ($428) or an emergency tent ($1.776) – and a heap more in between.

So if you don’t know what to buy someone who has everything, or don’t want to buy the usual socks and undies, or, like us, simply want to add something a little selfless under the tree, click over  to Unicef Give Good and check out the many ways you can actually make the world a better place.

After all, Christmas is the time for giving. What’s amazing is how good you’ll feel in return.

UN-Australia logo CMYK-2
photo source: UNICEF/DRCA2011-00205/Asselin
 “Who would you consider giving an Inspired Gift to this Christmas, and why?”
Answer that question in the comments below and instead of winning a prize for themselves, the best four responses to this question will have an Inspired Gift sent on their behalf to children in need. The winners will receive a gift card with a message outlining which gift they sent into the field and how it is destined to help children.  
I have four gifts to assign names to – one for each winner:
120 Sachets of Therapeutic Food – $64 
6 Footballs $43
3 Story Books $22
500 Pencils – $16
And can I ask just one more thing of everybody? Please like and share this blog post on your Facebook and Twitter accounts with your friends and family. We want to get the message out there. These kids really do need our help.
Drawn: 9 Dec 2014

If you enjoyed this post please share, like or comment.

It really does make a difference :) Thanks.

“Raising a family on little more than laughs”


  • Last year I made my then 2YO son pack up a box of toys he no longer played with so he could give the toys to Santa Claus (aka Vinnies) so that Santa can give the toys to other kids and make them happy too.

    Today is the day we are starting the filling a box of toys this year – and will add to it in the next week or so when he thinks about it and decides he really doesn’t need this or that.

    This is our current Christmas tradition – but after seeing your post I think I may have to add to it. Teaching my son to be kind and giving to those less fortunate than us is important and I want to help any way I can.

    Thanks, Bruce & Tracey 🙂

  • I would love to gift the Inspired Gift to my brother and his wife. They are going through financial troubles at the moment, and are expecting their first child in a matter of days. They lose sight of how blessed they are to be living in this country, with access to the health care they have (frequently) needed during this pregnancy, no cost required. They have food on the table, and everything they need for their pending bub.
    I would like to gift them the pencils. The reason behind this is, as children, every year our aunt would gift us pencils, and every year, we would groan and move on. I would like to gift him pencils for other children, in the hope that he would appreciate what a truly special gift pencils actually are.

  • It’s incredible how such a little can go such a long way. I just wrote up my Christmas shopping list, and there are a few blank spaces that could be filled with an inspired gift! But I think I’ll give one to myself in lieu of the usual treat that I don’t need at all. Thanks for the morning inspiration!

  • I have been struggling with how best to implement a spirit of giving in my kids (2 and 4, so this is the first year they really understand). We have been filling boxes with toys and books to donate, we will pop something under the kmart wishing tree for struggling families and this sounds like a perfect reminder on Christmas morning that not everyone is as blessed as we are. Thanks for a great idea Bruce and Tracey, Merry Christmas!

  • I would love to give this to my 4yo son. We have spent a lot of time explaining how lucky we are in Australia, and he has saved some of his pocket money to buy a present for the Kmart Wishing Tree. Knowing he has helped bring joy to more children would make his (and mine!) day.

  • My husband. Because he’s always buying chickens, goats, cows etc on behalf of other people, and it would be nice for something to be bought in his name. Especially if it’s the footballs … he’s English and he bleeds football.

  • Gave a very similar gift last year through Care on behalf of my nephew and niece who are, like most Aussie kids, very, very fortunate children. (Spent about $60 which I what I would have spent on gifts and ‘bought’ school books on behalf of 5 year old nephew who loves to read, and vege seeds & garden tools on behalf of 3 year old niece, who loves her tucker!). Sent the cards to the kids with a little explanation. Soon after received a lecture from my mother who told me that the kids don’t get ‘too much’, that they were too young to understand, and that it was mean of me….
    Incidentally my brother & his wife avoid giving the kids a lot but only because they don’t want to create that habit, the family is actually quite wealthy and the kids receive ample. So what to do this year? Do I just buy the kids a bit of junk to have on the day and which I know their neat freak mum will toss out or do I risk the wrath of grandma again. I didn’t get much feedback from bro & SIL, they live in Sydney, so I had to post the cards. To be honest my gut feeling is to go with a Care or UNICEF gift again, but I suspect I might be leaning that way just to irritate my mother lol!

  • Thanks for the great idea! I have just purchased 200 polio vaccines as well, such an easy practical way to teach the children the gift of giving at Christmas. Merry Christmas!

  • My in-laws. I like practical gifts, so I truly struggle to buy gifts for them when they don’t lack anything. I feel torn between wanting to show appreciation via gifts and not wanting to waste my hard earned money on a gift that will end up at the next garage sale. This gift idea is a win – win for everyone plus more 🙂

  • Each year our family donates toys to the kmart christmas tree appeal. Each of my 3 sons choose a toy that they would like then donate that to a boy the same age as them. My husband and i also donate a gift each to a mum and dad because often christmas appeals forget about the parents doing it tough too. We also donate cans of food every time we go shopping during December to the Foodbank collection point. It’s so easy when its all in the one shopping centre.

  • Sometimes when we think of nice things to do for others at Christmas, we only think of unfortunate children, but we forget about our elderly. The ones in hospital, or a nursing home, or even just the lonely old man or woman in our street, they are just as important to make feel special at Christmas, a small thoughtful gift to them would surely brighten their day just as much as any child.

  • Our kids give the toys they hardly play with to the salvos each year. We have also begun giving gift packs to homeless men’s shelters, as many men are forgotten about. Our kids love knowing that what they do will make a difference for others.
    It would be great for them to see they are making a difference in other people’s lives.

  • My kids- we have 6 and they have no idea how lucky they are- prior to then being born I did a lot of volunteer work administering vaccines in developing countries including polio vaccines. I share this and my kids don’t understand.

  • I would love to give the gift of pencils to the wonderful teachers at our school. They receive so many mugs and chocolates (which I am sure they appreciate), but as teachers I think they would be very touched by this gift.

  • Loved this issue. I finally went back to it tonight and did the same as your family, bought 200 vaccines. I had told my teenagers this year we would be cutting right back on presents and extras because other people weren’t as fortunate as us, and we should do something good for someone else. This was the perfect opportunity thank you, and the kids were impressed that we helped so many people for such little money. Well done.

    • No, thank you guys. And I’m sure those families who receive the immunizations would too if they had the chance.

  • I would love to gift the packs of therapeutic food on behalf of my six year old. She is as healthy as she is today thanks to excellent nutritional and medical care received as a sick infant. It beaks my heart to think of mums holding their little children who fail to thrive, through no fault of their own. All mums want what is best for their kids, no matter where or how they live. From one mothers heart to another xxx

  • I would love to donate the storybooks on behalf of my children. All children should have access to books and be able to develop a love of reading, no matter where they are born and raised.

  • I would like to gift the footballs on behalf of my children (9, 4,3, 0) who are football mad so they can share their love of playing with a footy with others.
    This is a fabulous idea that can help so many.
    We are truly blessed to live in this country without the worry of meeting our basic needs.

  • Every year instead of giving presents to my staff (teachers) at the high school where I work, I organise a gift on their behalf to children in need.
    I would like to give a an extra gift this year on their behalf.

  • What a great idea, we choose & give a gift to the wishing tree each year as part of the kids giving to others & last year we donated school supplies. I’ll look into this, your right kids these days don’t realise just how lucky they are.

  • Thanks for sharing the link, this will be the start of a new tradition for me! Footballs sent for my sports loving Dad, books for my sister who is about to publish her first, vaccs for my brother who has 2 young ones and knows how important they are and pencils, because my youngest 2 love to draw. Christmas sorted and bringing back the true meaning. Im pretty sure we all have enough “stuff”. This is real.

  • The winners – brbrbrbrbrbrbrbrbrbmmmm (that’s a drumroll) Sammy, Angela, Lucy and Amanda – thank you everyone who entered and especially to everyone who took this idea on board and shared or, better yet, purchased an inspired gift for their friends or family. Merry Christmas everyone!!

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