Alternative Christmas Gifting: Your MK Charities Christmas Gift Guide

The impact of the pandemic has hit every sector, but perhaps the most considerable impact is on our charity sector. The majority of Charities saw a loss of income during the pandemic, and a third said they experienced a shortage of volunteers. Fortunately many survived but cancelled fundraising events, lack of funding and of course general tightening of purse strings along with increased demand from those in need of support means that charities are still in need of your support.

Last year, Charlotte Moyle and Jo McClaren from MK Charities wrote an excellent guest gift guide with ideas on how you can support local charities through ‘alternative Christmas gifting,’ that is to support charities on someone’s behalf. It’s a great thing to do instead of sending Christmas cards or perhaps someone who doesn’t particularly want for anything this year. It was such a success that I asked them to come back for 2021 with more ideas on how you can support local charities.

In this guide, you will discover some amazing local charities that do essential work within the community and find out how you can support them this Christmas.

Alternative Christmas Gift Ideas from MK Charities

  1. Curly Tails
  2. Headway
  3. Medical Detection Dogs
  4. MK Snap
  5. NAWT Bedfordshire
  6. Ride High
  7. St. Marks Meals
  8. Toybox Charity

Curly Tails

Curly Tails is a local pig sanctuary. It provides pigs with a safe and loving home – and plenty of mud! Like many charities of this kind, they rely on visitors to generate income, but lockdown has cut this funding dramatically. Help them out by sponsoring a pig on behalf of a friend or family member or gift a piggy lover with their very own Curly Tails merchandise!

To sponsor a pig please email contact Curly Tails directly.


Headway Milton Keynes is a local charity supporting adults with brain injury through rehabilitation and social opportunities. 

They have gifts for your loved ones, whether that be getting them equipt for the winter with scarves and knitted hats, Christmas Cards to write a note of appreciation to that special someone, tote bags and so much more. These gifts are created by Headway clients to raise funds in order to continue to support brain injury survivors.

Get in touch via to find out more.

Medical Detection Dogs 

A small charity, creating such a positive and life-saving impact to our local community and beyond, who need help with funding for the day to day running of the charity, care of their dogs and continue to get trainers. These dogs are not just any dogs, they are heroes. They are helpers of the NHS. They are companions who help save lives by smelling the odour of human diseases. Their bio-detection dogs carry out the early diagnosis of cancer and other diseases, whilst their Medical Alert Assistance Dogs are trained to support people with life-threatening health conditions, saving their lives on a daily basis and helping the NHS by keeping them out of the hospital, thus needed now more than ever.

Purchase merchandise for your loved ones including tree decorations, calendars and more by visiting Medical Detection Dogs’ website. Sponsoring a Puppy from just £5 also makes a great gift.

MK Snap

MK Snap, a local Milton Keynes charity that supports adults with learning disabilities are asking for support this Christmas. Their adults have got creative and have created a range of Christmas cards for you to give to a loved one. 

Purchase the Christmas cards via MK Snap’s website.

NAWT Bedfordshire

Don’t know what to get your animal-loving friends and family this Christmas? Why not make a donation to NAWT Bedfordshire (formerly known as HULA Animal Rescue) in their name. The local rescue centre now has gift card options so you can make a donation – and still have something to give your loved one. The small but busy rescue centre rehomed 38% more animals during 2021 than in the same period last year and needs your help now more than ever.

There are two gift cards designs available and you can donate via NAWT’s website.

Ride High

Ride High members have designed a beautiful greetings card to help raise money for the charity. The card was created in the clubroom, borrowing an element of one of our ‘Ride High by Post Packs’ that the children were sent during lockdown. The weekly activity packs were designed to help us maintain contact with the children when they were unable to make their usual weekly visits to Ride High. They provided the children with something positive to focus on during what was an extremely challenging time for them and helped to reduce their feelings of isolation and anxiety.

The beautiful collage on the card is made up of 56 carousel horses, each one decorated by the Ride High Children, and marks a year that we’ll never forget. They worked together to decorate their horses and we then stuck them together to form this beautiful rainbow carousel. The children feel very proud that their artwork has been made into a greetings card.

All proceeds from the greetings cards will support Ride High’s charitable work to transform the lives of disadvantaged children in Milton Keynes, through teaching them to ride horses and other creative projects that help develop their confidence and skills.

Please call 01908 696169 or email to order your cards. Cards can be collected from Ride High in Loughton, Milton Keynes, or can be posted to you for an additional charge.

St Marks Meals

St Marks Meals, part of St Marks MK, a church in Milton Keynes, are a charity that hands out boxes containing a recipe card and all the ingredients to help a family in Milton Keynes. These boxes are handed to schools as well as the community to ensure no child goes hungry and are easy to make recipes with hot and healthy ingredients.

St Mark’s Meals is on a mission to make sure no child goes hungry in Milton Keynes and they need your support. You can gift a meal to a child and send a seasonal card to a loved one explaining that you have done this on their behalf. You’ll be making a difference to a child this Christmas.

Donate a meal via St. Marks website.

Toybox Charity

Bletchley based children’s charity Toybox is one of 48 charities chosen by Advent of Change to be part of their Christmas collection available in John Lewis and Waitrose stores nationwide. 

Toybox is part of a unique product line-up for Christmas 2021. The feel-good festive range has been revealed in partnership with John Lewis by the non-profit social enterprise, Advent of Change, which pioneered the UK’s first advent calendar with a charity behind each door.

Toybox is included in the Charity Advent calendar, Advent candle and Charity Christmas bauble, just part of the growing collection, this year once again supporting charities from all around the world. Give back as you count down to Christmas – your purchase will donate towards a new charity behind each calendar door, explaining what your donation has given. 

Last year the collection raised £235,000 totalling £545,000 across the first three years which Advent of Change has been up and running.

The Advent of Change collection offers a sustainable alternative at Christmas, from the items themselves to the packaging, not only do these products give back, but they fully support a more sustainable Christmas. The candle is 100% natural wax, the crackers and calendars are plastic-free and recyclable.

The full range is available to buy online via the Advent of Change website and John Lewis & Partners

About MK Charities 

MK Charities was founded at the beginning of the pandemic after realising just how many charities are going to need support from our community. They are here to connect the dots and create opportunities for charities in Milton Keynes to raise their online presence. For more information go to

A big thank you to Charlotte for putting this guide together! I hope it helps those of you who want to support causes closer to home this Christmas.

What charities will you support this Christmas?

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