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Sophie Hewitt
25th September 2023

We all know Christmas is about so much more than presents and food and drink; it’s about gathering together, charity, and truly being part of a community. This year, on top of the Christmas markets, Christmas events and light trails, we’re sharing our top ways to give back to the local community, whether through Santa runs, Boxing Day dips, or simply buying gifts and decorations that help benefit those in need. There are so many ways to give back this Christmas, so let’s ditch spending money on unwanted socks, and spread that festive cheer a little wider in Kent. T'is the season for giving. 

Christmas tree

Christmas trees payback

We’ll start with the Christmas tree, shall we? This year, why not switch the big chain garden center tree for a locally-grown Nordmann Fir that actually benefits charity. Pick up your tree from our favourite food hall, Macknade, and 5% of the proceeds will go straight to Kent-based charity Pilgrims Hospice, which provides care and support to those living with an incurable illness. Each of the trees has been grown at local Rolvenden’s Hole Park Estate, ranging from potted trees, to other varieties in a range of styles and sizes. Finish up with a little Christmas food shop, and pick up your perfect locally-sourced gifts and treats for the season.

Wild swimming

Deal Dip

The Deal Rotary Ice Breakers Boxing Day Dip may not actually require you to break through any ice (we hope), but we can guarantee it will certainly give you a few goosebumps! With all money raised going straight to local charities, it’s certainly worth taking the plunge with this one. So sign up, blow away the Christmas Day cobwebs, and dive straight into giving back to the local community.

Volunteering at Chiddingstone Castle

Fancy starting the New Year off right? Chiddingstone Castle, a historic house with a whole host of intriguing collections ranging from ancient Egyptian artifacts to Stuart and Jacobite relics, is looking for brand new volunteers. A hidden gem in the pretty village of Edenbridge, the castle relies on volunteers and donations to help protect the collections and provide the best experiences for visitors. Whether you’re an expert or wish to learn new skills, it’s the perfect opportunity to set yourself an early resolution.

Medway's Santa Fun Run

3rd December

Whether you fancy taking on the 5K or the challenge of the 10K, there's going to be all the fun of the festive season at the Santa Fun Run at the Historic Dockyard Chatham this year. Dress up in your Santa suit, and enjoy racing or jogging around the Dockyard at this fantastically fun event. All proceeds will be going straight to Rotary Club charities so you can hold your head high when you receive that well-earned medal! 

Sea swimming

Folkestone Boxing Day Dip

Bringing a little midwinter sunshine to Boxing Day, Folkestone Lions will be hosting their annual sea dip, inviting intrepid dippers to shake off the Christmas excesses and raise funds for the Lions Club or local charities of their choice. Dippers are encouraged to gain sponsorship and use this icy blast from Sunny Sands Beach as a chance to make a difference. Don fancy dress, get some sponsors and get your feet wet!

Santa’s Lodge at Ashford Designer Outlet

Santa will be returning to Ashford Designer Outlet this Christmas, offering children and their families the chance to meet Santa and his elves, learning the many magical secrets they have, from how reindeer fly, to how they fly around the world in just one night. What’s more, as all proceeds from the tickets will be going to the British Heart Foundation, it’s an important lesson to teach little ones to do their bit and help contribute to charity.

Santas on the Run!

10th December

Whether you run 3K, 5k, or choose to stretch your legs with the new 10K challenge, Herne Bay scenic seafront will play host to hundreds of Santas as they dash along the coast in aid of a good Claus. Listen to festive music and be jingled all the way with Kent’s biggest Santa run, organized by the Pilgrim’s Hospice. Raise money for your run from friends and family (after all, you will be taking it on dressed in a full Santa suit, beard and all), and give back to the hospice that provides care to thousands of patients with an incurable disease.  

Child with Christmas tree

Merry Little Christmas Party

16th December

Fun-filled and festive, this brand new event from the Heart of Kent Hospice is perfect for the whole family. Proceeds of course go to the Heart of Kent Hospice, and each child ticket includes food, unlimited juice and squash, gingerbread decorating, an elf show, a visit from the Big Man, and a festive disco, while adults will be treated to food, tea and coffee, and even a welcome mulled wine and mince pie. We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again, Christmas is the ultimate time to teach little elves about giving back.