Hands up, who is ready for Christmas? I admit, I'm certainly not. £6.8 billion pounds will be spent on Christmas presents this year, even though things are a little tight in quite a few households around the UK this year.
Things are certainly a little tighter than usual in the Lippie household this Christmas, but, after the events of the last couple of months, we have come to realise just how very, very, very lucky we are. Every two minutes in the UK, someone faces losing their home. Every two minutes. Think about that, just for a second. That is 30 people an hour. 720 people a day. 262,800 people a year. All facing the prospect of losing their home.
For a while this year, Mr Lippie and myself were amongst those statistics, and, whilst it was happening, it was - quite simply - hell. We are still dealing with the after effects of our experience, and, whilst we still have a way to go yet, we know we couldn't have gotten even this far without the help of our friends and in particular, our families. We can't even begin to tell people just how grateful we are.
We also couldn't have got by without the support, advice and occasional real-life hands-on help from both our Twitter followers and even some readers of this blog, who I now consider to be real friends too. Without those people to help us, our situation would have been very different, and there isn't a day that goes by where we don't give thanks that we had such a support network around us. We have a roof over our head, a place of safety of our own, and we no longer spend our days in fear of what would happen to us next.
(Don't worry, I'll be bringing this whole post back around to lipstick soon, bear with me)
Many people who face similar problems to MrLippie and myself aren't as lucky. They may have less of a support network, or may simply be unable to help themselves get away from their situation because of a lack of finances, or family commitments, or their work situation, and this is where Shelter comes in, to be that support network for people who don't have those resources, or the right information to be able to help themselves.
Shelter say that having a home is about more than just having a roof over your head, and they're right. Being robbed of our peace of mind, and being forced to live in genuine fear, both for ourselves and our possessions was by far the worst part of what has happened to me and Mr Lippie. We may well have had a roof over our head for the whole time, but we definitely didn't have a home, and it's only now that we're learning to deal with how the whole experience has affected us.
Shelter do wonderful work, and it's not just about people sleeping on the streets, they help people just like you and me, who find themselves in what were previously unimaginable circumstances. They actively campaign to prevent homelessness too, and fight for legislation to help people who have been affected by malicious landlords. I never thought I could be a homeless person, and I bet you don't expect you could be too. But you never know what is around the corner.
Shelter helped me out this year, so, I'm going to be helping them out a little bit too. As I mentioned back in the first paragraph, things are a little tight in the Lippie household right now, which is why I was so utterly delighted to meet Polly Gower yesterday, who heads up Give As You Live, yesterday.
Give As You Live is one of those seemingly beautifully simple ideas, that is actually also an extremely good idea. Essentially, Give As You Live has teamed up both retailers and charities so that shoppers like you and me can give to charity by ... shopping. If you shop online with retailers through the Give As You Live website, or app, retailers will donate between 1% and 4% of the retail price to the charity of your choice.
The best part of this is that it will cost you - the shopper - absolutely nothing. No prices are inflated, and you will pay the same through the website or app as you would purchasing online ordinarily. Also, the scheme is linked to every single registered charity in the UK, so if you want to donate to a charity that means something to you - as Shelter does to me - then you can.
There are more than 200,000 registered charities in the UK, and potentially, every single one could benefit from this scheme. I think this is amazing. Remember that £6.8 billion I mentioned way back in the beginning? If every single purchase making up that figure was made online through Give As You Live, they would raise £170 million for charity, without you or I, or anyone else for that matter, having to spend an extra penny on our Christmas gifts.
You can buy from Liberty, Harrods, John Lewis, Selfridges, LastMinute.com, Debenhams, Play.com, Itunes, Sainsbury's, Amazon.com, and around 1,500 other online retailers. They've already raised £2.2million, but they want to raise more, so make that bottle of Chanel Coco Mademoiselle or Tom Ford Lipstick (or Body Shop body butter, depending on your budget!) really count this year, and do something for charity whilst you're about it. If you're anything like me, you'll never have planned to need a charity to hold your hand, but you'll be glad they're around if the worst happens.
I'd already decided to buy my presents online this year, and donate to Shelter, now Give As You Live has given me an extra reason, and a new way to do it.
The Fine Print: Give As You Live, and their associated company, EasyClick both have a blogger affiliate scheme. I am NOT taking part in the affiliate scheme, and this post was not sponsored. I just had to tell you about it anyway. Buy a lipstick, and help someone help themselves. It could be you.
This post originated at: http://getlippie.com All rights reserved.