Yes, we know that Christmas isn’t until 25th December.

And those of us who are last minute won’t even start shopping until the week before if we’re lucky. But it’s common knowledge that Christmas comes early in the retail world, what with supermarkets selling wrapping paper and mince pies from September and garden centres getting out their Christmas trees at the first sign of frost. So as a retailer we have to keep up with these trends and traditions.

In September we brought out our range of Christmas cards in our charity shops. The cards are a fantastic range of beautiful, creative and quirky cards, many of which are based on the theme of the ‘Salvation Army Christmas’ – evening church services and brass ensembles playing carols in the snow. Is this really what a Salvation Army Christmas is? It’s certainly part of it; the bitter cold carolling sessions in the town centre are no myth. But as you’d imagine, there’s a lot more to it.

It’s one of the busiest times for The Salvation Army, with cold temperatures and sometimes treacherous weather conditions making the issues they would usually deal with even harder. At this time, it’s all the more important that homeless people are offered a bed for the night and it’s all the more vital that families living in poverty don’t have to choose between heating and eating. So, at this time, the money donated is all the more valuable. Just £6.00 can give a homeless person a bed for the night. £5.50 could pay for a lonely older person’s Christmas day lunch.

When you visit a charity shop this season, you will not only get great value for money and find those one-off items you couldn’t get anywhere else. You will not only see our great range of new products which have been selected just for you. Our Christmas campaign will be there to remind you that this season, when you shop with us, you are giving a gift.

A gift of:  
Love – reuniting families.
Joy – striving for worldwide equality.
Hope – providing services to those experiencing homelessness.
Support – providing facilities to help those suffering with addiction.
Care – operating care homes across the UK.
Life – providing safe shelter for vulnerable people.

The tags in our shop windows and the campaign cards placed around the shop are carrying this message, encouraging our customers to give generously at this time.

Of course, the Christmas campaign is also there to make the shops look brighter, to engage people and to look pretty and seasonal. But behind the campaign, and all our campaigns, is one clear message: the work of The Salvation Army and how important it is.

I hope this year you will visit a charity shop and be reminded of this, and that you feel you can give generously. After all, it’s Christmas.