With Michael Bublé and I having turned 40 on the same day in September 2015, it’s obviously a special time of year. A big year too. So big that I found myself sitting down in front of the TV on Saturday evening gasping for breath…

Gasping, not because of the realisation that I’d hit old age but in horror at Channel 5’s decision to screen Michael Bublé’s Christmas Special followed by the documentary My Crazy Christmas Obsession. Ironic. It’s only the beginning of October.

And Christmas didn’t stop there. All sorts of shenanigans began (spoiler alert to my family): M&S displays, John Lewis Christmas decorations on sale, team nights out getting booked for December, my Gran wrapping presents to ship off Down Under, even colleagues talking about their Christmas shopping. The festive shopping spirit is spreading, fast. Now don’t get me wrong I love Christmas and I love the build up but until last week it was still basically Summer!

In a strange coincidence shopping was also the hot topic for Ross McCulloch‏ at Third Sector Lab when he tweet me to ask if I was attending the Chartered Institute of Public Relations (CIPR) Scotland’s PRide Awards, the annual dinner to celebrate, recognise, reward and share some of the best PR practice and talent, at the Glasgow Marriott Hotel on Thursday 8 October 2015. The good news is I will be in Glasgow, but at the Robert Lewandowski show as Scotland host Poland in the Euro 2016 qualifiers at Hampden Park.

Ross wasn’t of course getting in touch to chat about what shirt to shop for or have the age-old debate on whether to wear the kilt or the suit, but about shopping that matters. Christmas shopping that can help improve lives – Social Media Santa.

Make a Difference

Social Media Santa is very simple. If you want to make a difference to someone’s life then take the opportunity to provide a homeless child a present for Christmas. It doesn’t need to be expensive, maybe you’ll spend a fiver or a tenner but whatever it is the good people at Shelter Scotland will tell you it makes a difference to some of the thousands of children who’ll be homeless this Christmas across Scotland.

I hope Ross, who first started the initiative, will blog details for this year but it basically goes like this:

  • Visit a store such as an online one like Amazon or your local shop
  • Go to the toys (or children’s books or games) section
  • Pick a gift suitable for a boy or girl aged 6 months to 16 years old
  • Place your order (to be delivered before early December)
  • If buying online: Add to Basket, use Shelter Scotland’s address at the checkout, and add a message using the ‘gift’ option if available
  • If buying in person: Post to Shelter Scotland in Edinburgh or drop it off at their office
  • Tweet your support using the #SocialMediaSanta hashtag
  • Mention the Shelter Scotland team using the @shelterscotland tag on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter

This can be done on your lunch, after work, at home, or on the move. It may not take as much time as you think.

While I can’t write about the merits of the other projects and initiatives shortlisted in the CIPR Scotland PRide Awards Best Use of Social Media category, they clearly have a lot going for them to get this far, and best wishes to you all. But if the finalists and everyone who attends the awards and follows the #PRideSCO event hashtag got involved through buying a small present and sharing the #socialmediasanta hashtag then regardless of whether Social Media Santa takes Gold at the PRide Awards or not you’ll all at least be helping to make sure it’s some of the children with whom Shelter Scotland are in contact who benefit.

It’s shocking children face this situation any time of year never mind Christmas, and clearly Social Media Santa alone will not reverse fortunes, but you can help bring a smile to at least one child’s face at what for many is a special time of year.

Let’s make it a social time of year too because when it comes to Social Media Santa it’s never too early to talk, or in Michael Bublé’s case sing, about Christmas. Even if it is October.

So, as you raise your celebratory glass of bubbly think Bublé and toast Social Media Santa for helping save someone’s Christmas. Social media changes lives, you can too. 

Good luck Ross and Shelter Scotland. Enjoy and best of luck in the PRide Scotland Awards 2015!


Background information:
Shelter Scotland:

Shelter Scotland’s address:

Shelter Scotland
Scotiabank House
6 South Charlotte Street
Edinburgh EH2 4AW


Ross’s blog: rossmcculloch.com
Ross on Twitter: @ThirdSectorLab

CIPR: Full PRide Awards shortlist
CIPR Scotland on Twitter: @CIPR_Scotland
CIPR Awards on Twitter: @CIPR_Awards

CIPR Pride Awards Best Use of Social Media Category:

  • Citypress
    Citypress & Fish is the Dish: Omega-3 Awareness Campaign
  • Consolidated PR, Story and The Scottish Government
    Sharing Wishes, Saving Lives
  • Falkirk Council
    Earn While You Learn
  • Shelter Scotland
    Social Media Santa for Scotland’s homeless children
  • Smarts
    We love our gingers
  • Weber Shandwick
    Nessie – Our National Treasure!

Landing page photo credit: matthew poon via Compfight cc