10 best charity Christmas cards: Help make a difference this year

·9-min read
We considered the donation amount and the card’s ability to put a smile on your recipient’s face (iStock/The Independent)
We considered the donation amount and the card’s ability to put a smile on your recipient’s face (iStock/The Independent)

Christmas cards are a great way to spread cheer and let people know you are thinking of them over the festive period, especially when it comes to loved ones that live far away.

And, despite living in an age of digital communication, handwritten cards remain one of the most delightful and popular traditions of the season, right up there with advent calendars, tree decorations and fanciful wreaths.

From snowy scenes to jolly illustrations and photographs of furry friends getting in the festive spirit, there’s an abundance of cards to choose from each year but, here at IndyBest, we believe the best ones are those that allow you to give back.

Numerous charities now have their own Christmas cards with a portion – or in some cases all – of the proceeds from each sale helping organisations provide essential care to those who need it most. Now that’s what we call a win win.

Not only that, but many charities have started to deliver more eco-friendly greetings cards by removing glitter and plastic packaging and ensuring they are FSC-certified – meaning they are made with materials from well-managed forests.

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How we tested

We’ve included a range of charity Christmas cards in our round-up, with careful consideration given to the quality of both the finish and design, as well as the donation amount and its ability to put a smile on your recipient’s face.

The best charity Christmas cards for 2021 are:

  • Best overall – Unicef multi-coloured Christmas cards toys and joys, pack of 10: £6.95, Unicef.org.uk

  • Best heartwarming Christmas card – Shelter home for Christmas charity Christmas cards, pack of 10: £2.49, Shelter.org.uk

  • Best festive scene – NSPCC festive foraging charity Christmas cards 2021, pack of 10: £4.25, Nspcc.org.uk

  • Best Christmas card for key workers – Marie Curie nurses Christmas cards, pack of 10: £4.99, Mariecurie.org.uk

  • Best contemporary Christmas card – Paperchase deck the halls charity cards, pack of 8: £4.50, Paperchase.com

  • Best traditional Christmas card – Parkinson’s UK special delivery charity Christmas cards, pack of 10: £4, Parkinsons.org.uk

  • Best Christmas card for dog lovers – Noi Publishing joy to the world dogs charity cards, pack of 5: £6, Fenwick.co.uk

  • Best meaningful Christmas card – Alzheimer’s Society dove cards, pack of 10: £3.99, Alzheimers.org.uk

  • Best gold-foiled Christmas card – Macmillan Cancer Support Christmas wreath cards, pack of 10: £4.25, Macmillan.org.uk

  • Best cut-out Christmas card – British Red Cross Christmas tree cards, pack of 10: £3.99, Redcross.org.uk

Unicef multi-coloured Christmas cards toys and joys, pack of 10

Best: Overall

Rating: 10/10

This pack of 10 cards includes two designs that are guaranteed to brighten up your loved one’s mantelpiece: one featuring a deep blue background and the words “Merry Christmas” surrounded by drawings of wrapped presents, candles and snowmen, and another featuring a pink Christmas tree adorned with lights and novelty decorations, including a dinosaur and robot.

The message inside is inspired by the charity’s aim to provide care for children in need, reading “For every child, for every season,” followed by the word “Peace” written in six different languages. Not only do these vintage-style cards look the part, but they make a real impact too, with the organisation stating that each purchase could provide eight doses of the polio vaccine.

Buy now £6.95, Unicef.org.uk

Shelter home for Christmas charity Christmas cards, pack of 10

Best: Heartwarming Christmas card

Rating: 10/10

It doesn’t get much more adorable than this bright and cheerful card for Shelter – a charity that campaigns to end homelessness and bad housing in the UK. The card has been designed by Abbie Russell from Gargieston Primary School, who entered Shelter Scotland’s Christmas card competition in 2020, and shows a series of colourful drawings of a candy cane, gingerbread man, bauble and Rudolph the reindeer. The card has been left blank inside for your own message and can be widely recycled along with the packaging.

Buy now £2.49, Shelter.org.uk

NSPCC festive foraging charity Christmas cards 2021, pack of 10

Best: Festive scene

Rating: 9/10

This pack of cards embodies the spirit of the festive season, with a beautifully snowy scene featuring a woman foraging in the woods with her small dog and a Christmas robin perched on the stump of a tree. Inside, a simple and to-the-point message reads: “Wishing you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year”. A safe bet for both modern and more traditional recipients, the cards are also printed on FSC-certified cardboard, come in biodegradable packaging and are free from glitter. All profits from the sale of each pack go directly to the NSPCC, which helps to protect children suffering or likely to suffer harm.

Buy now £4.25, Nspcc.org.uk

Marie Curie nurses Christmas cards, pack of 10

Best: Card for key workers

Rating: 9/10

Featuring illustrations of three nurses wearing Christmas hats and holding signs that read “Merry Christmas”, this card is the perfect way to show a close friend or key worker that you’ve been thinking of them over the past year. We love the addition of gold foiling around the border, which includes sprigs of holly and stars, and appreciate that each card is printed on FSC-certified card. The message inside reads “Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year” and all of the money raised from the sale of each pack goes to Marie Curie – a charity that provides care and support for people living with terminal illness, and their families.

Buy now £4.99, Mariecurie.org.uk

Paperchase deck the halls charity cards, pack of 8

Best: Contemporary Christmas card

Rating: 8/10

If you prefer more contemporary Christmas cards, consider this pack from Paperchase, which features a graphic illustration of a sprig of mistletoe tied with a giant red bow and the phrase “Deck the Halls” in bold, white typography. We love the matte finish of the cards, which is complemented by silver foiling and, if you’re the kind of person that likes to write long, personal messages, you’ll be pleased to hear the inside is left blank. The packaging and cards can be recycled and each purchase includes a donation of 50p to Scope, which strives for equality for disabled people.

Buy now £4.50, Paperchase.com

Parkinson’s UK special delivery charity Christmas cards, pack of 10

Best: Traditional Christmas card

Rating: 9/10

If you would like to support the charity Parkinson’s UK and its work to improve life for those living with the disease, pick up these cards that are sure to get your loved ones in the festive spirit. The design shows a traditional illustration of a smiling Santa Claus carrying a sack of ribbon-tied presents ready to be delivered and comes with a simple “Happy Christmas” written inside. A classic style of card, these ones are sure to provide your friends and family members with a welcome dose of cheer.

Buy now £4.00, Parkinsons.org.uk

Noi Publishing joy to the world dogs charity cards, pack of 5

Best: Christmas card for dog lovers

Rating: 8/10

Perfect for sending to your dog-loving friends this Christmas, these cards are seriously sweet, featuring drawings of eight different pooches wrapped up and playing tug of war with winter scarves and chewing on sprigs of holly. We love the contrast of the pink background with the red typography, which reads “Joy to the World” and that the cards come with complimentary bright red envelopes. While it’s not the most substantial donation in our round-up, 25p from the sale of each pack of cards is given to Caring in Bristol, an organisation that works with people experiencing or at risk of homelessness.

Buy now £6.00, Fenwick.co.uk

Alzheimer’s Society dove cards, pack of 10

Best: Meaningful Christmas card

Rating: 9/10

After a particularly turbulent year, the symbolism of the dove – they’re associated with peace, love and new beginnings – on this festive card will not be lost on your recipient. The illustration shows the bird flying against a rich green background that’s adorned with snowflakes and wintry blooms, and inside you’ll find a message that reads: “Wishing you peace at Christmas”. Sold in a pack of 10 with envelopes included, the cards come in bio-degradable packaging and are printed on FSC board. All profits from the sale go to the Alzheimer’s Society, which not only provides information and support but funds research and improves care for people affected by dementia.

Buy now £3.99, Alzheimers.org.uk

Macmillan Cancer Support Christmas wreath cards, pack of 10

Best: Gold foiled card

Rating: 9/10

Macmillan Cancer Support, which provides specialist healthcare, information and financial support to people affected by cancer, is offering the ultimate Christmas wreath card for 2021. Set against a white background, it’s beautifully decorated with dried foliage, pine cones and winter berries, with gold-foiled leaves and the words “Season’s Greetings” in the centre.

The charity has gone out of its way to make this year’s offering as eco-friendly as possible, too, ensuring the cards are recyclable and printed with natural inks on FSC paper. Inside it reads “Best wishes for Christmas and the new year”, leaving plenty of room for you to write your own message. We also loved that 100 per cent of the profits from these cards goes towards funding Macmillan’s work with cancer patients.

Buy now £4.25, Macmillan.org.uk

British Red Cross Christmas tree cards, pack of 10

Best: Cut-out card

Rating: 9/10

A card that comes in the shape of a festive fir? We’re sold. Perfect for wishing family and friends a holly, jolly Christmas, the card features a colourful illustration of a tree that’s decorated to the hilt with twinkling lights, mismatched baubles and, of course, a golden star topper. We also love the addition of the presents tucked under the tree and that you can play spot the robin with two red-breasted birds to find. Inside the message reads “Season’s Greetings” and the card is printed on FSC-approved materials using vegetable inks. This is one we’d love to receive through the post this year.

Buy now £3.99, Redcross.org.uk

The verdict: Charity Christmas cards

Unicef’s Christmas cards are our top pick for many reasons – from the contemporary design to the heartfelt message inside and the fact you get two different types in each pack. We also appreciated that 100 per cent of the profits from each sale go straight towards the organisation’s work in providing aid to children worldwide.

Or for a card that’s guaranteed to tug on the heartstrings of your recipient, consider Shelter’s hand-drawn design courtesy of school pupil Abbie Russell.

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Include your furry friend in the festivities with our pick of the best dog advent calendars

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