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This ‘Giving Christmas Tree’ Is Doing Something Beautiful for Kids in Glasgow

You’ve seen the movies and heard the songs: Christmas is all about Michael Buble.

No, wait — it’s about giving. Sorry. It’s definitely, definitely about giving.

The Forge Shopping Centre in Glasgow gets it — and have been working in partnership with local East End charity With Kids to ensure the *real* festive spirit reaches children who might not get any presents this Christmas.

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Together, they’ve set up a “Giving Tree” lined with tags outlining small wish-lists from children who find the festive period more difficult than most. Shoppers can take a tag from the tree, and donate a present — going straight to the kid who asked for it. It's an idea they've ran for several years in a row after it found popularity all over the world, but it's finally gained attention in the UK after a tweet sharing the scheme went viral this week.

“This is a wonderful incentive to support with all gifts distributed throughout our local area,” said Jade Wilkie, marketing manager at The Forge. “The Forge believe in a little festive cheer for everyone and making each individual's Christmas unforgettable.”

Unwrapped gifts get handed to the centre’s customer service desk — and then the magic happens. The shopping centre has Santa on speed dial, but will need all gifts to be donated by December 12 to ensure there’s time to create a bespoke chimney-to-chimney strategy for Christmas Day.

Read More: 6 Amazing Things Scotland Is Doing That Other Countries Really Need to Pay Attention to

Spiderman, Batman, and Paw Patrol toys are among the gift requests hung on the tree. But one 12-year-old girl asked for makeup, hair accessories — and toiletries. More than one in four of Scotland’s children live in poverty, and especially for young girls, period poverty can become a daily challenge. Global Citizen has previously reported how one Member of the Scottish Parliament is trying to change that, but nothing is due to happen before the end of the year.

One Twitter user described the thought of these children going without at Christmas as “heartbreaking”, and other people flocked to social media to express both empathy and support.

Everybody deserves to feel loved — and not just at Christmas. But at the heart of the “Giving Tree” is a question about inequality, and local shoppers are turning out up in droves to answer it with typical Scottish generosity.

Even John McClane kicked off Die Hard carrying a giant brown teddy bear with a red ribbon around its neck. Christmas is for everyone — and it can start with a gift.

Global Citizen campaigns on the Global Goals, including Goal No.10, for reduced inequalities. Take action with us here.