Joy to the world. Tis the season... If you are an eco-worrier like me, you are probably now running around trying to locate that perfect pressie: trying to shop local, struggling to avoid Amazon whilst trawling through websites trying to locate a sustainable gift: Up-cycled. Provenance savvy. Shunning single-use. In an eco-spin.

So here’s a stress-free idea for you…perhaps this year, why not give the best Xmas pressie of all…your skills, not stuff.

This year, perhaps the merriment we should all be giving is to support our communities.

Our borough is privileged to have an abundance of volunteer community groups who are busy year-round creating and implementing campaigns to address the climate and social inequality crisis. Delivering projects to tackle food insecurity, create renewable energy, set up a Camden circular economy: Actions which help make our wonderful borough a fairer, more resilient, greener, and happier place to live.

Ham & High: Debbie Bourne thinks eco while shoppingDebbie Bourne thinks eco while shopping (Image: Debbie Bourne)

Whether you are artist, good at sewing, a gardener, engineer, a cook, or good at DIY, your community needs you. C’mon businesses reading this, I’m sure you have staff with fantastic skills who could really help our local community groups flourish? Think & Do Camden and the Camden Climate Change Alliance can connect you with a local community group that could really do with your support.

Perhaps like me you feel like…er…you don’t have an obvious skill to share, but a few hours free a week, your community needs you!

Could you help cook, or serve food for Refugee Community Kitchen? Help organise the setting up of a Cooperation Town community food co-op where you live? needs weekly packers, and distribution points. Do you have engineering skills and could help Power Up North London develop renewable energy projects? Think and Do Camden also needs your help mending and making, helping set up Sharing Spaces across the borough. The needs volunteer gardeners and designers to go round schools helping design and green up some wonderful spaces.

Maybe you have bookkeeping skills, or are good at admin. No matter how much time you have available. Your community needs you. And it’s really good fun.

So, let’s make this December not just a season to be merry… but a whole year of community merriment. This Xmas, make it all about contentment, not consumption. Skills not stuff. This year give the best pressie of all….yourself.

Debbie volunteers for @tkentishtown and She also designs wild gardens: