The Cardless Christmas project banner, created by Born and Raised

The Cardless Christmas Project is becoming somewhat of an institution here at Born + Raised. For those of you new to the tradition, we shun the standard buying and delivering of Christmas cards and instead give each member of staff £20 to be as creative as possible, but to ultimately do some good.

It’s one of the many things that makes me proud of this agency and I love seeing everyone do something a bit different for a cause they are passionate about.

Myself, along with Yvette, Sam, Tanya, Ryan, Helen, Abbas, Harriet and Katherine have pooled our money to buy a number of Christmas presents for disadvantaged children across the UK. This comes after Harriet heard an advert on Magic Radio about Bensons for Beds supporting Cash For Kids through the radio station’s Mission Christmas. We’re hoping the little bit more we can offer these children this year will put a big smile on their faces.

A table full of toys for the Cash for Kids initiative, from staff at Born and Raised
Helen Stavri, Strategist and Abbas Arezoo, Senior Digital Designer at Born and Raised

The Ops team (Joanne, Tamaris, Claire and Sarah) have also decided that several brains are better than one and have worked together to buy a number of DVDs, baby toys and rattles for The Play Team at Sheffield Children’s Hospital, doing their bit to brighten up a number of poorly children’s Christmases.

Sarah Davis, Tamaris Roberts, Office Manager, Claire Harper, Company Accountant and Joanne Ringrose, Finance and Operations Director of Born and Raised with the play team at Sheffield Children's Hospital

Grace has put together a hamper full of festive treats for her neighbours as a little thank you to them for being lovely throughout the year.

Having adopted a kitten earlier this year, Chris wanted to help cats that weren’t lucky enough to have their own home. He spent his £20 on toys for stray and unwanted cats kept at the Sheffield Cats Shelter. This will go a long way to keeping them content over the festive period.

A cat from the Sheffield Cat Centre playing with a toy, Chris Neal, Copywriter from Born and Raised bought
A cat from the Sheffield Cat Centre playing with a toy, Chris Neal, Copywriter from Born and Raised bought

Stephen wanted to help out at Arboretum Primary School in Derby, where his sister teaches. The school is in one of the most deprived areas in the city and so a fun and engaging learning environment is all the more important for its students. Years 1 and 2 are studying Parks and Plants next term and the illustrative and educational books he bought will help spark their imagination.

Children from Arboretum Primary School reading a book, Stephen Booth, Senior Account Manager at Born and Raised bought

The Lonely Bouquet team is growing, and this year Chloe and Kirsty collaborated in the creation of some festive floral gifts. The concept is simple – use flowers to make people happy. They spent their 20 quids on flowers, foliage, ribbon and card to create some gifts that were left in and around Sheffield City Centre for passers-by to collect and take home or re-gift.

Several bouquets of flowers made by Chloe Lowe, Head of Digital and Kirsty Grafton, Designer at Born and Raised
A bouquet of flowers made by Chloe Lowe, head of Digital and Kirsty Grafton, Designer at Born and Raised.

This year, Louise has created a Reverse Advent Calendar with her £20. So instead of receiving a treat everyday, she is giving an item a day to someone in need, in the lead-up to Christmas.

Louise Greensmith, Senior Designer at Born and Raised with the products she bought for the Cardless Christmas project

Steve’s is balls. His £20 is going towards helping Testicular Cancer Awareness which is the most commonly diagnosed cancer among young men. So, he’s bought a load of Christmas baubles, which he’s put together in pairs with a gift tag attached with the message ‘Check your baubles this Christmas’ and the Movember url to find out more about why it’s important to ‘know your nuts’ and check them regularly. He’s put boxes of them into reception areas of Sheffield gyms.

A box of Baubles from SteveDoyle, Head of Copy at Born and Raised
Baubles promoting Movember from Steve Doyle, Head of Copy at Born and Raised

Period Poverty is an issue Megan feels particularly strong about, so she contacted Handsworth Food Bank and asked whether they were in need of sanitary products (a resounding yes was the answer) and she delivered a range of tampons and pads to help a number of women in need. After seeing how many products she could buy for such a small amount, she has pledged to do this regularly for the charity.

Sanitary products that Megan Cliffe, Marketing and Business Developement exeuctive at Born and Raised bought for the local food bank
Megan Cliffe, Marketing and Business Development Executive at Born and Raised holding the products she bought for the Cardless Christmas project

Claire’s £20 is going towards a charity Fancy Touch Rugby tournament that she organises each year to raise money for Cardiac Risk in the Young (CRY). They raised over £5,000 at last year’s event, and this £20 is the first donation for this year to get the ball rolling! CRY organise local heart scanning days for people aged 14-35; each day costs £3,000 for all of the staff and machines so last year’s tournament paid for the next scanning day. The 2017 scanning day at Abbeydale Sports club found 5 young people with possibly life-threatening heart defects that they were unaware of. CRY support and treat people free of charge and also support families who have lost their loved ones through heart defects, providing meet ups, counselling and understanding in really tough times.

Living up to his Creative Director title, Bew took his £20 and bought enough materials to make 20 Christmas tree decorations, leaving them around Sheffield with festive message tags for people to pick up for free.

Glass decorations Bew Knox, Creative Director at Born and Raised made
Glass decorations Bew Knox, Creative Director at Born and Raised made

Tom and Jack paired up and rallied friends and family to also donate, meaning they had £135 to spend in total. They filled a trolley and basket with food and Tesco added 20% too. They donated their purchases to the Burngreave food bank. Tom has also taken the tinned food from our snuglife Christmas episode to the Gleadless Valley food bank.

The trolley and basket of food, Tom Lloyd, Multimedia Developer and Jack Salmons Senior Designer bought to give to their local food bank

Diana made 3 wreaths with her 20 quid and donated them to Mount View Lodge, Norton Lees Care Home and Holmwood Care Home which has a special place in Diana’s heart. Alongside this she held 2 wreath workshops in the office, teaching us less-crafty types how to make one. She purchased all the materials, and brought the knowhow, charging a small fee to people interested in making their own. Diana made a total of £48 from this and it will be donated to the Born + Raised Children in Need collection. Fun facts – over 1,100 baubles, 33 metres of ribbon and 19 wire coat hangers were used in the process.

A wreath made by Diana Ross, Creative Artworker at Born and Raised
Joanne Ringrose, Finance and Operations Director, Harriet Aisthorpe, Senior Account Executive, Kirsty Grafton, Designer, Louise Greensmith, Senior Designer, Diana Ross, Creative Artworker, Charlotte Hill, Client Services Director and Claire Bland, Account Manager at Born and Raised

Di’s wreaths sparked inspiration in Charlotte who took the skills she learned from the workshop to make 2 wreaths of her own. Charlotte gave one to her Uncle who doesn’t normally have Christmas decorations up and the other to her elderly neighbours who often take in parcels for her.


Charlotte Hill, Client Services Director from Born and Raised and her Uncle

Staying on the theme of spreading joy to neighbours, Marianne is using her money to cook some delicious treats which she will deliver to hers, as a thank you to them for being so lovely since she moved into her new house.

Finally, on behalf of all of us here at Born + Raised I’d like to wish our clients, suppliers, friends and family a very merry Christmas and a new year as happy as you’ve made it for us in 2018.