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Christmas charity appeal films for 2023: part 1

Melanie May | 23 November 2023 | News

A still from Help for Heroes Christmas appeal film showing a hand putting a toy soldier back on the tree. The hand has a Help for Heroes wristband

Yes, it’s officially that time of year – UK Fundraising is kicking off its Christmas coverage with the first round up of charity appeal films. Read on to find out how a range of charities from Thames Valley Air Ambulance to Help for Heroes, and Julia’s House are appealing to the public this festive season.

Thames Valley Air Ambulance

Thames Valley Air Ambulance’s Christmas appeal features the story of a man who lost his leg last year in a road traffic collision, and has been supported since by the charity’s Aftercare team.


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The film is an animation of Paul’s story, told by him, and taking viewers through the events that led to the loss of his leg, and how they have since helped him. The charity worked with an animator called Shane Barrell on the project.

Help for Heroes

The Help for Heroes Christmas ad campaign urges the public to make sure veterans are not forgotten this Christmas. More than 80,000 veterans in Great Britain could spend the holiday season lonely and isolated, so the charity is asking people to send messages of hope, support and thanks to let them know they are not alone.  

The short film features a forgotten toy soldier ornament, who has been left off the Christmas tree. Help for Heroes can be seen picking them up and placing them back in their rightful place on the tree showing how the charity’s work ensures that veterans are not forgotten and that their support can help find a place and purpose in society again.   


Purpose-driven strategic and creative agency GOOD has created Crisis’s Christmas fundraising campaign, First Day. The integrated, mass fundraising campaign is the charity’s largest campaign of the year and aims to raise £21 million.

The First Day campaign saw GOOD work collaboratively with three people Crisis has supported – Michelle, David and Saleeha – to create an authentic campaign through every channel. Their stories are told by the members, in their own words. Even their headline quotes are in the members own, real handwriting, crafted using AI into a font.

The campaign also features radio, press, digital and cold and warm DM campaigns. These adverts centre around lived experience, connecting the public to Crisis’s member’s story. 


At the heart of Shelter’s 2023 Christmas campaign is a 90 second film, entitled ‘Good As Gold’ which follows Maddy, played by eight-year-old Tilly Walker. It opens like a typical feel-good Christmas film in the style of warm-hearted TV ad campaigns before delivering an emotional ending, as we see Maddy being as “good as gold” in the hope of being rewarded with the one thing she wants the most for Christmas – a home.

Shelter and Don’t Panic, the creative agency behind the campaign, worked closely with people with lived experience of temporary accommodation. The film follows the launch of last year’s successful ‘Brave Face’ campaign, which also featured a young child facing Christmas in temporary accommodation. Shelter estimates that this year over 131,000 children in England will wake up on Christmas day in temporary accommodation, an increase of over 10,000 since last year and the record highest ever. The film is set to the 1986 Higher Love soundtrack by Steve Winwood.


The RSPCA’sChristmas ad forms a key part of the charity’s ‘Join the Christmas Rescue’ campaign and features a voiceover by RSPCA ambassador, champion ballroom dancer and TV judge Shirley Ballas. The advert explores the unique role pets play in people’s lives as well as the darker side of animal ownership – showing a recreation of the sort of abandonment call dealt with all too often by RSPCA officers – as animal rescue officer (ARO) Jade Guthrie is shown coming to the aid of a dog left tied up and alone next to some bins.

Julia’s House

Julia’s House’s Christmas appeal focuses on the story of Addy, told by her parents, her diagnosis of Batten disease – known as childhood dementia – and how Julia’s House supports the whole family. The condition means she is gradually losing all her abilities. It has already stolen her ability to walk and eat and it’s likely to be the last Christmas she will be able to see. Sam, a Julia’s House nurse, shares how if she could grant a wish for the family it would be to have a family Christmas and not have to worry about anything but just enjoy being parents rather than carers.