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by Emma Tattersall

This December we wanted to shine a little spotlight on the people, organisations and gifts that really do give something back. Christmas doesn't have to just be about giving, it can also be a time to really think about how we can all give back.

We've all watched the news, read a book, seen a film and thought - I can't begin to imagine what that must feel like. Minutes, hours and days go by and that removed experience has dislodged itself from our minds.

But for The Hygiene Bank founder Lizzy Hall, there was one scene in the film "I Daniel Blake" by Ken Loach which would play over and over in her mind.

Lizzy reached out to local food banks and schools to see if hygiene poverty was affecting her local area. There were stories of socks in pants as sanitary protection, mothers having to choose feeding their family over buying hygiene products while young women are going hungry to save themselves the humiliation of showing up at college or work with greasy hair and smelling of body odour.

For some of us, the festive season means nail appointments are harder to get, that long awaited wax trickier to fit in, a whole host of festive smelling lotions and potions ending up in your basket. But imagine if even toothpaste or loo roll was something you would be going with out. The reality of of not having the basics of sanitary protection, shampoo, toothpaste or deodorant will affect millions of people in the UK this Christmas. And it's a problem that needs to be spoken more about.

Basic hygiene goes to the core of self-worth, self-respect, confidence and dignity. With hygiene poverty comes isolation, exclusion and shame and these impact our ability to participate in society and therefore what it means to be human. Lizzy Hall, Founder

So how can you help support The Hygiene Bank and the incredible work of Lizzy and the team? They have designed a reusable bag that lives in the home. Each time you're out stocking up on shower gel, washing powder or femfresh - why not grab an extra bottle to add to your sack. Once you have gradually filled it up with new and unused hygiene essentials, beauty and personal care products, then you can simply take it and empty it out at your local Hygiene Bank drop off point.

You can reuse your bag as many times as you like and continue making a difference to the lives of real people in your community.

And here at LWL we think this £17 item (which includes P&P) could be the new Christmas stocking. Imagine if in every household we put stockings aside and instead gifted a bag full of essentials to a person truly in need. If you're looking to shake things up and hang something really meaningful over your fireplace this year then the Hygiene Bank Bag is what you've been looking for. The silver lining? #itsinthebag can be for life, not just for Christmas.

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