‘Tis the season to give a damn: we reveal our 2016 Christmas cards

Published 25th November 2016

Today we unveil our 2016 Christmas cards that starkly juxtapose vintage biblical nativity scenes with modern-day photographs of conflict zones across the Middle East.

The cards, with names including ‘Not So Silent Night’ and ‘The Star of Bedlam’, were designed pro bono by advertising agency McCann London and feature photojournalism from Press Association taken over the last year.

Rather than making a religious statement, these images seek to remind the public that this year war has forced millions from their homes, and they really need our help.

“Every Christmas a romanticised picture is presented of the holy land of the past, featuring peaceful pastoral images that are shared in homes, churches and high streets across the country,” says Leigh Daynes, executive director of Doctors of the World. “This is completely at odds with the humanitarian crisis that the region faces today.

“This Christmas we’re asking people to see the realities that we see of the war-torn Middle East, and share some goodwill with a donation to help us give medical aid to people in desperate need.”

Conflict in the Middle East has led to the biggest forced displacement of civilians since the Second World War. The United Nations estimates that 65million people have fled their homes because of violence and armed conflict; half are from just three countries: Syria, Afghanistan and Somalia; some 28 million are children. Although the number of refugees fleeing to Europe this year has dropped sharply, the likelihood of dying whilst crossing the Mediterranean has spiraled to one in 88.  Between Libya and Italy the likelihood of dying at sea is even higher, at one death in every 47 arrivals.

“Instead of sending shop-bought cards this year I’m asking everyone I know to buy and send these unique cards,” added TV presenter and Doctors of the World Trustee Dr Chris van Tulleken, who presents the BAFTA winning CBBC programme ‘Operation Ouch’ with his twin brother Xand.

Proceeds from the sale of each pack will help us provide vital medical aid to people who’ve been forced from their homes by war.  And help to re-instate a little of the most festive feeling of all – hope.

What you can do

  • Buy a pack of cards. A pack of four limited edition cards, each of a different design, cost £10 and can be purchased from Doctors of the World at its shop or by calling 020 7167 5789. Part of the proceeds from the sale will support Doctors of the World’s humanitarian work.
  • Follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram (linkable): every week we’ll release a story from the Middle East. You can help us share these by using the campaign’s hashtag #RealityXmas
  • Donate now  – support Doctors of the World’s medical and humanitarian work and make a difference this Christmas.

Media requests

For more information and interviews contact Pippa Hatton or Shyamantha Asokan

Both can be reached on 020 7167 5789 or on 07540 483080

Doctors of the World is apolitical and non-religious, providing care according to need.  It is a signatory to the Code of Conduct for the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement and NGOs in Disaster Relief.


With your support, Doctors of the World will make sure nobody suffers or dies due to lack of access to healthcare.