Let’s be honest, while we Singaporeans love Christmas (the lights, the food, the endless parties and get-togethers!), picking out the perfect gifts for family and friends can be pretty tough.
We can readily admit that pinning down that unique, extra special and thoughtful gift for a loved one is no easy feat.
Chances are, after hours of searching and walking up and down Orchard Road, you would have settled for the typical gift sets, hampers and bags of sweet treats to give out to family, friends and colleagues (don’t even try to deny it)!
The truth of the matter is, the large majority of us buy Christmas gifts because we want to show how much we truly appreciate our loved ones. But odds are, you’re more likely to remember your friends throwing you a surprise party than the present they picked out for you.
Just like you’re more likely to appreciate the memories you have from your family trip, experiences are priceless, and definitely irreplaceable!
If you’re looking to spend on a unique experience for a good cause instead of a store-bought gift, we’ve got you covered!
We’ve found 7 unique experiences that you can gift a loved one that aren’t going to cost you a bomb.
1. Treat Yourself To A Spa Day @ The Nail Social
Getting ready for the slew of Christmas parties that you’ll be attending this season? Looking for a place to pamper yourself after hours of shopping? Then you should head down to the Nail Social for a relaxing spa day. Located along Haji Lane, this nail spa offers up manicures and pedicures for ladies and gents!
Using only products that are non-toxic, eco-friendly, fair-trade and/or cruelty-free, the Nail Social is also a socially-conscious salon that trains and employ underprivileged women, who often face a higher barrier to employment. The Nail Social in partnership with The Pink Room International Nail Academy co- sponsor Professional Manicurist Courses, which beneficiaries undergo enabling them to pick up skills of the trade.
Nail Social is probably one of the most comfortable nail spas around, with personal iPads loaded with movies and complimentary glasses of wine on weekends, guests are definitely in for a treat. The best news? Nail Spa can also play host to your bridal showers and intimate get-togethers!
The Nail Social
42A Haji Lane (2nd Floor), S189235
Opening Hours: Weekdays 11am – 9pm; Weekends 10am – 8pm
Contact: Phone +65 6717 3221 ; Whatsapp +65 8145 5226
2. Experience A Completely New Side Of Geylang With Geylang Adventures
Founded by a group of local Singaporeans who were keen to overthrow the idea that Singapore is boring, Geylang Adventures strives to explore the different dimensions of Geylang while creating a more harmonious and welcoming society for all.
During the Geylang Adventures Trail, guests will get to explore the winding lorongs and back alleys and experience firsthand the eco-system that forms the backbone of Geylang. Intertwining stories of childhood adventures and interactions with the people who spend their days and nights in Geylang, the Geylang Adventures Trail hopes to break down barriers and open our eyes to a different side of this historic neighbourhood.
Geylang Adventures has kick-started several efforts such as Back Alley Barbers and Migrant Mail in a bid to help migrant workers acclimatize in Singapore as well as create opportunities for interactions amongst migrant workers and Singaporeans.
3. Enjoy A Tranquil Moment @ Hush TeaBar
Looking for the perfect gift for a friend who’s always on the go? A quiet cup of tea might just do the trick!
At Hush TeaBar, guests can enjoy a well-deserved short escape from daily life. Hush TeaBar holds bi-monthly open sessions with a different theme each time. Guests are led to single seats where they’ll be able to indulge in a quiet moment or two with a freshly brewed cup of tea. You’ll be guided through a mindful tea-drinking ritual by their deaf TeaRistas, before some reflection and tea art.
The best part of Hush TeaBar? They sell gift boxes with unique Hush items such as teal eaves, candles and messages of love so you can indulge in a quiet moment in the comfort of your own home!
Hush TeaBar is a social movement to bring the worlds of hearing and hearing-impaired together and to encourage silence and awareness for our hectic modern lifestyles.
For more information on Hush TeaBar: http://www.hushteabar.com/home.html
4. Coffee Appreciation Courses @ Bettr Barista Coffee Academy
If you’re looking to appreciate coffee on a whole new level, Bettr Barista Coffee Academy is the perfect place to taste new blends and learn new skills when it comes to experiencing coffee.
Tucked along a quiet street off MacPherson Road, this café-cum-coffee academy offers up Barista Lab Sessions for purchase!
It also features a Tasting Bar, where coffee aficionados can get their hands on the latest beans and blends that Bettr has to offer! If you’re in town, you can also sample their coffee at their first retail outlet located within the DBS Branch at *SCAPE.
This is definitely an ideal gift for any caffeine fiend!
Not just a place to learn to appreciate coffee blends (not to mention unleash your inner hipster), Bettr Barista also trains women and at-risk youth to be baristas. A firm believer in holistic well-being, they also offer emotional development and physical skills training.
For more information on Bettr Barista Coffee Academy: http://www.bettrbarista.com/
Bettr Barista Coffee Academy
37 Mactaggart Road, #07-03, S368083
Opening Hours: Weekdays 10.30am – 5pm; Saturday 10.30am – 2pm; Sunday Closed
Contact: +65 6509 0113
5. Learn How To Whip Local Delicacies @ Food Playground
Learning to cook is a skill most of us sorely lack (no, instant noodles don’t count!), but fortunately, there are cooking schools here in Singapore where we can pick up some culinary skills!
Food Playground offers three-hour long cooking classes where participants can have a go at whipping up local favorites such as Nasi Lemak, Chicken Rice and Laksa!
Classes are priced from $99 to $119, depending on which local dishes you’re keen to cook up.
Established in 2012, Food Playground offers a unique culinary and local cultural experience for travelers, expatriates and Singaporeans alike. More than just a business, Food Playground also provides flexi-work employment opportunities for stay-at-home mothers and active seniors.
If cooking is not your thing, why not have a festive meal for a good cause at these restaurants that give back!
For more information of Food Playground: https://www.foodplayground.com.sg/
24A Sago St, S059020
6. Dine In The Dark @ Dialogue In The Dark
Looking for a unique experience like no other? Dialogue In The Dark may just have what you’re looking for!
Located at Ngee Ann Polytechnic, Dialogue In The Dark enables local Singaporeans to “learn to see in the darkness”. Guests will go through a guided one-hour long tour, where they will walk around a typical housing estate, and later sail down the Singapore River – experiencing everyday environments that are vastly different without the gift of sight.
If you’re looking for something a bit more intimate, Dialogue In The Dark also features Lunch in the Dark.
Guests will have a chance to experience a full course meal in complete darkness. Relying on other senses such as sound and touch, guests are encouraged to communicate, and help each other ease their fears and apprehension throughout the experience – perfect for that friend who’s keen on trying out something truly unique!
Dialogue In The Dark aims to increase social awareness of people with visual impairments and encourage a change in mindsets to promote inclusion in Singapore. They also provide employment for the blind as guides for their tours.
For more information on Dialogue In The Dark: http://www.dialogueinthedark.com.sg/DiD/Pages/default.aspx
Dialogue In The Dark
Ngee Ann Polytechnic,Block 5 #01-03
535 Clementi Road, S599489
Opening Hours: 9am – 6pm
Contact: 6460 6222
7. Learn A New “Language”@ ExtraOrdinary Horizons
Most of us have tried our hand at picking up a new language. Let’s be honest – most, if not all of us, know a handful words from another language (the perks of being born in Singapore!), but picking up a new language using just your hands is a whole new experience.
At Extraordinary Horizons, participants would be able to pick up basic Sign Language. If you’re keen on delving deeper into how the deaf communities live their daily lives, Extraordinary Horizons offers customizable workshops where you can experience music, dance and song appreciation for the deaf!
Extraordinary Horizons strives to promote deaf awareness through their sign language courses, workshops and outreach programs. EO Horizons also features performances by those dabbling in the deaf performing arts scene in Singapore, and helps the disadvantaged gain self-confidence as well as attain life skills and knowledge!
Entrepreneurs with Disabilities
3 Coleman St, #04-04, S179804
Scape Co Ltd
2 Orchard Link, #04-01, S23797
Contact: [email protected]
Let’s be honest, most of us can’t use that many bath and beauty products at any one time. So this year, instead of popping by a store for those yearly gift boxes head down to any of these 7 local social enterprises and have a unique Christmas experience!
Feeling inspired? Check out this list of fun events that give back this festive season.
If you’re looking to make your Christmas one that really counts, check out Asia For Good’s socially conscious gift guides and hacks for a merrier Christmas!
(feature image: SH Digital Co)