It has traditionally been a holiday to spend time with loved ones, to give them presents, and generally reflect on how the struggles and triumphs we experienced throughout the year have changed us for the better.
We spent our childhood Christmases with our families as we decorated trees, watched Christmas-themed movies (I’m pretty sure I’ve caught Home Alone every year since I was 4) and caught up with family we rarely saw.
Unfortunately, as the years pass, we grow a bit more jaded, and instead of cherishing the time we get to spend with our loved ones, we often end up being more preoccupied about the presents we have to buy and wrap before Christmas Day.
In other words, it’s easy to get caught up in the hustle and bustle of the Christmas rush, and thus forget what’s really important.
This Christmas, why not embrace the true festive spirit of giving by shopping sustainably, and doing good in easy, fun, and innovative ways with Asia For Good!
Giving Back The 21st Century Way
First, why not have a green Christmas by being eco-friendly?
Christmas is definitely the most magical time of the year, but it’s also one of the most wasteful. Just think of all the wrapping paper and cards you chuck each year! Switch things up by going green this festive season, and do your part for Mother Earth.
For starters, try out these super simple sustainable Christmas hacks, like putting your gifts in a reusable tote, or making your very own recycled wrapping paper out of old packaging!
Next, you can crowdfund, or give a micro-loan to help someone’s wish come true.
Today, technological advances have made it more convenient to give to the less fortunate, and giving back to society has never been easier.
Social enterprises like Give Asia and Milaap are putting a new spin on helping the less fortunate. The former helps you to fund worthy projects, and start campaigns for causes you’re passionate about, while the latter connects you to individuals in need of a micro-loan for their projects.
Better still, when repaid, you can choose to lend the money to someone else, making it a gift that truly keeps giving.
You can also play a part in the development of mind-blowing social innovations – like these bio-degradable mosquito traps to combat Zika, by funding them on platforms like Kickstarter and Indiegogo.
Now, we all love Christmas, but it has a tendency to be a commercial affair and a celebration of consumerism (let’s face it, who doesn’t love an excuse to binge shop!).
Therefore, instead of getting run-of- the-mill hampers, why not do Christmas differently with quirky gifts that give back to communities in need.
For instance, when you buy Yellow Leaf Hammocks’ ridiculously comfortable hammocks, you’re empowering artisan weavers in Thailand, and improving their lives and livelihoods.
You can also shop for cool gadgets like Luminaid’s colour-changing solar lanterns and TOMS’ Apple Watch straps.
For each one you buy, proceeds will go straight to communities in need.
You can also make a statement by trying new, unique, and meaningful activities with your loved ones this Christmas.
Try cooking a meal for families in need, or round up your bill to the nearest $10 for a good cause at Timbre (Timbre will match your donations dollar-for- dollar, and the proceeds will go towards medical treatments for patients who cannot afford it).
There are so many simple and creative ways to give back that will not only let you create special memories with those closest to you, but also help to spread the Christmas cheer to the less fortunate.
Did you know that you can even feast for a good cause? Have your feast and give back too, by indulging in yuletide feasting at restaurants that employ the marginalized.
For example, dine at restaurants that train ex-offenders in culinary skills to help them get their lives back on track. Garcons is one of these restaurants, and it offers modern European fare at affordable prices, so check out their Christmas specials, like turkey roulade and pot roast!
If you’re in the mood for hearty local dishes like bak kut teh, don’t forget to check out Soon Huat Dining House at Chinatown Point.
So this Christmas, instead of struggling to find presents on the streets of Orchard Road (which, let’s admit is going to be crowded with other Christmas shoppers), why not take these options into consideration to make your Christmas an extra special one?
Asia For Good
The team at Asia For Good believes that consumers have the power to create positive change, and the good news is that socially conscious living is actually really easy!
You just have to continue doing the things you already love – like eating, shopping, and traveling, but this time, with companies that make a difference.
Their lifestyle-oriented stories on the Asia For Good website covers everything from cool social innovations, to socially-conscious restaurant reviews, so that you can live ethically and effortlessly.
What’s more, the website also features a regional directory of social enterprises to connect you with businesses (like cafes that hire ex-offenders, and companies that make eco-friendly bamboo tissues) that are giving back and creating a positive impact in society.
Visit https://www.asiaforgood.com to find out more.