In the run up to Christmas, people are on the hunt for the perfect gifts for their loved ones. But, what do you buy for the people in your life who are almost impossible to buy for because they already have everything they want?
Instead of buying unnecessary material things which may end up in the back of a cupboard or the bottom of a drawer, why not give your loved ones the gift of giving – by spending your money wisely and choosing something that will give to more than just that one person!
If you’re searching for ideas with a view to spreading happiness far and wide, I’ve put together a list of the Top 10 gifts that give back…
1. Give the gift of helping the environment
There are a number of organisations in South Africa, including Greenpop, Food and Trees for Africa, and Green Works, through which you can plant a tree in someone’s name. By planting trees you are not only taking a step towards offsetting your own carbon footprint, but also helping improve the environment for everyone.
2. Give the gift of recycling
By purchasing recycled gifts for those you know who make a conscious effort to recycle – or for anyone. There are a number of companies that make products from recycled materials. You can buy bags, shoes, wallets, lamps, stationery and other items from companies like E’Yako Green, Eco Friendly Gifts or I am Green.
3. Give the gift that helps more than 1!
The money you spend on your loved ones doesn’t have to just go towards something for them, but can also go towards social upliftment. The Relate Bracelets Christmas Stack is a great choice. By buying a stack of 10 Relate bracelets you support charities at the same time – 100% of the proceeds go to various charities – including the Reach for a Dream Foundation, the Amy Biehl Foundation, Goodbye Malaria, the Shine Centre, the Rotary Safewater Project and Ikamva Labantu. A third of the profits go towards these trusted and transparent charities, while another third goes towards Relate Bracelets’ beaders and closers, giving them upskilling and earning opportunities. The last third is used for materials, so every cent goes directly to South Africans who need support. not-for-profit social enterprise Relate Bracelets.
4. Give the gift of time
Invite a loved one to spend a day volunteering with you. Perhaps not all your friends and relatives will be up for this, but if you have one willing accompany them then it’s a great way to give back while spending quality time with a friend – on a worthwhile experience that you will always remember. Find a charity in your area that needs a couple of extra pairs of hands over the festive season.
5. Give the gift of commitment to a cause
Alternatively, if you have the time, you can sign up for something more regularly in the new year. If you have a day or even just a few hours to spare during the week, you can also sign up for a regular activity with a friend. Both Through the Shine Centre and LifeMatters offer literacy programmes where you can sign up to spend just an hour or two a week helping children improve their reading and writing. Alternatively, find a cause that interests you and ask how you can help.
6. Give the gift of charity
If your New Year’s resolution is to de-clutter and organise your life, then why not get a head start and get a collection together for a charity shop ahead of the New Year’s rush. This is something good you can do for yourself over the festive season, or you can help a chaotic friend with the same goal – who just hasn’t managed to get around to it. You could even do it with a group of friends for a charity in your local area. There are worthy beneficiaries all over South Africa where you can donate old clothes, books and other items. One person’s junk is another person’s treasure, remember, but just make sure whatever you’re giving away is in good condition – and not worthy of the bin! When you drop off your donations, you can kill two birds with one stone by shopping for books or trinkets in charity shops. And the money you pay goes straight to the charity that the shop is supporting. Many charities rely on not just donations, but the income generated from their stores.
7. Give the gift of hope
Instead of buying another pair of socks, chocolates or a toy that will be forgotten in a week, why not give a gift that will have a greater impact? Why not Show Love to the vulnerable in Cape Town by purchasing a Give Hope Card from Common Good. By buying Give Hope cards you can give meaningful gift alternatives that will empower people whose lives are affected by poverty and injustice. There are four gift card options on sale, ranging in price from R50 to R200.
8. Give the gift of education
On the subject of collections, there are schools all over South Africa in dire need of necessary supplies to help them with the tough task of shaping young minds. Some might need textbooks or stationery, others might need computer or sports equipment. Even if you just give what you can afford as a donation, find out what you can offer a school in need. Whatever you are capable of giving, or arranging sponsorship for, the gift of education is truly worthwhile.
9. Give the gift of generosity
You may know someone who is regularly outspoken about a cause they feel passionately about. If you have a friend who is regularly campaigning for their own chosen cause, be it through casual conversation or active protests, why not show you care about them and their beliefs by making a donation. Your friend will appreciate that you take an interest in what they care about, and it shows you listen too.
10. Give the gift of a smile
The Smile Foundation helps “countless numbers of children in South Africa born with facial conditions including cleft lip and palates, Moebius syndrome and burn victims”. They offer a number of ways on their website in which you can help. Perhaps you’ve already done your Christmas shopping and feel you can stretch to something extra – the gift of a smile for a child. You can either volunteer your time, make a donation or purchase useful gifts from their online shop like watches, umbrellas or back-up battery power packs.
How will you be giving back this Christmas??