“It's not how much we give but how much love we put into giving.” - Mother Teresa
Christmas is fast approaching and if you’ve been thinking about how to fit your Christmas shopping into a busy December schedule, or if the thought of heading into a shopping mall is already draining the Ho-ho-ho from you, then why not opt to gift something this year that allows you to stay clear of the Christmas chaos in the malls?
I’ve often found that the kind of gifts that come from the heart are the ones that I remember and cherish the most. And not surprisingly, these usually aren’t the largest or most expensive ones under my Christmas tree either.
If you’ve been thinking about giving something from the heart this Christmas, here’s a list of thoughtful gift ideas that are both meaningful and creative and that also encourages us to take a closer look at what it truly means to give this Christmas.
Make a donation
Instead of spending money on a present, why not consider donating to a charity or a cause in the person’s name? The list of charities and causes that require financial support is endless, but if you’re looking for some in Malaysia, you could consider some of these: helping tiger conservation through the Malaysian Conservation Alliance for Tigers MYCAT, or contributing to the various initiatives organised for at-risk children and teens by Yayasan Chow Kit, supporting Orang Asli communities via Epic Home or SUKA Society’s Empowered 2 Teach programme or by donating to Mercy Malaysia. Alternatively, check out crowdfunding sites like Razoo, which has thousands of good causes waiting to be supported.
Issue a Care Coupon
Writing a ‘care coupon’ is a thoughtful way of offering your assistance or an act of kindness to someone. Your care coupon could be a baby-sitting service for your sister who hasn’t had a night off in weeks, or perhaps you’ve just completed a yoga teacher-training course and want to offer classes to a group of girlfriends for a month, or it could be offering to cook dinner for a friend, or perhaps even buying a suspended coffee for someone who needs it. There are many types of care coupons that you could issue. If you’re stumped for ideas, think about the person that you’re writing the coupon for and what act of kindness would create an impact for them. You might be surprised with what you come up with!
Gift Your Time
In her book ‘The Giving Way to Happiness’, Jenny Santi says, “Giving time gives you time,” and what a wonderful thought this is especially during the holiday season. Instead of exchanging presents, gift your time and that of a loved one and do something together that you both find meaningful such as donating blood to the national blood bank, spending time at an orphanage or volunteering at the SPCA.
Play to your creative strengths and interests when choosing these gifts. If you love DIY and getting crafty, try your hand at making homemade upcycled gifts, or if you have a green thumb you could learn how to create an edible garden for someone. Or you might prefer to turn your gift into an outing for a group of family and friends by gifting them a creative class to try out. Apart from having fun, it’s also a great opportunity to spend some quality (creative) time together. Here’s a list of some classes in the Klang Valley to get you started.
This list is by no means exhaustive, but hopefully the few suggestions here have inspired you to think up Christmas gifts for your loved ones that are unique, heartfelt and more importantly, don’t have to come from a department store.
For many, the year-end is a time for reflection, and giving thanks. If we can encourage ourselves to give a little bit more meaningfully and from the heart this Christmas, our good intentions will also play a part in multiplying the gratitude, good cheer and love for the season all around.