• Christmas is almost here, which means most of us are probably caught up in the hustle and bustle of preparing for it. Many of us might already be prepping up for our family gatherings, shopping for gifts, and thinking of what to do or where to go during the much-anticipated holidays.

    While all this is well and good, it would also be wonderful if we could try to find ways to make Christmas more meaningful, not just for ourselves and our families, but also for those in need. After all, Christmas is the season for giving and sharing!

    So, if you’re looking for ways to do just that, we’ve come up with this helpful list of meaningful gift options for you. Remember, when you choose to give gifts that "give back,” you won’t just be gifting your loved ones with presents; you’ll also be blessing others.

    1. Artwine

    Artwine is a group of crafters and designers who make “charming felt pieces” that can be used in various ways, including apparel, hair accessories, handmade pouches and elastic bookmarks. A percentage of the profit from each Artwine purchase is used to support out-of-school youth from marginalized communities in Talon Tres, Las Pinas City, Manila.

    Browse through Artwine’s products by visiting their website. You can also find them on Facebook.


    2. Bars to Bears

    Bars to Bears is a project of Natalia Cruz and Rocio Olbes, two women who are out on a mission to help uplift the lives of other people. Bars to Bears provides livelihood for prison inmates in Legaspi.

    According to their Go Get Funding site, the idea behind Bars to Bears is “to collect left-over materials from designers and to donate them to inmates.” The project is thus environmentally-friendly and helps the inmates, who create special teddy bears using the left-over materials.

    Each bear costs P500 to make, and once they are completed, the hand-stitched bears are distributed to terminally ill children in hospitals and orphanage institutions across the Philippines.

    If you want to help Bars to Bears reach more people and make your gift-giving this Christmas more meaningful and memorable, here’s what you can do:

    - Instead of exchanging Christmas gifts, gather your family members and friends and donate your time to help distribute the bears to the children.

    - Instead of buying Christmas gifts, make donations to Bars to Bears in the name of your family members and friends.

    For more information, follow Bars to Bears on Instagram or visit their website.


    3. TPE Solutions: Soft Play

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    TPE stands for The Parenting Emporium, a retail social enterprise that provides parent-recommended products and expert-backed classes and workshops that are all aimed at making “the parenting journey easier for you.” TPE Solutions: Soft Play is one of their private labels. Currently, the label offers crocheted “fruits” that can be used for pretend play, or just for cuddling by younger kids.

    TPE’s Soft Play products are handmade by women in marginalized communities. Every purchase of the Soft Play products benefits these women and their families, and also gives them a chance to contribute somehow to your family… when your kids play with the items, and when you play together with them.

    To know more about TPE Solutions: Soft Play products, contact The Parenting Emporium at theparentingemporium@gmail.com, (02) 7253723 / 7386272 / 0917-5614366, or visit their Facebook page.


    4. Trese Kids Lunchboxes
    Trese Kids LunchboxThese lunchboxes highlight the rich culture of the Philippines through the different designs on each box, which include the Philippine agila and the pawikan, Banaue’s Rice Terraces and Bohol’s Chocolate Hills. Kids will be able to learn about the indigenous animals and landmarks that make us all proud to be Filipino.

    All lunchboxes are produced by Bagong Payatas Community Ventures Inc., which is commonly known as “Trese.” Trese is a social enterprise that employs the help of residents from Gawad Kalinga (GK) Blue Eagle Village in Payatas 13, SIGA, GK Ateneo and GK Ateneo Alumni.

    To view the design of Trese’s lunchboxes for kids, visit HumanHeartNature.com.


    5. Taclob
    Taclob.phTaclob is a social enterprise based in Tacloban that produces bags/luggage with the aim of promoting upcycling and disaster-preparedness. All their products are made by natural-disaster survivors.

    For orders, you can send them a message on their Facebook page  or send them an e-mail at order@taclobph.com. For inquiries and proposals, email support@taclobph.com or contact 0977-656 3184.


    6. Humabi

    “Humabi” is a Filipino term for “weave.” It is also a social enterprise that produces fashionable bags designed by a mother-daughter tandem who then get women at the Correctional Institution of Davao City to weave the bags.

    Portions of every sale go to the women weavers, who are mostly mothers, and student scholars supported by the founders.

    For more information, please visit the Humabi website.


    7. Si Aiyah at Ang Magic ng mga Bituin
    Si Aiyah at ang Magic ng mga Bituin

    This is a children’s storybook written by journalist and mom of one Lia Mañalac del Castillo. Based on del Castillo and her husband’s journey while waiting for their own child, the book is also dedicated to their daughter Aiyah (which means “miracle” in Arabic).

    All proceeds of del Castillo’s book sales go to DiksyunaryoAtbp, a non-government organization founded by del Castillo. It distributes dictionaries and storybooks to public elementary schools all over the country.

    Si Aiyah at Ang Magic ng mga Bituin is also available at The Parenting Emporium, No. 29, 1st Street, New Manila, Quezon City. For orders or inquiries, contact The Parenting Emporium at theparentingemporium@gmail.com, (02) 7253723 / 7386272 / 0917-5614366.


    8. The Honest Crop

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    If you’re looking for a gift that is healthy and delicious, you might want to consider The Honest Crop’s snack items. Founded by two colleagues who wanted to support local organic farmers and help people be healthier, The Honest Crop provides healthier snack options that are also affordable and conveniently packed for snack-lovers everywhere.

    Check out their offerings on Facebook or on Instagram.


    There are certainly more options out there for “gifts that give back” – more than the ones listed here. All you need to do is a bit of research, or maybe even ask the people in your social circles for suggestions. What matters most is that we commit this Christmas to making not just the people in our lives happy, but also the people who are in greater need.

    Do you have other suggestions for “gifts that give back”? Share them with us in the comments or on our Facebook page.

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