If you are tired of contributing to the excess that is sometimes known to happen with gift-giving, there are ways that you can still enjoy holidays without being completely wasteful. A great way to do this is to donate to your favourite charity in your friend’s name. Not only are you supporting a great cause, but you can gift something to a loved one with a clean conscience!

So here is a list of donations that you can give to the friend or family member who refuses to add to the junk in their homes and instead wants to contribute to society.

Plant a tree

farm of hong kong charity trees for life
Farm cared for by Trees for Life, an environmental charity in Scotland (© Trees for Life)

One of the most environmentally-friendly ways to gift is to plant a tree (or many) in the name of your friend. While you can definitely make an experience out of this, and do the planting yourself by joining local initiatives like the Tree Planting Challenge with Friends of the Earth, you can also donate to the following charities and they will plant trees for you around the world. With Ecosia, you can plant up to 40 trees for about HK$800, specifically choosing to benefit causes such as wildlife, clean water or empowering women. And you even get a printable certificate that you can give to your friend. Trees for Life is another charity where you can even choose the background for the certificate!

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two elephants living in global sanctuary for elephants
Elephants living with space to roam at Global Sanctuary for Elephants, Tennessee (© GSE)

Organizations around the world offer you the option of providing for the welfare of a wild animal. With symbolic ‘adoption’, as offered by WWF, you receive a cuddly stuff toy and an adoption certificate, as well as regular updates! A perfect way to introduce a young child to ethical gifts! With other organizations, you can choose a specific animal to support through a monthly subscription. The Dhyan Foundation in India, for example, allows you to cover the feeding for one of their thousands of dogs or cows for a minimal fee of about HK$1,500-2,500 a year. You will be able to see the animal grow with regular videos and photos. You can also be an Ele-Guardian for an elephant in Brazil by supporting the Global Sanctuary for Elephants

giftee with foodlink food hamper
Food hamper from Foodlink (© Foodlink)

During holidays when gift-giving is paramount, it can be great to ensure everyone receives a gift, including those in need. One way to do that is to help sponsor meals! Foodlink provides a “Together We Care Package” which includes ready-to-eat meal packs of three meals made up of 2kg of rice, noodles and food coupons for just HK$150, helping feed the 1.6 million people who live below the poverty line in Hong Kong. Similarly, through Po Leung Kuk, you can sponsor anywhere from one meal for a child to hot meals for 10 days, alongside supporting medical treatments, schooling, etc. Outside Hong Kong, charities such as Centre Point help provide homeless youth with a meal, or even hampers, gifts and jumpers in the UK, to make their holiday season a bit more special.

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Give a gift to someone in need

volunteers handing out box of hope boxes in cambodia
Volunteers handing out supplies and toys in Cambodia (© Box of Hope)

Gift-giving doesn’t need to mean adding more to someone who already has enough; instead you can provide special gifts both in cash or in kind to children and adults alike! You and your child can wrap a box of school supplies, toys, and other essentials and donate it to Box of Hope to provide children around Hong Kong and Asia a special gift. You can also support Angels for Children in buying Secret Santa presents for children in need! If you don’t have time to physically buy and drop off a gift, you can donate money for gifts, books or school shoes!

Let your giftee choose

screenshot of christmas choice donation gift cards
Choose a design or personalize the charity gift card (© Christmas Choice)

Finally, if you are not sure which charity your friend or loved one would like to donate to, you can give them their own choice! Christmas Choice allows you to choose the gift of charity by selecting a gift card and donation amount, and then your recipient can select their charity of choice. They support animals, children, education, environment, health… almost every charity in Hong Kong. They also have an incredible children’s page where they help a child learn about giving, through imaginative storytelling and avatar creation. So your favourite little one can be a Charity Hero themselves, helping raise funds for their favourite cause.

Header image credits: Mara Ket via Unsplash

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Born in New Delhi, brought up in Hong Kong, and having lived in New York, city life is in Kopal's blood. You can find her exploring her beloved city. Whether it's the latest sustainable fashion store, or the cutest new coffee shop, she loves finding the hidden secrets of Hong Kong. In her free time, Kopal is a active advocate for animal welfare and adoption, and she runs a Facebook and Instagram page, @adoptdontshop.hk.

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