It’s that time of year when you’ve , hopefully, already made a dent in your Christmas shopping. But if, like many others, you’ve left it almost to the last minute or you’ve been waiting annual leave to get your head around things, you may be searching for ideas.

With the festivities just days away, if you’re looking for gift ideas that give back in lieu of panic buying, I’ve put together our list of five gifts that keep on giving.

1. Do your bit for 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 your own or someone else’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. The gift for one to ten people - that helps many more:
The money you spend on your loves ones doesn’t have to just go towards something for them, but can also go towards social upliftment and supporting charities when buying a stack of bracelets from 100% not-for-profit social enterprise Relate Bracelets. The Relate Bracelets Christmas Stack (available from comes with 10 bracelets, each supporting a different charity – 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.

3. Collect and donate – and clear out in the process:

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 actual bin.

4. Start a collection for a school in need:

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. Ahead of the new school year, some schools might need textbooks or stationery while 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.

5. Make a donation in their name – to a cause that means something to them:
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.

You too can make a difference in a small way or many little ways , if each of us do our bit we can bring about great change.

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