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Dec 13, 2021
Michelle Liu

6 Christmas Gift Ideas that Give Back


“Every time you spend money, you're casting a vote for the kind of world you want.” - Anna Lappe. This Christmas, you can make a big difference to communities in need and local businesses by purchasing your holiday gifts from them. Whether it’s funding for children’s education, supporting fair trade to local farmers or contributing to animal welfare, these thoughtful gift ideas are sure to bring joy in and delight - to both your recipient, and to the makers!

SevenTeaOne equips differently-abled communities with social and practical skills, such as making tea infusions, cookies, soaps and snacks. Photo Credit: SevenTeaOne

SevenTeaOne are known for their handcrafted loose tea leaves, which can be hard to come by - especially as they use Malaysian herbs, spices and flowers, such as Pandan Serai, Lemon Basil Telang and a unique Curry Turmeric Tea. Most of the ingredients are sourced from community gardens and family-run farms, which is then hand-plucked so that the leaves remain whole. This gives each brew a stronger, fuller flavour - and tastes so uniquely SevenTeaOne.

By making these tea infusions, natural soap bars and seasonal snacks, SevenTeaOne employs from the differently-abled and marginalized communities so that they are able to earn income in a safe, non-discriminatory work environment. Each product is honoring inclusivity and equality for all, and we hope this joy carries forward to your receiver!

Earth Heir
Earth Heir celebrates craftsmanship of local artisans and thoughtfully designed lifestyle products, from necklaces, shawls to their signature clutches. Photo Credit: Earth Heir

Earth Heir focuses on creating artisanal, luxe Malaysian Heritage pieces, while building sustainable livelihoods for traditional craftsmen in underserved communities. Transparency and ethical practices are at the heart of Earth Heir’s values, where stories and material sources are often accompanied with their pieces. The Bemban Wristlet Pouch is carefully made by Kak Manoi, hailing from the Iban indigenous tribe in Sarawak, who learned how to weave by watching her mom weave Bemban mats when she was younger. Earth Heir reinvests the majority of profits back into the enterprise, so your purchase will contribute to supporting local craftsmanship, like Kak Manoi!

Tanma Women
Tanma Women supports refugee women in training them with skills like sewing these beautiful clutches and making notebooks. Photo Credit: Tanma Women

“Empowering women through handicraft” is what fuels Tanma Women, a fair trade cooperative run by and for refugee women to support themselves, families and communities. Each piece is lovingly made by their seamstresses, and sometimes even with traditional Chin fabrics - from aprons, face masks, notebooks, coasters to handbags. Tanma Women’s showroom is open to the public in Pudu, if you’d like to shop in person and meet some of the seamstresses! Contact Tanma Women by WhatsApp at 0169587782 or email at for more information.

Sluvi Natural
Skip the mass-produced brands and send an au naturel gift instead. Photo Credit: Sluvi Natural

There are so many skin care brands that it can be overwhelming which one to pick. This year, go back to basics and make a difference with Sluvi Natural, a social enterprise that focuses on fair trade with Sarawakian farmers who they source ingredients from. The Sluvi team is also dedicated in equipping their farmers with sustainable farming techniques (meaning avoiding pesticides!) and increasing their yield.

Because it’s made of 100% natural ingredients, it’s the perfect gift for those with sensitive skin or to help reduce acne, eczema, and psoriasis: Stingless Bee Honey Face & Body Soap, which is made from pure Borneon honey, is great for hydration. Aloe Green Tea Face Mask is a life-saver, with its antioxidant powers and a natural way to help your skin achieve that “glowy” look.

We’re sure PledgeCare goes through strict quality control! Pet owners will appreciate this gift, which will benefit their pet’s health - more energy, less allergies and healthier fur! Photo Credit: PledgeCare

Gifting for a “fur” mom or dad? PledgeCare is a thoughtful gift for pet owners, which makes high quality, nutritious and delicious food for animals. What sets them apart is that they use 100% human-grade local ingredients, which ensures it can provide actual nutrition without carbohydrate fillers that are harmful to pets (which a lot of mass, commercial brands use). Currently, PledgeCare offers food for cats and dogs - the air-dried chicken and anchovy treats are fuss-free options for busy fur parents to feed their pets.

PledgeCare is also dedicated to support and give back to animals in need, by either donating proceeds or their own products to local animal welfare organizations. Besides monetary contributions, the business also raises awareness on the plight of stray animals in Malaysia on social media.

Dignity for Children Foundation
There’s a story behind every item: the batik print features the national flower of Pakistan, Jasmine, paying tribute to the diverse community of students at Dignity for Children Foundation. Photo Credit: Dignity for Children Foundation

These gifts may be tempting to keep for yourself! Dignity for Children Foundation sells goods that are handmade through their “Transformational Enterprises”, which are social businesses that empower and equip youth from disadvantaged and refugee communities with practical skills - from sewing, baking, to most recently, woodwork and design training called “Make x Dignity”. All sales are invested back into the training program, to train and educate more students in these trades.


There’s a little something for everyone this holiday season: elegant up-cycled teak wooden boards, hand dyed & stamped batik table runners sewn by refugee tailors, aprons, bags and delicious cookies to spread more joy!