Contrary to popular belief, it is possible to shop consciously for gifts this Christmas. Even in the little red dot. Here’s a curated, unique list of our recommendations for gifts that are good for you, me, the planet, and the people on it. (And we promise it’s not just options that will break the bank.)
FAST FASHION ALTERNATIVES
THE FASHION PULPIT
One of our favourite sustainable fashion spaces in Singapore, The Fashion Pulpit, is top of our list this Christmas. For those who aren’t in the know, The Fashion Pulpit is a permanent swapping fashion space. (With two shop floors full of inventory that gets refreshed biweekly, there’s something for everyone.) You can purchase a one-time swap, or a membership with a range of options, to swap in pieces you have in your wardrobe that you don’t use anymore, for ones that are new to you. We love that it’s actually sustainable, because donating clothes doesn’t always keep clothing in the ecosystem. As a Christmas gift, maybe purchase a one-time swap or even a membership, or swap in clothes you have to find like-new ones for your giftee!
Want to tailor an item to your giftee’s body shape or to suit your giftee’s style perfectly? Look no further. Alt.native’s mission is to make refashioning easy. Instead of donating unused, old clothes away, or tossing them out, Alt.native is here to provide a better alternative. They are a platform to connect anyone who wants to upcycle old clothes to those with the right skills. The process is simple: you fill in a form with what you want to do. Alt.native matches you up to a Refashioner. You both work out the details, your Refashioner brings the idea in your mind to life, and et voilà! You now have a personalised gift, exactly what you imagined. Find out more for yourself and try it here.
BRANDS THAT ARE DOING BETTER
ZERRIN is a curated destination for creative, conscious brands to inspire your green journey. If you have to purchase something new, ZERRIN is the place to go to find brands that are interested in doing better. At ZERRIN, there’s no bullshit. They’re making mindful consumption and sustainable fashion less “sus”, and more “attainable”, in their words. And they know that no brand can be perfect in an imperfect world, so progress over perfection is the name of the game. From conscious fashion to ethical jewellery and even clean beauty, ZERRIN homes a range of products. Visit them in person to take a look for yourself, or find out more online here.
THE SOCIAL SPACE
The Social Space creates multi-concept spaces to inspire social-impact champions to create “an economy for good”. With two spaces in Kreta Ayer and Marina One—the latter housing ZERRIN on the second floor—The Social Space carefully curates high-quality, fair-trade, eco- and socially-conscious products for you to browse. Just in time for the festive season, The Social Space has also curated conscious gift sets. But if you’re looking for something more specific? They’ve got you covered too. Find all kinds of conscious products: from home & decor, to personal care, to zero waste, to lifestyle, and even bakes & edibles! (Oh, and if your giftee enjoys manicures? The Social Space at Kreta Ayer has an eco-friendly nail salon too.)
Green Gaea is an online boutique where you can shop for beautiful, handmade products from their artisan partners. Everything on the site is personally curated, and the makers are truly being celebrated and supported for their work, with fair wages. (We love to see it!) Through shopping on Green Gaea, you’ll be supporting these social enterprises, fair trade practices, and local communities too. The folks at Green Gaea are dedicated to helping women and families find good work, have better health, access to education, clean water and to improve their overall quality of living. Use our code GITNB15 for 15% OFF at checkout—and free delivery for anywhere in Singapore!
ONE FOR THE FOODIES AMONG US
If you’re looking to make a meal as a gift this Christmas, what better way to do it than with unused ingredients that could go to waste? Food waste, after all, is one of the problems even Project Drawdown acknowledges we have to solve. And that’s what the founders of TreeDots are trying to do too. Here’s how they came about: one of its founders was working in a commodities trading and shipping company. Due to unforeseen circumstances, 24 tonnes of avocadoes were doomed to rot in a shipping port in China. This sparked the idea of TreeDots, because the founders couldn’t accept such waste. Today, TreeDots is an online platform that connects suppliers with consumers, redistributing various unsold inventories.
From poultry and vegetables to fruits, snacks and beverages, you’ll find a wide variety of things you might need for a feast this festive season. Check out their platform here, and start saving food from going to waste this Christmas!
Speaking of food waste, treatsure is another business looking to tackle this age-old problem of food waste. treatsure offers two services: buffet-in-a-box and surplus groceries, through a handy app. For the former, simply choose a hotel or restaurant you’d like to visit, and go during the stipulated time. You’ll receive a box and fill that up with food that would otherwise have gone to waste! For the latter, browse surplus grocery products through the app, add them to your cart and then pick up or have them delivered. From plant-based milk to vegetables and fruits, even to sauces and breads, this could be a good option for a last-minute meal you’ll have to whip up. Or if you’re about to head to a potluck this festive season, the buffet-in-a-box is a great way to impress. Check them out here.
10 minutes away from Khatib MRT is Ground-Up Initiative, a non-profit that’s cultivated a space to nurture connectedness, creativity and risk-taking. In their words, they are building a “21st century kampung culture”. They have various offerings: woodworking workshops at their rustic but well-equipped workshop, sourdough bread baking workshops at their Earth Oven, and even farm tours and harvesting experiences at their natural, soil-based, organic and community-powered farm.
Any of these would make a great conscious gift that supports local farms and the local community, but if you’re looking for something to buy, head down on Saturdays! In the day, Ground-Up Initiative opens its doors to those who want to purchase fresh, local produce. You can find anything from purple chillis to peanuts, from spinach to bokchoy. And if you’re looking to make a bulk order, call to find out what they have in the week. You could even make a bulk order for your office, extended family or any other community this Christmas.
URBAN TILLER SINGAPORE
Does your giftee appreciate fresh, local produce delivered to their doorstep? Urban Tiller Singapore has all you could ask for in one place. And it’s extremely fresh too. “Harvested in the morning, on your table by afternoon”, they promise. Boasting a wide variety of produce, you’ll be spoilt for choice. Local favourites, salad essentials, microgreens, herbs, eggs, and even a handcrafted chilli products line? You could even bundle them together in a DIY subscription box as an extra special Christmas gift, that’s sustainable, thoughtful, and definitely useful. As we love to say: don’t say bojio! Check out their full selection here.
EXPERIENCES AS GIFTS
Ah, yes, the rugs that are all the rage on Instagram and Pinterest these days. If you’ve seen them and envied them, here’s your chance to make them. Tufting is the modern take on the traditional craft of rug-making, and involves using a tufting gun to weave yarn through a cut of monk’s cloth, creating abstract patterns, colour-fields or contemporary designs, making custom rugs, vibrant wall tapestries, etc. tuft club, a new studio in Singapore, offers two types of workshops, a rug tufting workshop and tuft mirror workshop. These will take up quite a few hours, but the final product will be worth it. As a gift that’s not quite a gift, this experience will stay with your giftee for a long time. If you don’t want to go tufting with your giftee, you can gift the experience through their gift cards. Check them out here.
BEES KNEES PRESS
Speaking of unconventional experiences to gift, ever thought of gifting the experience of printmaking? Bees Knees Press is located at a beautiful home studio in Tiong Bahru, and offers a variety of printmaking workshops. At the studio, you can learn to make colour prints with linoblocks, try and experience the rich and velvety lines and tones from Intaglio printing, or get on board with screen printing, something that’s really caught on with artists on Instagram these days. It’s the perfect way to spend a weekend afternoon with your giftee this festive season. And you get to take home a piece of art you and your giftee made too! Find out more and contact them here.
Probably one of Singapore’s best-kept-not-so-secrets, The Projector is an indie cinema that sits in the historic, iconic Golden Mile Tower in the middle of town. For those of us who aren’t familiar: think vintage cinemas, a retro-looking bar set-up selling snacks and drinks. And of course, indie movies that you probably won’t find elsewhere in mainstream cinemas in Singapore. Perfect for a festive date—you can actually get all dressed up with your giftee. We’re sure this will be an occasion to remember. Now you can even gift cards, memberships and gift packs. (In case, of course, you don’t know what kind of movies your giftee likes. With indie movies, you never know.) Check them out and purchase a ticket here.
Readers from Southeast Asia will find the name familiar. New Naratif is a “movement for democracy, freedom of information and freedom of expression in Southeast Asia”. They are a media platform based in Southeast Asia, seeking to provide folks in the region with accessible information about important issues we collectively face. They also organise events empowering folks to create change, bringing them together, creating space and capacity. But as we all know, investigative journalism and community organising are under threat. Which means this festive season, if you have a little extra? Consider donating to New Naratif, becoming a member, or gifting a membership! A little goes a long way, and independent media certainly can change the world.
MIGRANT MUTUAL AID
Another way to give back this Christmas is through giving to Migrant Mutual Aid’s Standing Solidarity Fund. Migrant Mutual Aid is a self-organised group of individuals with no affiliation to any organisations. They seek not to be middlemen but to be facilitators; to create a system where people can anonymously and directly redistribute resources to migrant workers. They’ve set up a Standing Solidarity Fund, so if you donate, the money goes to a dedicated bank account where they will disburse funds accordingly to listings, and towards supporting their ongoing fundraisers. This is a perfect gift for any giftee, whether they’ve been introduced to the concept of mutual aid or not. You could set up a recurring donation, or give once. Find out more here.
FEATURED IMAGE: Tobi Law via Unsplash | IMAGE DESCRIPTION: A photo at the Cloud Forest in Gardens By The Bay, an indoor, man-made forest in an artificially-cooled environment. In the background is a structure curving inwards, with silver panels against glass panes. Various types of trees are in the foreground, and in front of them are two Christmas trees with many ornaments (mainly red and gold bobbles). In front of the trees are red and yellow poinsettias close to the ground, fenced up with what looks like big (fake) cinnamon sticks. In between are three Nutcracker dolls, in red, green, maroon and yellow.
Help us keep our content free
It seems like you enjoyed our content and are on your way to better understanding how to be more conscious. As you’ll know, we’re on a mission to make sustainability accessible, mainstream and sexy. And we would not be able to do it with you. We would love you to support us even further in our GITNB movement by helping us create even more content to keep inspiring you and the rest of the world. Aside from being able to enjoy even better reads, you’ll also receive a GITNB t-shirt consciously made from upcycled fabrics in partnership with a Cambodian social enterprise supporting women. For a small donation you will make a huge difference.SUPPORT US HERE