There's a big fat jolly guy inside every one of us ready to come out. Wait, that sounds wrong for some reason. What we mean is that you can be a giver like Santa Claus, especially during this time of year when everyone seems to be more generous than usual. But why not extend your generosity beyond your circle of friends and families to strangers too? We've found nine cool ways you can give and, at the risk of sounding like we have a soft heart, receive good karma and the joy of doing so in return.
If you want to: Wear a Santa hat and say "Ho ho ho" without offending women...
Then: Join Bangkok Vanguards' Santa Cause. It will take place this year from Dec 15-16. The social enterprise group will visit low-income communities in Bangkok and spread joy to children and adults living there. Volunteers will then be divided into teams. Each team will consist of one leader in a Santa suit and 10 to 15 elves, reindeers or volunteers in Christmas hats. Every team will be given loads of gifts, ideas for activities and directions to their assigned community. To join, simply show up at the Christmas tree outside CentralWorld on Dec 15-16 at 9am (085-833-9218, facebook.com/SantaCauseBangkok). Show your support to Bangkok Vanguards by buying a Santa set which consists of a T-shirt with the group's logo on it and a Santa hat for B220. Contact the group and tell them your size. If you have toys, school bags, stationery, clothes or shoes you want to donate, bring them along but don't forget to contact the group first.
YOU'RE SUCH A SOFTY
If you want to: Make up for the lack of dolls you had during your childhood and help kids get smarter...
Then: Partake in Ikea's Soft Toy for Education campaign that takes place over the last two months of each year. The Ikea Foundation will donate one euro for every soft toy you buy towards educating children. The campaign has donated 47.5 million euros, benefitting 8 million children in 40 countries. The foundation will match each doll purchased and donate them to children in the South. Just drop the doll into the box provided and Ikea Thailand (10am-10pm. Ikea Bangna, 38 Moo 6 Bang Na-Trat Road Km 8, 02-708-7999, facebook.com/IKEAThailand).
If you want to: Pretend you're Santa Claus and make a kid's wish come true...
Then: Go to Pathumwan Princess Hotel (444 MBK, Phaya Thai Road, BTS National Stadium, 02-216-3700 ext 2046-7) and pick a postcard from the Wishing Tree located in the hotel's lobby. On each card is a wish of a disadvantaged child. You then buy the gift the child wishes for, some of which are available for sale at the hotel. The hotel will wrap it for you for free and hand it to Santa who will present it to the kid on Dec 28. The deadline for granting wishes is Dec 25. In return, you will receive a thank-you note from your recipient.
TEDDY BEAR TO THE RESCUE
If you want to: Plant a seed to better the environment for future generations and bears...
Then: Adopt a teddy bear through the Landmark Goes Green V campaign. For every B250 you donate, the Landmark Bangkok (138, Sukhumvit Road, 02-254-0404 ext 7777) will fund the planting of tree saplings in a forest reserve. You will also get to take home cuddly "Brownie" teddy wearing a T-shirt in an eco bag. The bears are waiting for you at the hotel's lobby.
CHARITY YOU CAN CHEW
If you want to: Eat your way to charity...
Then: Buy charity postcards from McDonald's. There are 10 cards available, each depicting Ronald McDonald having a great time at various Thai tourist destinations. Cards cost B20 each, but you can buy all of them and two B100 McDonald's vouchers for B300. It's three causes in one purchase, really. You get to promote Thai tourism if you send the postcard to friends, wishing them Merry Xmas and Happy New Year (provided that you can still remember the ancient art of writing with a pen). Proceeds from the campaign will go to Ronald McDonald House Charities that help seriously ill children and families in need. Lastly, imagine how many burgers you can buy with B200. The postcards are available until the end of December at all McDonald's branches and the lobby of Novotel Bangkok on Siam Square (392/44, Siam Square Soi 6, Rama I Road, BTS Siam, 02-209-8888 ext 2702-7).
HEMP HEMP HOORAY
If you want to: Sport a limited-edition, designed-by-an-indie-celeb bag and look so dek naew for a good cause...
Then: Drop by the Plajapian shop in Good Little Space (Noon-8pm. Siam Square Soi 6, BTS Siam) and buy a special hemp bag. The social enterprise aims to distribute and add value to products made by groups of villagers living in different provinces in the hope of bettering their livelihoods. The three bags are designed by Hiroka "Vee" Limviphuvadh, owner of fashion brand VL, Tanachai "Pod Modern Dog" Ujjin and adman-turned-street artist Pharuephon "Mamafaka" Mukdasanit. The three designs (B1,150-B1,500 each) are limited to 30-40 pieces each. You can also buy them online via Plajapian's Facebook page (facebook.com/plajapian) and website (www.plajapian.org). Each bag comes with a serial number and the designer's signature. Funds raised through bag sales will support Plajapian's future collaborations with communities in different provinces.
If you want to: Give gifts to kids without paying a satang out of your pocket...
Then: Join Mom-made Toys' Santa Arsa campaign. The group is made up of mothers who have children with autism, cerebral palsy or visual impairment. They make special toys that cater to the development of these kids. Through donations and support from different organisations, the group has toys ready to be distributed to thousands of special kids across the country. And this is where you can help. The group would like to ask you to be Santa while you're on your way home or to your holiday destination during this festive season. Receive the toys from the group and make stops to give them to special kids who are on your route. Message your name, travelling route and phone number to facebook.com/mommadetoys.
PLAY IT FORWARD
If you want to: Bring smiles to sick kids while making more space for your shoe collection...
Then: Join Happy Hospital project by The Mirror Foundation. Through the project, you can give toys in good condition to hospitalised children. The toys will be received by children on Dec 19-20 at Ramathibodi Hospital and Children Hospital. Mail the toys the old fashioned way to Happy Hospital Project, Mirror Foundation, 191 Vibhavadi Soi 62, Yaek 4-7, Vibhavadi Rangsit Road, Bang Khen, Lak Si, Bangkok 10210. Call 02-973-2236-7 ext 103 or 080-637-4751 for more details.
If you want to: Eat a hearty meal for a good cause...
Then: Order special set menus at Fuji Japanese restaurants. The Daddy Fresh set contains sashimi and sushi while the Daddy Fried set contains teppanyaki. For each set you buy, B5 will go to The Chaipattana Foundation that supports royal and other development projects. They are available until Dec 25. For locations of Fuji branches, go to www.fuji.co.th.
About the author
- Writer: Pornchai Sereemongkonpol
Position: Guru Reporter