5 Easy Ways to Give Back this Christmas

Written by
Wen Yi

Hello December! The last month of the year is finally here, and that means we can officially bring out the Christmas tree, and turn on our Michael Buble & Mariah Carey playlist <3

But beneath the surface celebrations and festivities, Christmas is really about the spirit of giving. Which is why us at Picha want to share 4 ways you can give back this Christmas, without having to break a sweat. Yes, we know you like things to be quick & easy.

#1 - Reach into your wallet for a good cause

Let’s face it, when the end of the year comes round, so do our paychecks and bonuses… cue the shopping trips and meet-ups with friends! Before you buy a Christmas present for your bestie or make a restaurant reservation, why not consider spending your money at places that will use your dollar for a good cause? In case you’re not sure where to start, we recently reviewed several awesome social enterprise eateries here. We’ve also got you covered for gift ideas – EarthHeir, Biji-biji, and Sew x Dignity for unique Christmas presents.

#2 - Take care of the environment

Because Mother Nature deserves a gift too! Over at Picha, we feel very strongly about sustainability – not just in our business model, but also in the way we engage with our environment. Simple things can go a long way, like opting for a reusable paper bag instead of wrapping gifts in paper/plastic, or using your metal straw the next time you get your bubble tea fix. This Christmas, let’s think about the larger impact our small actions have on the environment.

#3 - Spend some time with communities in need

Time is really the best you can give. If you have a couple of free hours a week, consider volunteering for an NGO or a community initiative. There are many NGOs in Malaysia that do great work and are always in need of an extra pair of hands. And for those that were attracted to the ‘easy’ part of this list, how does supporting refugee children’s education by playing board games sound?

E-lluminate is our sister social enterprise that hosts a board game cafe on weekends, hosted by super hilarious and energetic refugee children themselves. The money earned from these sessions goes straight to giving these children quality education. Easy right! Check out the work they do and join an upcoming session here!

Photo credit: e-lluminate

#4 - Shop with The Zaza Movement

In May, The Picha Project lost a great Syrian chef - Zaza - to cancer. Zaza was not just a chef, he was our family, and we were constantly inspired by his dedication to helping others in need despite his precarious status as a refugee. After Zaza’s passing, #thezazamovement was founded to carry on his spirit of generosity, and to remember his heart of gold.

We’ve partnered with BIG’s newest location @ The Linc KL to make it easier for you to participate in the movement! All you have to do is shop for dry food products (e.g. rice, oil, sugar) during your next grocery run and drop them into the Community Box, currently located next to their checkout counters. It’s that simple!

These items will then be donated to the communities in need. So the next time you do your grocery shopping, do get something for the community too 🙂

#5 - Attend our Picha Christmas open house!

Wait, hear us out before you call this shameless self-promotion! We’re sharing this because our open houses are truly opportunities to give back, learn, and enjoy yourself all at the same time.

This year, our open house is themed ‘Laughter Across Borders’, inspired by fact that our Picha chefs used to love celebrating Christmas with their friends back home, despite being Muslims. We want to highlight these values of giving and festivity, in hopes that celebrations like Christmas can unite people across cultures and nationalities.

Photo credit: Joe Kit Yong

To help spread this message, we will be sharing stories about #WhatMakesMeLaugh throughout the month of December, drawn from our experiences as Picha and the families we work with. Though we may have our differences, we realised that we can all laugh at the same things — because at the end of the day, we are all humans.

Make your December a month of celebration and laughter by joining us at Picha Christmas 2.0, and sharing your #WhatMakesMeLaugh stories with us on social media. We’ve had so much fun collecting our stories, and we hope you will too!

(P/S: Carpool or take public transport to the event to manage your carbon footprint! Haha)