MoneySmart Christmas Gift Guide: 10 Meaningful & Affordable Gift Ideas

MoneySmart Christmas Gift Guide: 10 Meaningful & Affordable Gift Ideas

If you’re going to spend money on a Christmas gift, it should at least be a little more meaningful than a Precious Moments mug or The Body Shop gift set. And given the fact that millions have been plunged into poverty this year, pausing for a moment to think about where your money goes sure beats fattening the already bulging wallets of Amazon and the like.

And because nobody has time to brainstorm for gifts for their entire entourage, here are 10 affordable Christmas gift ideas that also benefit a social cause or support local businesses.

10 meaningful Christmas gift ideas in Singapore

Christmas gift idea



Charity Pot hand and body lotion from Lush

$9 to $18

Environment, animal protection, human rights

Pouch with lame joke from Bitter Stick Girl


Support local

Laptop sleeve from Social Gifting

$12 to $20


Nubo55 reusable straws from MamaShop



Reusable face masks from Marvelous Works


Women from underprivileged families

Scented candle from The Art Faculty

$20 to $40

Artists with disabilities

Giant wine glass from Spectrum Store


Local business

Log cake from JEN Singapore Orchardgateway by Shangri-la


Underprivileged folks

Chessplus from Toytag


Local business

Reminder Toggle from The Mindful Company


Mental health support

Charity Pot hand and body lotion from Lush ($9 to $18)

Lush is well-known for their bath and beauty products, including solid shampoo, soap and bath bombs. This year, their Charity Pot hand and body lotions come in handy, given the amount of hand-washing we’ve been doing.

The lotions make liberal use of fair trade ingredients and are not tested on animals. They come in a tub or in solid or coin form, which eliminates plastic packaging — perfect for plane travel.

100% of the sales proceeds (minus valued-added taxes) from Charity Pot products goes to Lush’s Charity Pot fund, which supports small, grassroots groups and NGOs in the areas of environment, animal protection and human rights. Support is paid out as grants ranging from $100 to $10,000 per project, with the average grant being about $3,000. Charity Pot partners in Singapore include ACRES and Animal Allies.

Pouch with lame joke from Bitter Stick Girl ($10)


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At just $10, these endearing pouches with puns in mostly Chinese are ideal as stocking stuffers or the yearly office Christmas present exchange (assuming your recipient can actually read Chinese of course).

They can be used as pencil cases, makeup bags, coin purses, cases for face masks and so on. As an added bonus, they might actually encourage your recipient to brush up on their Chinese.

All products are designed in Singapore by Bitter Stick Girl herself, so your money will go to a small local business rather than some faceless corporation owned by a billionaire.

Laptop sleeve at Social Gifting ($12 to $20)


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Now that many of us are working remotely, it’s important to have a laptop sleeve for days when you take your computer on the road. Social Gifting has a wide selection, from simple light grey ones with a Scandinavian hygge vibe, to ultra-cute bear and ninja sleeves made of felt.

Many of the sleeves are made by seniors at Lion Befrienders Ghim Moh, which organises crafting sessions to help the elderly overcome social isolation. They are sold through the website of Social Gifting, a social enterprise which aims to bring people together with crafting, particularly those who are facing obstacles such as cancer, mental illness, autism and isolation.

Nubo55 reusable straws from MamaShop ($15)


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In 2020, everyone knows that the once-ubiquitous plastic straw is evil. Every time you use a reusable straw instead of a single-use one, a sea turtle thanks you (and you also free up space on Pulau Semakau, our national landfill).

Nubo55’s reusable straws are ideal for bubble tea fans, who actually really need a straw to enjoy their drink of choice. They come with a slanted tip that lets you pierce through plastic packaging and is extra wide to accommodate pearls. On top of that, the straws come in a range of cheery colours and can also be dismantled into two pieces and stored in the provided case.

They’re sold by Mama Shop, a retailer of eco-friendly, sustainable products based in Singapore.

Reusable face masks from Marvelous Works ($15)


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Face masks are going to be a part of our daily lives for some time to come, so it’s really worthwhile investing in a few reusable cloth masks. Plus you can help to alleviate the plague of single-use masks which end up as litter in our waterways and increase the amount of waste our infrastructure has to deal with.

These 100% cotton masks are handmade in Singapore by women from single-parent households and underprivileged families. You can insert your desired filter through a slot in the mask for better protection, and enjoy a more secure fit thanks to the built-in nose wire.

The masks are available in two sizes for adults and one size for kids, and the fabrics come in numerous prints from Star Wars, cats and mermaid scales to more dignified looking checks and strips.

Scented candle from The Art Faculty ($20 to $40)


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Lighting a scented candle at home is the ultimate form of cocooning, which we’re all in some desperate need of after everything that’s happened this year. In addition, now that we’re spending more time at home, it’d be useful to have something aromatic to combat secondhand smoke wafting over from neighbours’ homes or keep the toilet smelling fresh after repeated use.

Instead of picking up mass-produced candles, consider getting yours form The Art Faculty, which features items made by people with autism who earn royalties on their work. The items are made by participants of Pathlight School’s Artist Development Programme, which has students working under the tutelage of professional artists to develop their talents.

They offer a range of candles costing $20 to $40 in scents like kopi-O, Teh-C, bandung and neroli flowers.

Giant wine glass from Spectrum Store ($29.90)


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For days when you REALLY need a drink, this giant wine glass holds an entire bottle. Perfect for the drinking buddies you no longer get to see because of the alcohol sale curfew. Also, no one’s gonna call you a lying alcoholic when you can honestly say that you will have just one drink — with this glass. Cheers!

Spectrum Store is owned by a local family business selling novelty items and fun gifts. Instead of turning to Amazon or Taobao for kitsch gift items, consider a local store instead.

Chessplus from Toytag ($55.98)


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Now that The Queen’s Gambit has started a chess craze, someone in your life might be dying to unleash the power of his or her queen. This portable chess set lets you play on the road, and is a great alternative to fiddling with your phone or Nintendo Switch. Play it the traditional way, or follow a new set of rules to raise the level of fun.

Playing chess helps to boost brain functions, and has also been credited with improving attention span. And while retailer Toytag isn’t a social enterprise, it’s a local business that is probably more deserving of your support than Amazon.

Christmas logcake from JEN Singapore Orchardgateway by Shangri-la ($53)


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Instead of showing up at that potluck Christmas party with a six-pack of beer and a bag of chips, treat your co-celebrators with a 500g Christmas logcake from Hotel JEN Orchardgateway. Choose between dark chocolate banana and raspberry lychee.

While you’re at it, take advantage of Hotel JEN’s partnership with The Food Bank Singapore to donate Charity Festive Bentos to beneficiaries for $10. Each bento consists of an orange maple-glazed turkey breast, Christmas fruit cake and fruit juice. You’ll find an option to donate a Charity Festive Bento upon checkout when you place your order online.

Reminder Toggle from The Mindful Company ($68)

These stylish bracelets in gold, silver or rose gold come with a plate that you can customise with your own text. Whether you wish to profess your undying love, inscribe a positive affirmation or just make your recipient chuckle at a private joke, you won’t have to worry about someone else owning the same piece.

Jewellery shops are a dime a dozen in Singapore, but The Mindful Company is a bit different. As a registered social enterprise with raiSE Singapore, they promote mental health awareness by supporting charities in the mental health space, among others.

Found this list of gift ideas useful? Share it with your Secret Santa.