Have Yourself a Cashless Little Christmas

Feeling forced to buy gifts? 

The social pressures and the financial burden of gift-giving can turn anyone into a Grinch.

For us though — market researchers, digital marketers & PR pros who are working in an organization that seeks to serve the nation’s poorest — the holidays bring even harder questions than “who gets what?”.

Why must we keep on anchoring generosity on material gifts?

How can we push for more mindful giving?

How can we go beyond buying a social enterprise gifts?

Well, instead of bemoaning the financial and social costs of giving everyone a present, a couple of work colleagues & I came up with a new way to be generous this season! 🙂

In lieu of buying gifts, we had a “cashless Christmas” instead.

How does it work? Gifts must cost nothing & must be based on a singular idea. Whether the idea is in the realm of tried & true tips or inspiring mantras is all up to the giver. The only requirement for the exchange is that the piece of paper or cardboard containing your idea is “display-able”.

Here are some of the (amazing!) things we received:

Ideas are precious & powerful gifts worth sharing.

Merry Christmas! 🙂 



Give Like a Child

My daughter’s friend recently celebrated his birthday. My daughter and I bought the gift together. As we browsed, I decided the present must be useful. I thought about what the parents of my daughter’s friend would say. I thought about how much I was willing to spend. So much back and forth in my head to buy such a small token.

Some days later, we were wrapping the present & I asked my daughter to help. She got out her box of stickers and started decorating the plain brown wrapper. I’d noticed she was using her favorite stickers. I realized she might not understand that once she gives the gift to her friend, the stickers wouldn’t be coming back.

“Are you sure? Those are your favorites.”

Oo nga. It’s for my gift. I’ll give him my favorites,” she said as she continued to stick on more stickers. When she was done, all of her favorite stickers were on the gift.




I watched her with awe. Her idea of giving was so far from mine. In fact, I couldn’t call my cold calculations in the shopping mall “giving” at all.

With an open palm, my daughter freely shared what she loved most, precisely because it was what she loved most.

May we all learn to give as children do.