Celebrate Christmas Around the World

The thing about Christmas is that it’s got just as much to do with celebrating and chilling with your loved ones as it does with taking stock of the year that’s gone by and the year ahead.  It’s almost like New Years Eve … but before New Year’s Eve.  I think John Lennon said it best with his Christmas song, “So this is Christmas, and what have you done, another year over, and a new one just begun …”

The Gifts that Count

I’ve been thinking a lot about material possessions, gifts and the idea that we’re drowning in stuff, and at no other time in the year is this more apparent than at Christmas.  We love giving gifts, and Christmas is that time of year when you want to show your love and appreciation for the family and friends that have been with you in the past 12 months.  But are the gifts we’re giving really worth the effort of giving them?  Who benefits from the gifts, and what kind of imprint that the gift leave on the environment or the community?

Although it’s great that gift-giving occurs, the phrase, “it’s the thought that counts” needs a bit of a revamp. Rather than giving a gift just for the sake of giving it, why not give your loved ones a gift that is not only beautiful, but unique, and helps people in struggling communities?  Check out these gorgeous goodies – from all over the world – that are available via the Oxfam shop.

Aboriginal hand-painted papier mache decorations – $14.95 each

Featuring Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander artworks from Better World Arts, these hand-painted papier-mache baubles offer Aboriginal artists a steady income through royalties and a share in the profit sales.  The artisans are employed in traditional activities that supplement rural incomes. This income is derived from work that is culturally enhancing, giving strength to traditional ways of life and creativity in both communities.

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Aboriginal hand-painted papier mache decorations

Reindeer Candle Holders from The Philippines – $29.95 each

These candle holders are made by ARP Handicrafts, and are crafted from wood and twig. ARP Handicrafts has been managed by the Pontioso family in Quezon for three generations, they specialise in making birdhouses and planters using vine, twigs and bamboo materials.

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Reindeer Candle Holders from The Philippines

Jazz and Blues Christmas CDs from France – $24.95 each

I think it’s safe to say everyone plays a Christmas tunes while they’re wrapping presents/getting food ready/cleaning up before the onslaught of family and friends arrive.  These jazz and blues tunes from lesser-known artists present a mix of of classic holiday songs, compiled by the Putomayo World Music label.

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Jazz and Blues Christmas CDs from France

Woza Moya Sock Monkeys from South Africa – $39.95 each

These are too cute!!!  These sock monkeys are available in a range of colours and styles, and are handmade (like all good sock monkeys are) by artisans from Woza Moya, a non-governmental organisation providing care and support for people living with HIV in the Ufafa Valley, South Africa.

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Woza Moya Sock Monkeys from South Africa

Bagh Chal Board From Nepal – $59.95 each

I looked it up – this game is also known as Tigers and Goats.  Bagh Chal is originally from Nepal, and was invented by Himalayan shepherds.  It’s the now the national game of Nepal, and the name loosely translates to Change of Tigers or Moving Tigers.  It was originally played with stones used as the bagh (tigers), and pebbles used as the bakhri (goats) and mirrors the lives of shepherds over a thousand years ago. One player controls the tigers hunting the goats by playing offensive moves, and the other player controls the goats by playing defensive moves. This set comes with a wooden hand painted board, ceramic players (5 tigers & 25 goats – never thought I’d use that phrase online!), instructions and a printed cloth bag. Not suitable for children under 5 years old.

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Bagh Chal Board From Nepal

Swe Swe Angel from Zimbabwe – $6.95 each

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Swe Swe Angel from Zimbabwe

Available in assorted colours, these angels support the work of the Batsiranai Craft Project.  This organisation supports mothers and caregivers of children with severe disabilities.

How to order

Head to the Oxfam shop, give them a call on 1800 088 455 or send your order form and payment to Oxfam Shop Reply Paid 86135 Carlton VIC 3053

Oxfam’s work

I’ve mentioned Oxfam’s work previously, so if you’re familiar with Oxfam you’ll know that they’re a world-wide development organisation that mobilises the power of people against poverty (their words). Oxfam help groups both here in Australia and around the world eradicate poverty, addressing issues in Indigenous Australian communities, Mining Water & sanitation and Women’s rights.

Oxfam Unwrapped

Aside from the great range of products you can pick up from the Oxfam shop, you can also head to their Oxfam Unwrapped page to pick up a great range of e-cards which also double as gifts for those whose Christmas won’t be so merry this year. Choose to send a personalised card, an e-card or a card you can deal with and print out at home (or wherever your printer may be).

 

All images courtesy of Oxfam Australia

Comments:

  1. This is such a gorgeous post. Thanks so much from the team at Oxfam

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