Buying “Social” (And Giving) for Christmas

There is an old Christmas song, or nursery rhyme, in England:

Christmas is Coming/The goose is getting fat/Please to put a penny in/the old man’s hat/

If you haven’t got a penny/A ha’penny will do/If you haven’t got a ha’penny/then God bless you!

Well, most people don’t eat goose for Christmas dinner any more, and there are no pennies and ha’pennies (half pennies). Sadly, though, there are still people, old and young, in need of help and support.

There’s also a Jamaican song that reminds me of the same sentiment. It goes something like this (each line is repeated):

Christmas a come, me wan me lama/Christmas a come, me wan me deggeday/

Pretty, pretty gal, me wan me lama/Pretty, pretty gal, me wan me deggeday/

Not a shoe to me foot, me wan me lama/Pretty, pretty gal, me wan me deggeday/

Not a frock to me back……. Not a hat to me head…… Not a bangle to me han…..

Perhaps someone can enlighten me as to the exact meaning and origin of the word “lama” – but I believe it means a gift. “Deggeday” means fancy clothes, I do believe. You know Jamaicans always like to dress up, and especially for Christmas. I think this song is associated with Jonkonnu and Boxing Day – a traditional day for giving.

Both these seasonal songs are about giving (and in a sense, the need for something extra – the old man is holding out his hat for a coin or two). So how about the concept of buying for a good cause? Combining gift-buying, an obvious necessity at this time of year, and doing good for someone? This is “buying social.”

In Jamaica, there are a number of enterprises that offer an excellent product, while at the same time embracing a social good. Some of these have received support from the USAID-funded Social Enterprise Business Initiative (SEBI) through the JN Foundation. It has been a six-year-long project but of course, these enterprises will continue. Every one of these businesses is focused, dynamic and well worth supporting, with products of great quality.

Here is a list of SEBI social enterprises, whose products you might consider purchasing for Christmas. There are others that offer a range of services, listed at the end.

360 Recycle  Contact: Scheed and Keisha Cole      21 Rousseau Road, Kingston 5.

Email:    Tel: 1 876 620-0586 /1876 782-8039

Products: Home and Garden Accessories made from recycled material. Flowerpots large and small, garden benches and tables, sculptures and building materials. Very creative and beautiful.

Social Mission: To reduce the amount of non-biodegradable waste in our landfills. The manufacturing company also employs and trains inner-city youth. Scheed Cole, its visionary young founder, believes in a “zero waste” future and a circular economy – not just recycling but reusing and repurposing. I wrote about his company’s philosophy in an interview here.

Besides large pieces of garden furniture and other outside furnishings, 360 Recycle makes beautiful small pots in many shapes and sizes. This is their special Christmas offer – Secret Santa – which they will deliver to your “pixie” before Christmas. Contact them for details!

Bartley’s All in Wood  Contact: Lacey-Ann Bartley/ Sebastian Williamson

Hanbury Road, Mandeville, Manchester

Email:   Tel: 1 876-330-4683

Products: Home, personal accessories, customized goods and furnishings, all made of wood.

Social Mission: To introduce sustainable practices to the woodworking sector while practising ethical employment for marginalized young men in Mandeville.


Contact: Randy McLaren   ½ Lucas Road Kingston 2

Email:   Tel: 1 890-5910 / 1 876 893-9713

Product: Bags and accessories for men and women – especially with young people in mind. Really great designs and they do customized bags too.

Social Mission: Empowerment of marginalized groups through ethical employment activities.

A nice Christmas gift from Bartley’s All in Wood! Send an email to with your image and text and due date. Put in the title 8*10 photo plaque with your name & contact.

Deaf Can!   Contact: Blake Widmer 4 Cassia Park Road, Kingston

Email:    Tel: 1 876 587-3833

Products: Coffee drinks, baked goodies, mobile coffee experiences. Deaf Can! Coffee – and their wonderful young baristas – are extremely popular. I wrote about them a few years ago, here…

Social Mission: Engage, empower and equip deaf youth.

Ecofarms Jamaica  Contact: Grace Foster Reid  32 Hargreaves Avenue, Mandeville

Email:   Tel: 1 876 477-2880 / 1 876 383-1182

Products: Decadent and delicious honey products and wine.

Social Mission: To provide 100 jobs for the deaf community in Manchester.

EcoFarms products – honey delights from Mandeville! (My photo)

Inzzpire   Contact: Lashawndla Bailey-Miller

Email:   Tel: 1 876 798-4431 / 1 876 425-0615

Product: Bespoke handmade jewellery for men and women with an inspirational message.

Social Mission: Shine the spotlight on mental wellness while providing at least 10 Jamaicans with their introductory session to a mental health professional annually.

Jamaica Association for the Deaf                                                    

Contact: Denise Badroe   Hope Estate, Papine, Kingston 6


Tel: 1 876 823-6166 / 970-1778-9/977-506

Product: Custom binding, gold leaf printing and related products. It’s beautiful work.

Social Mission: To provide an inclusive work for the deaf, hard-of-hearing and hearing community which is built on the visual acuity of the Deaf.

Inzzpire’s bracelet that truly reflects its social mission. These bracelets carry message charms that are sure to act as reminders of one’s purpose! Each purchase helps them to fulfil their social mission and keep more people alive.

So, also do not forget these awesome social enterprises. They have a lot to offer:

Avant Academy of Music  Contact: Seretse Small   66 Paddington Terrace, Kingston

Email:  Tel: 1 876 348-0934 /371-0013/348-0938

Product: Music Lessons. Music preparedness classes for pursuing a lucrative career. Seretse is a marvellous musician!

Social Mission: To reduce inequity and injustice in Jamaica.

Bunkers’ Hill  Contact: Clover and O’Brian Gordon  Wakefield, Trelawny

Email:   Tel: 1 876 370 2864

Product: Historical/Eco-Tourism Adventure featuring caving, river bathing in an unspoilt part of Trelawny.

Social Mission: Empowerment of the community of Bunkers Hill through employment resulting from the introduction of its historical and ecological attractions to Jamaica’s tourism map.

Educatours JA          Contact: Kadeem Pet-Grave / Simier Lansend     University of the West Indies, Mona, Kingston 7

Email:   Tel: 1 876 547-7989 / 618-2036/466-5951

Product: Customized gamified experiences & tours to residents and visitors

Social Mission: To increase access to historical, eco and cultural attractions for Jamaican students.

NexxStepp Lifelong Educational Services     Contact: Tishauna Mullings    11 Church Street, Morant Bay, St. Thomas

Email:       Tel: 1 876 389 – 8083                                                                                                                                                                                                  

Product: An effective combination of life coaching and educational services offered to three distinct target audiences.

Social Mission: To prepare and equip Jamaicans to meet the demands of the 21stCentury and the global economy.

UCA Marketing     Contact: Kristofferson Nunes    22 Dunrobin Avenue, Kingston

Email:     Tel: 1 876 287-1858

Product: Temporary staffing agency and marketing agency geared to the youth market.

Social Mission: To offer tertiary students an opportunity to gain valuable work experience while completing their course of study.

Young Women and Men of Purpose    Contact: Lanisia Rhoden  Timber Trail Road / Manchester Youth Information Centre

Email:   Tel: 1 876 443-3244/804-3798

Product: Career pathing app and mentoring service.

Social Mission: To steer youth, especially marginalized youth, into professional and scholastic directions in keeping with their skill set, interest and passion.











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