WE front desk decorated with christmas tree and gifts

Wrapping Up the Year with Purpose

— JJ Lee, Vice President, Regional Health Sector Lead, APAC 

Wrapping up the year with a meaningful Christmas


The air was filled with carols and festive music, the unspooling of wrapping papers and tape, the cheery laughter from the staff at WE-Singapore and Watatawa as we entered into the festive mood of giving.

For Christmas this year, WE-Singapore and Watatawa were both in favour of doing something different, and meaningful. We wanted to do more for the community around us, and bring the spirit of Christmas beyond the four walls of our office. The leadership and the organising committee held several meetings to find activities that might fit the bill, and it all led back to one thing – presents!

We decided instead of purchasing generic gifts for one another, we could bring the messages of love and joy this Christmas by giving gifts to children who would be blessed by them.

The devised a plan that saw the office pool together a sum of money, and purchase gifts for children based on their wish lists. This idea grew into reality as we approached various beneficiaries (orphanages, foster homes) who might be interested in our initiative. After some sourcing, we found the Methodist Children and Youth Centre (MCYC) who were more than thankful, and willing to help us bless the children in their home this festive season.

However, pooling together a sum of money and liaising creating a wish list of gifts from the children in the foster home was the easy part – the true challenge arose when we launched into a colossal Christmas shopping spree for presents. All 129 of them.

Three WE employees wrapping gifts

Purchasing 129 presents in the span of 3 days is no easy feat even for an elf – furthermore the wish list had such a wide variety that we had to visit multiple stores to ensure we could purchase all of them. The gift requests ranged from Barbie dolls and RC cars, to UnderArmour apparel and general stationery for school – but with the combined strength and determination of our staff, we were able to purchase all of them.

It was also through such a trying time that we saw several people rise up to the occasion and go beyond their call of duty to accomplish the task. They would head out to purchase gifts several times a day, coming back each time more exhausted than the first. Yet, time after time, they still chose to press on and head out for more presents. The sheer grit and determination that these people exhibited truly amazed me, and served as a testament to how passionately they believed in this cause.

Our act of love this Christmas season culminated on December 15th, as faithful friends and colleagues gathered together for a Christmas party in the WE-Singapore and Watatawa office. The highlight of the party began at 3pm, as all the staff began wrapping the 129 precious gifts for the children. It's moments like these that help you appreciate the true meaning of Christmas. Kudos to everybody – your diligence and meticulous wrapping that day allowed us to achieve our goal of blessing these 129 children this Christmas.

Female WE employee wrapping gift

Minus the glamour of the snow and mistletoe, or reindeer flying through the sky – Christmas with WE-Singapore and Watatawa this year showed me once again what Christmas can be. It might take a little more work and prove challenging at times, but the fulfilment of spreading the love and joy of the season to those around us truly makes this the most wonderful time of the year.