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Gifting and giving back on your birthday

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Ways to bring some birthday cheer to the less fortunate.

Want to throw a celebration that no one will forget for all the right reasons?

Giving back on your birthday can be the perfect way to take parties to the next level among your circle of friends.

According to scientific research, the benefits of giving extend beyond the recipients. The feeling that you get from doing a good deed is caused by the release of endorphins which produce the positive sensation known as the "helper's high".

Here are some ways you can get your fix of that "helper's high" and make your special day extra special for someone else.

1. Gifts with a twist

Are you tired of either throwing or attending over-the-top lavish parties? Why not stand out from the regular celebration by trying something out of the box for a good cause?

Instead of having all the presents be for yourself, have your guests bring something that can be donated to places like The Salvation Army.

Undergraduate Nicole Lim, 22, said: "Last year, for my 21st birthday party, I asked all my friends to bring either food or clothing items so we could donate them all the next day. I just wanted to do something small to help out those who may not be so fortunate. I believe a little goes a long way."

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VOLUNTEERS PACKING NON-PERISHABLE FOOD ITEMS TO DELIVER TO THOSE IN NEED.
PHOTO CREDIT: FOOD FROM THE HEART

2. Channel your inner Genie

What can be more meaningful than granting someone's last wish on your special day? Make-A-Wish Foundation Singapore does just that for children with life-threatening illnesses.

Speaking to Youth.SG, Corinne Fong, 53, Marketing and Communications Manager of Make-A-Wish Foundation Singapore, explained: "Many children, and by extension their anxious parents, are unfortunately so consumed with medical treatments and hospital visits, or are house or hospital bound. Oftentimes, birthdays are forgotten. But as children are children, on their special day they want to feel special, loved, and be the center of attention." 

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A FROZEN-THEMED BIRTHDAY WISH GRANTED FOR A SPECIAL GIRL.
PHOTO CREDIT: MAKE-A-WISH FOUNDATION

Most young children's wishes are simply to have their birthday celebration be of a specific theme. By fulfilling such a request, they are empowered to become someone greater, even if it's just for a day.

Corrine described the impact of granting wishes, saying: "When a child's one true wish is granted, he or she would feel that the impossible is possible, and thus the emotional, psychological and physiological impacts are evident for the children, parents, siblings and family as a whole. The child feels that he or she is taking control of life, whereas the illness had taken control before."

3. Volunteer to party

According to the Ministry of Culture, Community and Youth, the volunteerism rate among youth between 15 to 24 years old is 43 per cent, as of 2012.

You can make a difference to this number by simply showing up to celebrate someone else's birthday.

Not everyone is fortunate to be able to celebrate their birthday every year with their loved ones. Those in children's or old folks' homes may not even have family members visiting them on their special day.

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JOINT MONTHLY BIRTHDAY CELEBRATIONS HELP PUT SMILES ON THE FACES OF RESIDENTS.
PHOTO CREDIT: FOOD FROM THE HEART 

Food from the Heart is one initiative which organises monthly birthday celebrations for both children and elderly from welfare homes. Under their Birthdays from the Heart programme, volunteers pitch in to help plan and execute party games.

You can even volunteer with all your friends to participate in the monthly festivities of a nursing or children's home and see firsthand the joy a little celebration brings.

Let us know if you have any other suggestions on how to do some good on your birthday!