Teenagers get a bad rap for being self-absorbed and selfish all the time. If you’re sick of being lumped with a reputation you don’t deserve, use Christmas to quietly rebel against the label.

Here are five ways for you to act selflessly at Christmas time. You won’t get Brownie points, but only conformists need Brownie points anyway.

Clear out and pay it forward:

As the new year looms, it might be time for a wardrobe clear-out. If new clothes, shoes, bags are at the top of your wish list, why not take the opportunity to give some of your old or unwanted belongs to charity. The same applies to old toys and books – store your old favourites, but some of it could probably be given away without heartbreak. Take some time to sort through your belongings and set aside items that are in good condition that you could pass on. You can donate bags full to charity shops or even individually wrap items for people who need them. Your parents will really appreciate your effort to sort out your room, which is a pretty good gift if it’s something they’ve been asking you to do.

Wear the badge, or bracelet, of friendship:

When you aren’t planning your own perfect Christmas wish list, you might also be trying to think of something special to give to your friends. A stack of beaded bracelets from 100% not-for-profit social enterprise Relate Bracelets comes with 10 bracelets which can be given as friendship bracelets or sweet, thoughtful gifts for relatives, mentors or teachers. And the money you’re spending goes towards social upliftment and supporting charities. Each of the 10 bracelets in the Relate Bracelets Christmas Stack (available fromwww.relate.org.za) supports a different charity – including the Reach for a Dream Foundation, the Amy Biehl Foundation, Goodbye Malaria, the Shine Centre, the Rotary Safewater Project and Ikamva Labantu. A third of the profits go towards these trusted and transparent charities, while another third goes towards Relate Bracelets’ beaders and closers, giving them upskilling and earning opportunities. The last third is used for materials, so every cent goes directly to South Africans who need support.

Volunteer as a family:

Plan a family day out volunteering for a worthy cause or charity in your community, recruiting your parents, siblings, aunts and uncles – whoever takes an interest. Whatever you choose to do, you can use the opportunity to give back within your community and ensure your family’s Christmas isn’t only about the presents and turkey with all the trimmings. Maybe you can make it a family tradition and support the same cause or a different one every year.  It’s a great way to help others while spending quality time with your family on a worthwhile experience that you will always remember.

Spread the joy of a full stomach:

Many of us might be accustomed to the sensation of a full belly after an epic festive feast. When your parents are doing their Christmas grocery shopping list, why not suggest adding ingredients for a mound of sandwiches to be distributed to homeless people in and around your area. Or you can use the leftovers from your Christmas lunch or dinner for fillings. And you can help your parents make the sandwiches so the hard work isn’t all up to them. Making and distributing the sandwiches serves as a fun family activity and they’ll all be grateful you suggested it.

Set a budget for charity shopping:

Ask your parents if you can set aside some of the family Christmas budget for spending together at charity shops. You could find some great treasures as gifts for each other, or perhaps even the odd novelty gift, and the money you spend will go right into the charity the shop is supporting. Many charities rely on not just donations, but the income generated from their stores. A list of South African charity shops is available online athttp://www.charitysa.co.za/charity-shops.

This article was first published in the 12 December 2014 by Teens Online and is available online here