Great Holiday Gifts That Give Back

October 25, 2016 Carol No comments exist

The Case for Holiday Gifts That Give Back

So many of us are so fortunate to have everything we need. Sadly there are too many in this world who lack even the basic necessities of food, shelter, and adequate health care. Many walk a thin line between the two.

 

Whatever your religious affiliations, you can put an end to all the mad consumerism that threatens to destroy the true meaning of the season’s holidays. Give some of your gifts to those who have less. And, no matter who you are gifting, choose holiday gifts that give back.

 

Great Holiday Gifts That Give Back

Socially Responsible Gifts

Serrv

Serrv is a nonprofit, fair trade organization dedicated to lifting disadvantaged artisans, farmers, and their families out of poverty.

 

Every year, for the last several years, this has been my main source for Christmas gifts. They offer a wide variety of merchandise (home decor, kitchen, food, apparel, women’s jewelry and accessories, holiday), all wonderful quality, all very reasonably priced. 

You might also consider hosting a SERRV sale. My church has done a few of these, and with great success.

 

Fair Trade Association

If you prefer to do business with a brick and mortar store, consult the Fair Trade Association’s 2016 Fair Trade Stores and Cafés Guide.

Women’s Bean Project

The mission of Women’s Bean Project is to change women’s lives by providing stepping stones to self-sufficiency through social enterprise.— Our Mission | Women’s Bean Project

Visit the Women’s Bean Project website for more information. Shop their products that include:

  • apparel
  • baking mixes
  • coffees & teas
  • dips, salsas, & rubs
  • gifts baskets
  • gift bundles
  • handmade limited-edition jewelry
  • novelties
  • online gift card
  • soups & chilis
  • sweets

Experiences


Research shows that people value experiences, often preferring them over material things. See 2 Proven Ways to Buy Happiness to learn more about this.

 

So gift your loved one with an experience this year! Most people like movie passes, and the best films usually appear during the holiday season. Or consider a holiday performance, perhaps Handel’s Messiah or The Nutcracker Suite. Of course, the possibilities are limitless, so use your imagination!

 

 A Rescue Dog or Cat

holiday gifts that give back

Happy Tail: The Difference a Day Makes

A preliminary caution on this one … please make sure that the recipient wants to have the pet, and that he or she is equipped to care for it. In my post Saving Lives Two at a Time  I write about my own personal experiences with dog adoption. If you do decide to adopt a pet, try the website Petfinder, “Home of 297,445 adoptable pets from 13,250 adoption groups.”

 

Church Fairs

holiday gifts that give back

I love church fairs! They support the good work being done by our churches. They provide an opportunity for communities to connect. They offer nice gifts for sale, including homemade foods and handcrafted items, all at very fair prices.

 

Foods

holiday gifts that give back
Rise ‘N’ Shine Gift Bag

This is one of my favorite gift categories. It need not be expensive, everyone likes it, and it won’t sit in someone’s closet.

 

Homemade foods are especially wonderful. Try these Christmas Wreath Cookies for a very pretty, very delicious holiday gift.

 

If you are short on time or talent, there are some great sources for ready-made foods:

  • Fair Trade retailers such as Serrv. The Divine Chocolate they sell is about the best I have ever tasted. 
  • The Women’s Bean Project. Their shop includes a variety of very high-quality foods.
  • The Boston-based Dancing Deer Baking Company, winner of Yankee Magazine’s 2014 Editors’ Choice Food Awards. And I can confirm, their products are very, very good.
  • Local bakeries and food shops. If you are fortunate enough to have good ones near you, Christmas is a great time to support them with your purchases.
  • Holiday fairs. You will often find homemade preserves and pickles, as well as baked goods.
  • Kutoa Health Company. For every bar you buy, they feed a child in need. Watch this video:

Handcrafted

holiday gifts that give back
Jack Russell Terrier Puppy

Handcrafted items are unique and special. If you are clever enough to make them yourself, that’s great! Use your special talents to create gifts that will be cherished by their recipients. Wouldn’t I love to receive the Jack Russell Terrier Puppy shown above? My sweet dogs Tillie and Morgan are both Beagle-Jack Russell mix.

 

Children


Children and Christmas … it’s hard to think of one without thinking of the other. And Santa does have his place in every child’s Christmas. While I don’t think that toys should be over-emphasized at Christmas, neither do I think that they should be overlooked. Think of the movie A Christmas Story.The main plot features nine-year-old Ralphie Parker, who wants only one thing for Christmas: a Red Ryder Carbine Action 200-shot Range Model air rifle. Nonetheless, this movie is positively brimming over with love and goodwill.

 

Besides giving a gift or two to each of your own children, please give a gift to a child who otherwise would not receive one. Here are just a few of many organizations that collect holiday gifts for children:

  • Starting in October, the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve Toys for Tots Program collects toys around the country to give as Christmas gifts to children in need. Bring new, unwrapped, or your homemade kids’ toys to a donation center. Find a Drop-Off Center Near You.
  • One of my personal favorite charities fo children is The Home for Little Wanderers. Their Big Wishes Gift Drive begins on December 1st.
  • Have you ever heard of a Christmas Giving Tree? A popular sentiment within many communities during the holidays is to set up a giving tree for children who are seeking specific gifts, and whose families may not be able to make this possible. The idea behind a giving tree is that a tag is hung with the child’s gender, age, and ideal gift they would like to receive for the holidays. Community members may choose a tag and purchase a gift for the child to be brought back to the establishment organizing the donations.

The Christmas season provides parents with a wonderful opportunity to teach compassion to their children. Encourage your children to give to children who have less.

 

Charities

Please contribute to charities that fight poverty, hunger, and disease. Here are a few for your consideration:

Doctors without Borders

Feeding America

No Kid Hungry

UNICEF

World Vision

 

The Takeaway

Set limits to the number of gifts you give. and to the amount of money you spend. Remember that gift-giving is just one dimension of a holiday that has deep significance and meaning.

 

What are you planning for gifts this year? What are your thoughts and suggestions for holiday gifts that give back?

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