Thursday, November 5, 2009

Gifts that Give Back

I love to give gifts that serve a dual purpose or help someone else while bringing joy to the recipient too... My family has received a "Share of a Goat" or a "Flock of Chicks" as Christmas gifts via Heifer International for years; my brother-in-law usually starts asking me in November what animal they will get this year.

My church, Shandon Presbyterian Church, also holds an Alternative Gift Market every year, featuring local and international charities that people can donate money to in honor of friends and family for the holidays. The event is being held December 2nd from 6-7 PM in the church Activity Center this year.

I have recently begun getting e-mails from all the stores and on-line newsletters I subscribe to, advertising the "must-have" gifts this holiday season. I have found that many of them include gifts that give back to specific groups or charities, and so I decided to list some of my early favorites here:

My Newsletter recommended this: hand-beaded animals, (in this case a hippopotamus), whose sale will directly benefit disadvantaged women artists in Cape Flat townships of South Africa. Animals range in price from $24-$150 and are beautiful. See them here.

These eco-chic Mad Imports Raffia Leilani Clutches are stylish and fun.
Mad Imports is a socially & environmentally responsible company that markets handmade fashion accessories from Madagascar & Kenya. The sale of their products enables families to gain economic independence and promotes environmental conservation. Each clutch is $40.

The purchase of these hand-woven silk scarves from Global Goods Partners provides
land mine victims, people with disabilities and trafficked women with an opportunity to earn an income while gaining access to literacy, education and healthcare. They range in price from $32-$42.

This book, Shelter Dogs by Traer Scott looks amazing--I have had multiple animals who were strays or adopted from shelters and they are the best. A portion of the proceeds from the sales of this book goes to the ASPCA. The book is $19.95.

Or, if your friends and family are anything like me, and don't need any more stuff, consider donating to one of these worthy causes in their name: Kiva's mission is to connect people through lending for the sake of alleviating poverty.
Kiva is the world's first person-to-person micro-lending website, empowering individuals to lend to unique entrepreneurs around the globe. This is the most important gift you'll ever make. A charitable gift from Heifer's Gift Catalog will provide animals and training to help families build a better future for themselves and their communities.

And--a Columbia event that I never miss, where you can purchase unique and handmade Christmas decorations as well as fair-trade gifts--the 10,000 Villages sale at Shandon Presbyterian Church this weekend! November 7-8th; Saturday 9 AM -4 PM; Sunday 12 - 3 PM in the Activity Center. Visit the 10,000 Villages website to preview items here.

1 comment:

  1. Beaded animals are an original African art form. No matter where you purchase an authentic African beaded animal figurine, you are supporting struggling African crafters and their families. Be careful to check that the figurine is African made and not made in China. My favorite source is