We've become convinced that holiday gifts should have a heart of service to them. We should give gifts not so the person can have more "stuff" but a gift that will help that person or will help other people. This buying stuff just so we can have more is not what the Christmas season should be about. This desire for more worldly possessions helped to cause the trampling, shootings and such that occurred on Black Friday.
So then what to get? Here are some ideas from this Associated Press article that we found in the Star News Online.
The gift of a goat ($120, or share a goat for $10, Heifer International) is one way this charitable organization promotes its mission of helping families worldwide struggle out of poverty and become self-sufficient. A financial contribution enables Heifer to provide animals and training to people in places such as Zambia, Albania, China and Peru.
The Three Soup Gourmet Food Bundle ($18.75, Women's Bean Project) is one of the many food items sold online by this Denver nonprofit that tries to break the cycle of poverty by employing women in its gourmet foods business.
The Freedom Trees Jute Tote ($22, WorldofGood.com and other online retailers) helps the women in North Calcutta, India, who make the bags to help make a living. Sold by Karma Market Boutique on this new eBay online marketplace, each eco-friendly bag comes with a tag that explains its story.
The Side-Zip Mat Bag ($38, One Mango Tree) is made by seamstresses in Northern Uganda. The small, fair-trade business launched by an American woman and a Ugandan seamstress has expanded to include 27 tailors in just one year. One Mango Tree sells purses, neckties and kitchen items to help people in conflict-torn regions out of poverty.
The Bicycle Chain Menorah ($24, Ten Thousand Villages) gives an eco-twist to Hanukkah. Artists in India fashion these menorahs out of recycled bicycle parts for this free-trade retailer.
The Morning Call reprinted this Consumer Reports article that gives us some more ideas.
Originalgood.com supports artisans around the world by selling a big selection of notebooks, jewelry, housewares and other goodies.
Theochocolate.com buys its cacao direct from farmers and grower cooperatives. Their gift boxes carry the Fair-Trade Certified label and Consumer Reports' taste testers gave them the thumbs up.
Tenthousandvillages.com is a nonprofit fair-trade group that markets gifts and home-decor products made by artisans in 36 countries.
Spiralfoundation.org sells home-decor items made from reclaimed or recycled materials, and donates all proceeds to humanitarian programs.
Networkforgood.org/goodcard offers several donation amounts ($10, $25, $50 or $100) and the recipient donates the money to the charity of their choice, selecting from more than 1.5 million organizations.
Kiva.org helps entrepreneurs in developing countries work themselves out of poverty. Certificates start at $25.
Changingthepresent.org allows gift givers to contribute to a cause close to someone's heart and create a personalized greeting card to tell them about the donation made in someone's name. There are hundreds of nonprofits from which to choose.
Any others that you would like to suggest?