It's that time of year-the leaves have changed, you've unpacked your sweaters and boots, and the kids are still begging to wear shorts but you keep insisting on pants and a coat. I don't know about you, but what I look forward to this time of year is compiling my holiday gift giving list. I love the holidays and there is nothing better than giving a gift that lights up the recipient's face. But let's face it, does Dad really need another t-shirt, Nana another scarf, or Annalena another plastic princess accessory. I vowed that this year, I'd do something different. I decided that part of everyone's gifts would give back in some way. The way I see it the benefits are three-fold: I support a cause I care about; my friends and family get a unique present with the added bonus of some residual feel-good; and the gift goes on to benefit anything from a family in need, to an animal in crisis, or to the environment.
As I started to explore, I got more and more excited. The options for feel-good gifts are endless and have price points all across the board. There is something interesting and thoughtful for all 35 people on my list from my Mom to Annalena's daycare teachers. Richie and I have had a blast putting these ideas together. We've cuddled up after putting the kids to bed and explored our options.
Here are a few general giving back themes we've uncovered:
- Animal-affecting charities offer adoption packages that let recipients officially sponsor an endangered animal. These gifts are ideal for kids and some packages contain plush toys of the adopted animals along with certificates and stories written in the voice of the animals themselves. Other packages contain badges and other fun activities like sticker books and coloring pads. Popular animals for adoption include giraffes, penguins, dolphins, koalas, monkeys and elephants.
- Charity T-shirts are a great gift because they are usually printed with fun or funny messages, and a percentage of the sale goes towards the charity it's printed for.
- Jewelry can range from bracelets made of clay that help give a person in Africa clean drinking water to jewelry that promotes Braille literacy.
- Local charities provide options for events that occur in your hometown. In lieu of the recent hurricane that affected our area, we checked out charities for both New Jersey and New York. We found options ranging from the traditional t-shirts and jewelry to more unconventional options such as cookies and cupcakes with the Restore, Rebuild, and Renew slogan on them.
Happy shopping-hope you find a gift that gives back!
Is it apropos to give an eco-friendly pair of shoes to a nephew who wants a Game Boy or instead of giving the usual Starbucks gift card to your children's teacher a small herd of goats for an African family in their name?