It is December and the festive season is one where friends and family come together to eat, drink and be very merry. In western countries in particular there is a tendency to send gifts out irrespective of whether it will be useful or appreciated. It is the act of giving that seems important although to some, the act of receiving is even moreso.
Many people now enjoy comfortable lifestyles and in all probability could probably do without another pair of socks or spa treatment and children are often inundated with clothes and toys from well meaning relatives.
An alternative gift worth considering is that of charitable donation. There are now many different and interesting forms of giving, meaning that a gift or sponsorship can be ‘gifted’ to someone and they have a greater involvement in the rewards that the gift brings not to them, but to someone who really needs it.
Child and Animal Sponsorship with World Vision, Heifer and the World Wildlife Fund
There are so many charitable organisations at work and while the choice seems impossible to make it makes sense to start with something that may be near to the heart of the person who will be receiving the gift. Animal lovers will obviously appreciate a dedication to an animal welfare trust. Sponsor a disadvantaged child for a young relative and the two of them can strike up a friendship through letter writing and cultural exchange. The options are numerous and gift ideas are as interesting as they are practical.
At World Vision, donations go towards a multitude of programmes, including purchasing animals, providing clean water, education and medical care. Child sponsorship programmes are possible in a number of countries, with a focus on children living in areas severely affected by HIV and AIDS.
Heifer provides similar solutions to help end world hunger and poverty in environmentally friendly ways. Llamas, sheep, goats and cows can be purchased online and afterwards a printable or electronic gift card can be sent to the friend or relative to let them know they have been honoured with a Heifer gift.
The World Wildlife Fund collects donations for their global conservations efforts and also offers animal sponsorship, which can be a great way to educate children about different animal species. The WWF has over one hundred animals to choose from, ranging from seahorses, sharks, seals and otters to hummingbirds, giraffes, zebra and monkeys.
Gift Ideas for Him from Livestrong and Personalised Web Pages with Cancer Research UK
Sadly, cancer has touched the lives of many people around the globe. The need to fund research and provide support to sufferers and survivors is greater than ever and many local and international charities are doing great work in both areas. Charity can begin at home so looking at ways to donate to local hospices and research centres is always a good place to start and a rewarding way to feel involved in the community.
Larger organizations are also coming up with innovative ways to encourage Christmas giving. At Lance Armstrong’s Livestrong there is a great ‘gifts for him’ selection, which includes fleeced hoodies, t-shirts, bags, baseball caps and a range of cycling clothing.
Taking a different view, the Cancer Research UK website invites visitors to create a personalised webpage. This can then be sent out to friends and family asking them to donate, so rather than receiving gifts the individual instead receives donations for the charity. The money given then helps scientists find new ways to prevent and treat cancer. The web page takes about ten minutes to set up and can include a personal photo and message. They also have an online gift shop for those looking for traditional presents to purchase.
If charitable giving doesn’t grab your attention for Christmas then keep it in mind for birthdays and anniversaries as well. These gifts also work well when giving to someone overseas and is always an emotionally rewarding experience for both the giver and recipient.