If you want to make a difference with your holiday gift this year, then spend your money somewhere it will be truly appreciated.
Check out the following ideas to help you pay it forward this Christmas:
Practical Gifts That Fulfill a Specific Need
Instead of buying mindless gifts that serve no purpose and end up gathering dust at the back of the under stairs cupboard, why not give gifts that might actually save the recipient money or fulfill a specific need? A week’s worth of grocery shopping, pet supplies or even an annual pass to one of the local amenities may not sound particularly exciting, but practical gifts show that you have given extra special thought to what your loved ones could really benefit from.
Other great practical gift ideas include:
- Car care – Everyone knows that they should take care of their car but the expense is a killer. A simple case of motor oil and offering to make the change if they’re unable could mean a lot to a person.
- Travel card – For those of us without our own car, a month’s worth of free public transport would be greatly appreciated.
- Energy saving bundle – A hamper of low wattage light bulbs, a low flow shower head and a couple of faucet aerators will help reduce the giftee’s utility bills, and you could even install it if necessary.
- Yard work - Elderly or ill relatives may not be up to weeding, raking and shoveling snow or cleaning out gutters, so how about a gift certificate for a certain number of hours’ work each week.
If you do fancy splurging on something a little special that you know the recipient would love, because let’s face it sometimes we just want to give a gift that is going to make someone happy even though it might not be a necessity, then make conscious buying choices and shop fairtrade.
When you buy fairtrade products you can rest assured knowing that your dollar has helped workers get fair pay, as well as help develop community projects, which could be anything from buying school supplies to creating better working conditions. Fairtrade companies also actively work to protect the environment and the people involved in the processes, whereas many big businesses don’t.
Support Charitable Organizations
There is no better time to support causes close to your heart than during the holidays. Rather than give your money to huge companies that are already swimming in profit, give to nonprofits that value every single penny raised and use it towards a greater good. Most charitable organizations sell merchandise to help raise funds so head on over to your favorite sites, be it those rescuing farm animals, those working to protect the world’s oceans or those helping homeless children, and see what they have to offer in their shop or how to help section. From calendars demonstrating all the amazing work they do to mugs, t-shirts and all sorts of other incredible gifts, you’ll be sure to find something you love.
Sponsor a Rescued Animal
I have a soft spot for rescued animals (as the president of Mino Valley Farm Sanctuary) but that doesn’t stop this being an amazing way to make a difference with your holiday gift this Christmas. Sometimes you will just hear a rescue story and instantly feel bonded with that animal, and sponsoring them is a great way to help them along their journey to happiness and to stay up to date with their progress. When you choose to sponsor a rescued animal you can either treat yourself or sponsor them on behalf of someone you love, and you will most likely receive a sponsorship pack with pictures and details about your new friend either digitally or via mail.
How do you plan on making a difference with your holiday gifts this season?