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Thursday, December 2, 2010

Giving giving gifts...

Tired of the holiday shopping crowds?  The traffic?  The endless miles of crap?  How about giving gifts that give – something that won’t end up in a closet or regifted?  There are many options available…

The Seva Foundation has a simple philosophy:  “To be fully human, we must translate our compassion and concern into useful service.”  Their programs, which cover a number of countries and cultures, focus on marginalized peoples, building communities, increasing sustainability, and working through partnerships.  Begun in 1978 by a group of concerned individuals, the foundation has helped people with a variety of health issues.

With their Gifts of Sight program, for instance, you can:  help a woman get eye care services for $25; restore sight to a blind person for $50; restore sight to a child for $100; or train a rural health care worker in techniques to prevent blindness.  Such incredible deals for making a positive impact on someone’s life!

There are many other opportunities within the organization, from supporting Native American wellness to purchasing items like gift cards and calendars.  Imagine the pleasure of receiving a card or email stating that someone’s sight has been restored in your honor!  Priceless…

My husband and I have given gifts from Heifer International in the past.  You can gift a flock of chicks, ducks, or geese for $20, or a camel for $850.  Or you can donate 10% of the cost of a gift and they will add it with other donations to total the final cost.  Great way to spread your wealth around! 

I know our donees were very pleased with knowing that someone was given bees, a hive, and beekeeping training in their names.  We felt really good about it ourselves.  Although a “Knitter’s Gift Basket” – a llama, an alpaca, a sheep, and an angora rabbit – costs $480, a share costs $48, something I’m considering…

There are lots of environmental and animal protection groups that have gift programs.  One great one is the National Resources Defense Council’s (NRDC) Green Gift collection.  You can save wildlife, promote clean energy, educate kids, revive oceans, or even sue a polluter, among other things.  For $50 you can make someone an otter keeper; for $35 you honor someone by defending whales from deadly sonar.  So many options…

This season is the time for love and generosity.  What better way to celebrate than sharing with people, critters, and nature?

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