If you’re hyper-organized, your holiday shopping was completed by the time you’d digested your Thanksgiving turkey. If so, take a break from this column and go make another list. But if you’re like me and still looking for presents to buy, you may find ideas below.
Heifer International holiday gifts of livestock and training for hungry families are a tried and true progressive holiday tradition. In fact, Heifer pioneered the very idea of alternative holiday gifts beginning in the mid-1990s with “The Most Important Catalog In The World.”
The Heifer gift catalog allows you to purchase a farm animal for impoverished families around the world. An animal can act as a life-line for many families and help them achieve a degree of sustainability. A pig can be bought for $120 (or chip in $10 to help share the cost of one), three rabbits are a bargain at $60 total, a flock of chicks costs only $20, and, if you can afford to change a family’s life, a $1,500 donation provides two sheep, four goats, a heifer and two llamas.
I think of outfits like Heifer as offering the opportunity for the world’s comparatively well-off to voluntarily redistribute a bit of their incomes to those that need the money much more than we do. But if you don’t think a llama or pig is the right gift for friends and family, check out MADRE’s web store.
Featuring gifts hand-crafted by women from around the world, MADRE products—from beaded jewelry made by women in Kenya to woven textiles made by women in Chiapas, Mexico—include ornaments, household items, and clothing. The products range in style and quantity, but they all go toward the goal of helping build sustainable sources of income in small, rural communities.
TreeHugger’s Low-Impact Gift Guide redefines luxury by delineating ten categories featuring more than 100 low-impact gifts, each packing a high-impact punch in terms of thoughtfulness, quality, durability, and respect for the environment. Making the guide even more useful is the editors’ insistence in identifying sustainable gifts that aren’t very expensive!