Tuesday, 20 December 2011

Christmas Giving

Written by Gavin from The Greening of Gavin

As the year comes to an end, Christmas is one again rapidly approaching us.  Whilst marketing and advertising campaigns at this time of year are encouraging us to spend our hard earned cash or go into debt to buy our loved ones that latest gimmick or fad what will probably break or get discarded only days after the big day, it pays to think of giving that lasts a lifetime, that are sustainable, and where the profits of its sale benefits those who really need it.  Gifts that are mass produced by mindless corporations are off my Christmas list forever!

So what sort of gifts fit my criteria?  Well, firstly, we choose only fair trade products for each other.  As in previous years we have bought some of our gifts at the Oxfam online shop (www.oxfamshop.org.au) which is also sells fair trade goods that also profit the small business that hand-made it. We bought minimal gifts with all proceeds going to people who most need our money.  The quality of the products is outstanding and you know that these handcrafted items have been made with care and attention to detail.  

If you are not into fair trade, then make your own gifts.  We make a big patch of home-made cold pressed soap and give gift wrapped bars away to family and friends or I make a batch of home-brew beer for friends.  These gifts are always well received and are from the heart.

Secondly, instead of racking your brain trying to buy that special gift for someone who has everything, you can give the gift to someone who really needs it.  World Vision Gifts have a fantastic campaign, whereby you visit their website and buy a gift for someone else in need! What a fantastic concept. You can buy something as small as water purifications tablets for $5, or clean water for an entire community for $1,425!  You can choose from mozzie nets to chickens, ducks, pigs, goats, donkeys or cows.  The gift choices are very comprehensive.

So how does it work? Do World Vision pack a goat in a box and ship it overseas? NO, that would be cruel.  So, if you buy a duck or a market garden starter pack, for example, your contribution will go towards their agriculture and environment work to help communities grow food for families and restore and improve their environments. Or if you buy a mosquito net or a toilet, you’ll be contributing to their work to help communities gain access to basic healthcare, water and sanitation.  You also receive a card which you give to the recipients, to let them know about the gift you have chosen.  There are other charities that so a similar type of thing.

The choice is yours alone. You can give socks and jocks to someone who has everything and/or doesn’t appreciate it, or a present that really means the world to someone.  Make a difference this year, and feel proud of your self.

Green 2011 season’s greetings to one and all,