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, 



Heather's Blog-o-rama said...

I am making all gifts by hand this year :) :) It's a lot of work, but also a super ton of fun :) :)Love and hugs from the ocean shores of California, Heather :)

K said...

Oxfam also has an option of giving to those in need. And unlike World Vision, Oxfam is a secular charity.

This year, all the adults in my family that live close are getting invited for supper once a month - a way to give a local, sustainable gift that also allows us to see each other more. The two remaining kids are still getting gifts (one is getting Dutch Kroners for his trip with his hockey team later this month!), and the far-away one is getting a gift certificate - not great, but what he, as a young adult on his own for the first time, can really use!

queen of string said...

I like to give edible and or consumable gifts, preferably home made. I hate the idea of someone spending money they dont have to spare on something I dont need or often want.

The Professor's Wife said...

Made a lot of homemade gifts this year - painted mugs with calligraphy.
Instead of buying socks and underwear for a rich person, by them for the homeless!

Amish Stories said...

Merry Christmas to you and your readers, I'm just stopping by new blogs that i think are interesting. And then ill put some of those on my favorites list to visit again. Happy holidays folks and wishing everyone a healthy new years as well. Richard from a Amish community in Pennsylvania.

Gavin Webber said...

Thanks for the comments. A very merry Christmas or holiday season to one and all!

Gav x

Amy said...

Hi Gavin,
Thanks for the reminder of some simple ways to make a loved one smile this Christmas without caving into the commercial and/or unethical hype. I personally LOVE gift catalogues like World Vision and Oxfam run...giving a card to someone I know and a really special gift to someone who really needs it. On my 30th party wish-list this year are goats, chickens, and pigs (I have a gift registry with Tear Fund, an NZ charity)!
We wrap shoe boxes for Operation Christmas Child on Christmas Day to get into the spirit of gift giving without filling up our own house. And we give a family portrait to each of our extended family (taken by yours truly with the timer and tripod!). We hope this will be something that is meaningful to them and us.
Wishing you and your family a blessed Christmas,