Thursday, December 16, 2010
We instituted a holiday gift policy in our house a few years ago that whatever amount we spend on presents, we match with charity donations. It all began with the nauseous, surrounded by piles of wrapping paper, after-Christmas binge feeling of "we don't need all this new stuff." I decided (because moms get to make arbitrary decisions that must be looked upon as wisdom) that my kids didn't need so much stuff. And I really didn't need more stuff. What we all needed was to learn how to be better givers. So each year we pick favorite charities to give to (Heifer International, First Book) and also do projects with the kids like putting together care packages to send to soldiers overseas and taking food to local food banks so they get hands-on experiences of giving back. We haven't quiet reached the status of monks who give away all their belongings (my children still have lists for Santa) but we're more connected to the real joy of the holidays.
Without sounding too Oprah (but we love her so if we have to sound like someone . . .) we thought we'd include a list of our favorite holiday gifts that give back in some way. Enjoy and happy holidays!
1) Do It Gorgeously The latest book from green diva Sophie Uliano tells you how to green home projects ranging from car care to skin care. Proceeds from the book go to Canswerlink, which provides cancer patients with nontoxic cleaning products.
2) Peace Honey Savannah Bee Company has partnered with Heifer International to purchase and package this tropical honey from their community beekeeping projects in Honduras. For each bottle sold, Savannah Bee Company donates $3 to Heifer International. Yum!
3) Sindyanna of Galilee Organic Olive Oil Proceeds from this luscious olive oil benefit a nonprofit run by Arab and Jewish women to improve the lives of olive growers in Galilee.
4. Wagging Green Saving the Earth Collars For those who hang a stocking for their four-legged friends, these biodegradable bamboo collars benefit endangered wildlife or promote air and water quality (depending on the design).
5. Embroidered Holiday Stocking This sparkling, colorful stocking is hand embroidered by women artisans at St. Mary’s Mahila Shikshan Kendra in Ahmedabad in western India. Many of the families are landless laborers from rural areas who have come to the city in search of a better life. The 450 women artisans involved with St Mary's receive benefits in the form of a savings plan, school scholarships for their children, and technical courses to upgrade their skills.
6. Dark Chocolate Salted Fudge This box of artisanal chocolates comes from Divine Chocolate, a free-trade chocolate company based in Africa where the workers not only get a fair wage but own 45% of the company!