When it comes to giving a gift, it has always been the thought that counts! This year, why not show the ones you love that you are not only thinking about them, but also the environmental and ethical impact that giving has by giving a socially conscious gift this Christmas.
We love that Canadians are choosing more handmade, sustainable, fairtrade, eco-friendly and ethically sourced gifts than ever before. More and more Canadians are also choosing to give a donation in someone’s name to a cause they believe in.
If you want to do both this year, check out this list of Gifts of Compassion that are great partners for socially conscious gifts! Keep this list in mind while you browse the local Christmas markets this year.
1. We all need water
Nothing is more critical for the health and survival of the world’s most vulnerable than access to clean water. This gift provides solutions to communities worldwide in the form of wells, rainwater filtering systems and water filters—whatever works best in the context of that community.
Gift pairing: A reusable water bottle is the perfect way to show someone you’re thinking of them at school, at the office or on the go while giving them the chance to make an impact in a global community!
2. Supporting small local businesses
The last few years have been difficult economically for many people–especially small business owners. Give someone living in poverty the opportunity to re-train or learn a skill that will change their life! This gift provides business skills training and resources to start generating a steady income from businesses like beekeeping or small-scale farming.
Gift pairing: Why not give this gift with something made by a craftsperson or small artisan food producer in your own community to show your support of small businesses locally and globally! Consider gifts like locally made soap, reusable beeswax wrap, pottery or candles.
3. A really good book
It’s hard to reach your academic potential without access to up-to-date textbooks and motivating reading material! This gift will help outfit a Compassion centre library with up to one shelf of new books to help build literacy and bright futures for their whole community.
Gift pairing: A favourite book that celebrates compassion, faith and hope is a great way to bring this gift to the next level! Here are some great books that Compassion Canada staff suggest:
- Everything Sad is Untrue by Daniel Nayeri (youth through adult)
- Peace like a River by Leif Enger (adult)
- The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane by Kate DiCamillo (children)
…and if you want to go the extra mile, try thrifting one of these or another favourite book to gift!
4. The gift of green
Extreme weather and fragile supply chains contribute to food insecurity and extreme hunger. Enable a family in poverty to access nutritious food and even provide another source of income by giving vegetable seeds and equipment to start a home garden. Growing food at a small, sustainable scale means long-term food security and less environmental impact.
Gift pairing: A window-sill herb garden kit or houseplant is a great way to cheer up your loved one’s home in the winter. You can even consider dividing one of your own plants to make an even ‘greener’ Christmas gift!
5. A great meal
With hunger on the rise around the world, the gift of a meal for a family is a small but impactful gift that can make a world of difference for families living in poverty. The gift of a meal can help pull families from the brink of starvation, or ensure their kids can stay in school.
Gift pairing: A cookbook or a reclaimed wood cutting board is a great way to top this gift off! Or, if you normally take friends or family out for a meal as a gift, consider gifting a simpler home-cooked meal instead and changing a life with the money you saved.