You’re a socially conscious shopper, there are just a handful of days left till Christmas, and like many people, you’ve still got some names left on your shopping list. If your gift recipients live farther than a stone’s throw away, getting packages mailed out in time for the holidays is no longer an option, unless you want to pay exorbitant expedited shipping costs. So what’s a socially conscious procrastinator to do? I went on an online adventure to find out, and discovered some great last minute gift ideas that don’t require checking your values at the door.
Idea #1: Give the Gift of Choice. If you’re unsure what to give someone, instant Online Gift Certificates are a great last minute gift idea. To stay true to your values, target Online Stores offering Fair Trade products. Fair Trade is an economic model where producers work in healthy, safe conditions, are paid fairly, and employ environmentally sustainable practices. Make sure that the store you choose sends gift certificates automatically, so they arrive via email just moments after you order them. That way, when you order a gift certificate ON Christmas day, it will arrive ON Christmas day. For those who prefer to have something physical to give your gift recipients, many sites have a nice gift certificate graphic you can print out. In lieu of that, just paste the logo and gift certificate details onto an eco-friendly card. You’ll find plenty Online Stores offering Fair Trade products listed on the Fair Trade Federation website. Choose “Online Shopping” in their “Find Products” drop down menu. Also, Coop America’s Green Pages lists some Online Fair Trade Stores. http://www.coopamerica.org/pubs/greenpages/, www.fairtradefederation.org
Idea #2: Invest IN Others FOR Others. For those who are not familiar, Kiva is all about loans that change lives. On their website, individuals can invest in a specific entrepreneur in the developing world, empowering them to lift themselves out of poverty. Kiva has figured out how to get everyday folks to invest in the hopes and dreams of others with less opportunities and resources at their disposal. You don’t have to be rich to be a Kiva investor, and while one US dollar may not seem like much to you and I, it sure does go a long way in some other parts of the world. For last minute shoppers, Kiva offers gift certificates so you can invest in someone’s name. www.kiva.org
Idea #3: Open up a Can of Worms. What do a crocodile, school supplies and a can of worms have in common? Well, they are just three of the many ‘symbolic’ gifts you can purchase from Oxfam America Unwrapped. Here’s how it works: You purchase an item from their website, the card goes to your gift recipient, and the gift goes to those who need it. In case you’re wondering, when you buy gifts here, an email is sent to your gift recipients automatically, making this a solid last minute gift solution. Their offerings include treated mosquito nets and school uniforms, bicycles and veterinarian field kits, and that’s a mere sampling of what they offer. Just remember, the items you select represent a contribution toward Oxfam America’s many programs and not an actual physical item. www.oxfamamericaunwrapped.com