We all know that giving is scientifically proven to make us feel good. But while Christmas shopping frenzies heat up the high streets, it’s worth remembering that it’s the gifts enabling others to have a brighter future that create a lasting feel-good factor. A growing selection of inspirational and increasingly sophisticated presents allow you to not only show your affection for your friend, colleague or relative, but also to deliver some happiness to someone for whom this season is far from jolly.
The Send a Cow charity – whose name hints at just one aspect of the work they do – pioneered the concept of giving virtual gifts many years ago. They provide sustainable solutions to poverty, facilitating small organic agricultural ventures and educational programmes that are being replicated time and time again. They work with 16,000 families across rural Africa who want to work their way out of poverty. The results are so impressive that governments have adopted their development system.
SendaCow “Thank You Joe”
SendaCow’s “Pass it on Principle” means that every family who receives livestock, seeds, saplings and training then passes on the gift to another family in need. For every family the charity helps, on average 10 more benefit. It’s one of the most uplifting charity websites I’ve seen and the thanks you’ll receive for your involvement is likely to get you hooked on this progressive philanthropy.
Closer to home, Coram, a charity working with some of London’s most vulnerable children and young people, has developed six virtual gifts that enable you to assist a neglected youngster. A diary and a pen can help a young person in supported housing to find their feet, or you can help someone to get onto the career ladder with the gift of a suit fit for an interview. With all of Coram’s virtual gifts, the recipient also receives a gift card with chocolate coins and information about your donation so you can both see the benefit of helping to give someone a chance in life.
And if it’s fashion that makes you tick, you may be pleasantly surprised by the selection on offer through the Good Gifts Catalogue. You can buy a dress for an African war widow or, for £75, provide two reconditioned sewing machines to help start a women’s tailoring business, paving the way for sustainable employment in clothing and school uniform production.
For intelligent and cheerful Christmas shopping, go online and opt for presents that make a difference – you may find that you’ll never again succumb to buying pointless gifts.