Dec 8, 2015

9 Gift Ideas That Give Back

Christmas is one of the times of the year when gifting to family and friends is a huge part of the tradition. The picture of beautifully-wrapped presents piled up under a tree is one of the most endearing images that spring to most people’s minds when they think of this holiday. 
Deciding on the presents themselves is often one of the most joyful parts of the pre-Christmas Day rituals and creates the feeling of being closer to the person we are buying for as we think of their likes and dislikes.
If you are looking for gift ideas for someone you love that will have long-lasting benefits, you could always think about these:
  • Making a gift for someone yourself is a simple but meaningful way of letting them know you care and are thinking of them. Baking a cake and giving it to a loved one at Christmas is sure to impress and this fantastic Christmas cake with honey and ginger can be made a few days beforehand. Use Comvita Manuka honey for a unique and delicious flavour.  As a special touch, include a beautifully hand-written copy of the recipe so your loved one can make it themselves all year round.
  • As a way to show a loved one how much you care, fill an empty jar full of small pieces of paper, each with a chore to be done around that person’s house written on it. Throughout the next year, ask them to select a chore that they would like done that you can do for them. This is particularly good for someone who may be finding keeping up with those daily tasks difficult and lets them know that you are there for them.
  • Giving a voucher for a massage or pampering session is a thoughtful gift idea that gives your loved one time to relax and recharge. Know someone who has had some niggling muscular or postural issues that they haven’t gotten around to addressing? A voucher for a series of remedial or deep-tissue massages might be just the ticket and can help to prevent any long-term issues if left untreated.
  • What about someone with kids? Volunteering your services for a certain amount of babysitting sessions is a fantastic way to give parents some rest and relaxation as well as allowing you to spend time playing and bonding with the kids and strengthening your relationships with both parent and child. 
But Christmas doesn’t have to be about a giving a present that benefits only the recipient.
Ongoing research into the act of giving, not only to the people we know and love, but also to charities and good causes, shows that those people who donate are experiencing benefits to their own health in the form of the ‘warm glow’ that comes with doing a good deed for someone in need. This effect is not only found in adults; research published in PLoS One found that giving also leads to happiness in young children. Not only that, a study published in the journal Evolution and Human Behaviour, showed that people who regularly gave to charities not only experienced that ‘warm glow’ themselves, there was also the added benefit of others thinking more highly of them for doing so and labelling them as being seen as more trustworthy in general.
For those of us who would like to both give to a charity, as well as have something beautiful to put under the Christmas tree for unwrapping on Christmas morning, there are a huge variety of charities that have products to buy where a percentage or all of the profits go to a good cause.
Here’s some to get you started:
  • When you gift through Oxfam you get a beautiful card to put under the tree for the recipient, detailing how the purchase you made on their behalf has helped fight against poverty by supplying livestock, education or clean drinking water to communities in need.
  • UNICEF sells beautiful hand-made gifts from all over the world, and part of the proceeds from all sales go to the artisans themselves as well as to UNICEF for use in their fight to save and protect children. With a huge array of gifts, from jewellery and accessories to home furnishings and tableware, you are sure to find something to suit everyone’s taste.
  • Giving gifts with a social conscience is a fantastic way to ensure you are not contributing to unnecessary waste, as well as knowing they are made in a sustainable and responsible way. Companies like Bambeco have the right idea, incorporating an attitude of global responsibility into their entire product range. And every purchase means a tree planted!
  • If your special someone is an arts lover, you could think about supporting an artist on their behalf on Hatchfund. Hatchfund helps hundreds of artists, from dancers to photographers to documentary makers, to get their projects off the ground.
  • For young and young at heart, Skateistan changes the lives of children living in Afghanistan, Cambodia, Mazar-e-Sharif and South Africa through skateboarding. Through various programs that encourage both boys and girls to skate and therefore participate, shopping at Skateistan supports education, nutrition and being active and healthy in often war-torn and poverty-stricken areas of the world.