Tuesday, November 19, 2013

holiday shopping: six ways to think outside the box

The holiday season is fast approaching, soon we'll be eating more than we should, sharing great times with our loved ones and exchanging gifts. Gift giving can be a lot of fun but it can also be a lot of stress. There's the issue of knowing what to get someone (how many scented candles do I need!) and making the time to get all the shopping done. There is also the concern that Christmas has become too commercial and materialistic. The problem for me is, I agree but I still love to give gifts. I love the look on someone's face when I know I've bought the perfect gift, but these gifts don't need to be material, here is a list of places you can buy gifts that we go even further.

  1. Habitat for Humanity - A great charity I had the privilege of volunteering with a few months ago has a gift guide. For your friends or family, you can be equipment used to build a home or items for a home in their name that will go to help provide low-income families with safe and affordable housing. You can get tools like hammers, screwdrivers or hardhats or household items like shower heads, light fixtures or smoke detectors.
  2. Toronto Humane Society - For the animal lover in your life, consider a donation to the THS. You have the choice of helping a cat, a dog, an unusual pet or giving where the need is greatest. These gifts go to help feed, provide medical care and other needs of these animals living in the Humane Society's care. These adorable gifts come with cards for you to give to your recipient.
  3. WWF - Another great option for animal lovers is WWF. You can select from a variety of animals and they send you a plush to give to your recipient. There is so many options such as turtles, polar bear, koala bears and pandas. This is a great option if you want to give someone something to open when you give your magical gift.
  4. SickKids Foundation - These gifts are perfect for just about anyone you know. This site is really well designed and makes it easy to sort by occasion and budget. There is a large assortment of items such as stockings for children in the hospital over the holidays, decorations for the hospital, as well as hospital equipment. You can also give 'gift certificates' to allow the person the chance to pick what kind of gift they want to give to the hospital. 
  5. Plan Canada - Plan Canada also has a large assortment of gifts to 'give' to your loved ones. Some are matched by various organizations meaning your dollars go even further. They also have a number of gifts associated with their "because I am a girl" campaign, which is dedicated to the rights of girls. You can purchase items like bed nets, to protect families from malaria, fruit trees, animals, school supplies and medical support which helps families in the developing world.
  6. Christmas Wish - This idea actually came from someone I know who worked with a group of people that were tired of candles, bath soaps and chocolates for Christmas. A couple of years ago, they started a Secret Santa with a twist. They each drew a name and purchased a toy for them to give to the Christmas Wish. The idea was to buy a toy that reminded you of your person which made it a lot of fun. They still had the typical Secret Santa price tag of around $20 but they really had a great time with their new Secret Santa. 

Hopefully this list has giving you some ideas of how to think outside the box. Do you have any non-traditional gift giving ideas? Let me know in the comments.

Happy Shopping!

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