Tired of spending the high holidays of consumer culture in the malls when you could be sinking your cash into good deeds? Here's a list of seven ethically enlightened options that'll make your giftee feel good about getting.
Poor little owlies are losing their habitat to rampant logging. Help protect them with WWF's Adopt An Owl Kit, complete with teddy, adoption certificate, sticker and report ($40, World Wildlife Fund , www.wwf.ca). Polar bear and orca kits also available.
Walk by the old church at 761 Queen West on weekends and pick out some original pottery like this blue creamer set sculpted by women living in chronic poverty who received art training through Sistering ($8-$16, outside 761 Queen West, more inside at Inspirations Studio by appointment, 416-367-2728, www.inspirationsstudio. org).
Comfort those living with HIV-AIDS with little money for proper care with World Vision's HIV and AIDS Home Care Kit ($60, World Vision Canada , www.worldvision.ca).
Music to your ears
The Help: A Day In The Life CD , featuring tunes by Coldplay, Sam Roberts, Radiohead, Metric and many more, raises money for War Child Canada 's humanitarian work ($11.99, War Child Canada, www.warchild.ca; also at music stores everywhere; Click here for a $3.00 off coupon.
Light up the season with well-priced beeswax candles lovingly crafted by a member of The Meeting Place Drop-In Centre (Christmas tree candle $9, Buddha candle $6.60, the Meeting Place Store , 588 Queen West, 416-504-4275). This pretty wooden tea light holder was carved from scrap wood cut by at-risk youth, who also do custom furnishings ($7.50 Seed Market Place , 449 Carlaw, 416-463-5666, www.seedmarketplace.org).
Break bread with friends and relatives this season by giving a basket full of yummy organic goodies baked locally by refugees, single parents or struggling souls looking for job training. Basic bread basket ($45), the Sweet Tooth ($45), Bread Basket Plus Cheese, Jams and Cookies ($65). St. John's Bakery , 155 Broadview, 416-850-7413, www.stjohnsbakery.com.
Egging them on
Give the gift only live chickens can offer (namely eggs and meat), by gifting one or two of these birds to a woman being trained in poultry production in Ethiopia ($15, Oxfam , www.oxfam.ca). Donkeys, goats and more also available.