Gift Guide: Ethical Giving

We all know your dad doesn't really.


We all know your dad doesn’t really want another tie, and your sister seems to stash every gift you’ve given her at the back of her closet. So rather than putting yourself through torturous rounds of jingle-saddled mall shopping, why not consider a gift that makes a real difference in someone’s life? Plus, everybody gets a distinct warm and fuzzy feeling deep in the Grinchiest part of their soul.

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Evergreen edible food garden

Any green-space lover on your list will grow full of holiday cheer knowing this donation you made in their name helps build an Evergreen community garden at a local school or public place. Your giftee gets this simple packet of heirloom tomato seeds as a sprouting thanks for giving urban kids a way to get outside and dig in the dirt while learning how to grow food from the seed up ($50, my.evergreen.ca/gift).

Fair play soccer ball

Just because your vuvuzela-induced tinnitus has finally stopped doesn’t mean the Ronaldo fans in your life wouldn’t still love a good soccer ball to kick around. El problemo is that many of those on shelves today are made in sweatshops overseas. Aim higher and buy a fair trade ball whose proceeds go to support school-building and youth projects in Africa ($30, yfocus.ncf.ca/fairtrade).

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Freedom bags

Ethicalocean.com rocks because you can gift shop according to various ethical screens (social change, eco-friendly, animal-friendly), but we love the site’s shoulder, messenger and shopping bags in particular, because the company that makes them offers fair trade jobs and daycare to women otherwise trapped in Kolkata, India’s, sex trade ($19.95, ethicalocean.com).

WWF cheese cutting set

Need a hostess gift with heart for your favourite foodies? Forget yawn-worthy wine in a bag that will vanish by the end of the night or fresh-cut flowers sure to wilt by the end of the week. All proceeds from this bamboo cheese cutting kit (engraved with the WWF logo) go toward conserving biological diversity ($19.99, wwfstore.donorportal.ca).

Playlist For The Planet

Because every revolution needs an anthem, David Suzuki asked Canadian musicians to write songs inspired by nature. The result is Playlist For The Planet – an impassioned mix of voices from Broken Social Scene and k-os to Gordon Lightfoot and Bruce Cockburn. The disc doesn’t get officially released till March 2011, so your giftees will feel like enviro insiders when they unwrap an advance copy (with packaging made of recycled paper) ($20, store.davidsuzuki.org).

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