How you can give a gift that gives twice


My husband and I are going to buy a bike this year… but not for each other nor for anyone else in our families.  We are going to buy a bike for an impoverished child somewhere in the world through Unicef Canada’s Gifts of Magic program. 



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As I mentioned in my previous post, we don’t do presents anymore.  We all have more stuff than we need and all the things I really want (world peace, no poverty, and to climb Mt. Everest) are things people can’t give me in a box.  For $70, we can let a kid be a kid, help him/her get to school faster and just have fun.  It’s a small investment in changing someone’s life for the better.  And it’s tax deductible.


Here are a couple of other Gifts of Magic I especially like:

For $10, you can keep a sleeping child safe from malaria, with a bed net.


For $15, you can give pencils to an entire school.

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There are a few other charitable organizations that have similar programs. 


I especially love World Vision’s gift of a goat, for $100.  Did you know a healthy goat can produce 250 litres of milk every year?

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For $35, you can provide antibiotics for 10 children.


You can still buy gifts guilt-free if you choose where you shop.  At Ten Thousand Villages, everything is “fair trade”, which means the artisans from developing countries who have made the sustainable prodcuts are getting paid a fair wage.  Ten Thousand Villages pays the artisans 50% up front, so they have money for materials.  Then the rest of the money gets paid in full when the products are shipped to Canada.  As a non-profit organization, the retail locations are run mostly by volunteers.

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Here are some of my favourite items:

Shesham Wood Spectacle Stand – $15


Made in India.  A nose above the rest! Molded to safely hold glasses, this spectacle stand is both attractive and functional. Constructed from shesham wood, the stand is nicely polished, making for a delightful, decorative piece for a desk or table. The perfect gift for a friend or loved one who tends to misplace their glasses. 

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Palm Leaf Stars Garland – $8


Made in Bangladesh.  Using readily-available palm leaves, creative artisans in Bangladesh weave a multi-coloured garland featuring holiday stars in red, green, and yellow.  Made by the producers of Prokritee – an agency giving managerial, product design, and marketing assistance to Bangladeshi artisans – this garland will add a dash of fresh colour to any holiday tree.