Day 23 of 30 Days of Thoughtful Giving: Give a gift that gives back in unexpected ways.
My mom always says she doesn’t want any gifts, no matter the holiday. I never listen to this.
One year, though, she mentioned she had to go to a Christmas cookie exchange party. Here was the problem: My mother doesn’t bake. She doesn’t even like eating (!) cookies. So, for her present that year, in lieu of something tangible, I surprised her by making her cookies for the party, so she wouldn’t have to. I’ve never seen her happier to not have to do something in her life—and, moreover, everyone at the party reportedly enjoyed the cookies, with several requesting the recipe.
This organization gives impoverished women with sorted backgrounds (ranging from histories of incarceration to addiction) a second chance: Teaching them gourmet food production. They make and sell everything from gluten-free soups and chili to snickerdoodle mix (and gift baskets and bundles). The program has about a 70 percent graduation rate and, of those that graduate, 100 percent are placed into entry-level jobs.
This calendar features messages and reminders in the form of words and artwork from 14 mothers (with our very own Merrill Stubbs), with proceeds benefiting Room to Grow, “an organization dedicated to enriching the lives of babes born into poverty, throughout their first three years of development,” Linda & Harriet’s website says.
A window planter
If you have a friend who’s a teacher, give them a window planter. That way, as the flowers bloom, their students can learn about flora and fauna, too.
Outside of production and operating costs, the company donates all of its profits to organizations like UNICEF to fund solar energy work in developing countries (so that people in countries like Chad can have access to clean drinking water and washrooms). The hand-poured candles come in vanilla and hemlock, juniper and saffron, orange flower and amber, and currant and rosewood scents.
The water bottle has a built-in filtration system, reducing any chlorine, bad taste, and odor wherever you fill up your water from for up to 26 gallons (which is about 3 months of continuous use). For every LifeStraw purchased, one child in a developing country receives safe drinking water for an entire school year.
Dinner, for a night
Deliver a friend, neighbor, or family member with a few mouths to feed dinner for the night (a roast chicken and vegetables, and a nice loaf of bread would not be remiss) with a card explaining the gift and ideas for any leftovers.