Christmas Shopping In a Sharing Economy


Christmas Shopping

Christmas shopping feels different these last few years. I no longer yearn for bigger and better and more and more. For starters all the electronic gadgets have lost their allure in the face of what’s happening in the world. I am not turned on by flat screen TV’s and I am not feeling one iota of techno-lust around the subject of cars. I’m not into giving or getting any more “ stuff.” I’m certainly not into charging a small fortune on my credit cards. I am feeling, in these troubled times , like getting back to basics. Love thy neighbor, do unto others and all that…..the old fashioned spirit of Christmas that feeds the soul rather than the ego.

A New Kind of Giving

This year I'm into giving gifts that make a difference in the world.The world is full of worthy causes that fund-raise during the Christmas season with special “gifts”. You donate in someone’s name and a special announcement of your gift is sent to recipients telling them how you helped in their name. There are also numerous handicrafts and foods sold online to benefit the needy but proud. Even your Christmas cards can benefit somebody.

There are causes to suit every pocketbook and political persuasion. Whatever your interest, you can give a gift that really makes a difference and you can do it all with the flick of a credit card and the click of a mouse. As an added bonus you won’t have to wrap anything and you’ll avoid all those holiday crowds at the mall, plus it will give you an extra special good feeling to know that you are giving a gift that really changes lives.

This is where I’m shopping this Christmas and maybe you’d like to join me. If so here’s a list of my faves. I’ve provided a mini review of each organization plus a direct link to their websites.

you can adopt a polar bear this Christmas
you can adopt a polar bear this Christmas | Source

Gifts For Animal Lovers

Adopt a Polar Bear through the World Wildlife Fund. There are several levels of adoption from $25 to $250. Each donation helps WWF help Polar Bears in their efforts to survive their warming habitat. $25 donation includes an official framed adoption certificate and polar bear photo. If polar bears are not your thing, choose from 99 other endangered species. Great educational gift for kids and fun for adults too.

Adopt a Farm Animal from Farm Sanctuary, an organization dedicated to humane treatment of farm animals and against corporate factory farming. Check their website for some pretty awful photos of animal abuse.. They rescue farm animals who are being mistreated and lobby against animal cruelty. This one will please the vegetarians on your list.

The Humane Domain web store operated by the Humane Society of the United States offers a wide selection of gifts for pets and people. Proceeds go to programs that protect pets, wildlife and animals used for research.

The Animal Rescue Site will provide 14 bowls of food to an animal in a shelter for every colorful Christmas Tree pin you buy from its website.


Gifts that Help Families Survive

Seva Foundation. works with local partners and hospitals in 20 countries around the world to provide sight preserving and restoring services to under-served populations. Through Seva’s culturally sensitive programs, millions of people who would have otherwise lost their vision, are living full and productive lives. You can help in many different ways, but one of the most satisfying is by making a gift in the name of a loved one or friend. Whether you make a cash donation or buy gift cards and tee shirts, your gift will honor a friend and help bring the gift of sight to one who needs it.

World Vision offers you the opportunity to give a gift and change a life. Choose from over 100 gifts online from a share of a dairy cow to a village water pump. Donate in the name of whomever you choose and send a card announcing your gift to the honoree.

Gifts for Women from Women

The Women's Craft Cooperative sells beautiful jewelry made from recycled items by the women of Rosie’s Place, a sanctuary for poor and homeless women. Purchases, either online or in selected retail outlets directly benefit the women artisans. This is a gift you can really feel good about giving.

Women for Women International is an organization dedicated to helping women survivors of war rebuild their lives. They do important work. If you believe, as they do, that strong women build a strong future for the world, you can help in many ways. For $30 a month you can sponsor a woman for a year in a job skills program.

Or, you can make a difference by ordering a hand crafted gift that gives back from the online catalog.

Christmas Cards and Crafts

If you still send out holiday cards via snail mail, you might as well benefit a worthy cause while doing it. Cards that Give is a comprehensive, non-profit, website that lists more than 100 American organizations that use greeting cards as part of their fundraising strategy. Everything from HIV/AIDS to Historic Preservation is represented so you are sure to find a cause that suits. Why give the money to Hallmark when you can benefit your favorite charity?

If you are someone who can knit or crochet you can play Santa all year round by donating your talents to a wide variety of organizations all over the world. Check out Charity Crafts for some ideas of something extra you might do for Christmas. Bev’s Country Cottage offers a similar listing of charitable opportunities for crafters.

A Final Note

This Christmas shopping season I’m making different shopping choices because the world is a very different place than it was last year. Looks like there may be some tough times ahead. But tough times bring out the best as well as the worst in people so let’s all get it together this Christmas and think a bit about one another rather than another X-box.

Charitable giving is my way of lighting a little candle in the darkness. I hope you’ll want to join me. If any of you have other suggestions for charitable gift websites, please tell me about them in the comments section and I’ll add them . Merry Christmas and Happy Christmas Shopping.

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Comments 48 comments

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pgrundy 8 years ago

What a wonderful hub! On Bill's side we are only giving stocking stuffers this year, and on my side (it's just my kids and my grandson) we are scaling way back because we are all broke. I love the Celtic Women clip too. So beautiful.

When we lived in South Bend I used to shop at Ten thousand Villages, a shop that is nationwide and is associated with some segment of Christianity but I don't know which one. They don't make a big thing of it. Anyway it's all fair trade products from all over the world, and they have information on how you can get more involved if you want to. I'm going to check out all these links you've posted--I have heard of several but others not so much.

I've been thinking I'd really like to get involved in some kind of local food bank. I know in the coming years that is going to be so critical. I think we are in for something truly harsh, robie, but we can all get through it if we change our priorities. Thank for this hub, it's perfect.

Ralph Deeds profile image

Ralph Deeds 8 years ago

Nice Hub. Good ideas. I published one 11 months ago entitled "A Stroll Around the Mall as We Enter a Recession.

JamaGenee profile image

JamaGenee 8 years ago from Central Oklahoma

Closer to home, a year's worth of Future Promises "gift certificates" is a great gift when cash is low or non-existant. Make up the "certificates" on your computer promising the giftee that you'll do something for them each month that they won't (or can't) do themselves. To name just a few: wash the car or take it in for servicing, clean the oven (or a closet), bake your special-recipe cake or cookies. Use your imagination - the possibilities are endless!

RGraf profile image

RGraf 8 years ago from Wisconsin

Great ideas. I've been trying to promote the charity ones, but the families are so having to have items. We are actually trying to ban toy gifts because our kids have way too much.

robie2 profile image

robie2 8 years ago from Central New Jersey Author

Hi pg--funny you should mention Ten Thousand Villages. The wheatgrass cards I used an image of are from them and are available on the Cards that Give site I linked to. I know them and like them too. Here's a link to their fair trade principles.

I think a return to ethics and kindness may be in the cards along with tough times. What goes around comes around dontchaknow:-)

Ralph-- thanks for reading. I am gonna go check out your link...sounds interesting:-)

Jama-- I like this idea. Seems to me we did this kind of thing when we were kids and frankly doing something for someone is so much more impressive than buying something for someone. When are you coming over to clean my oven?

LOL -- oh well Merry Christmas

RGraf-- Good luck with the toy ban:-) On the other hand maybe you can get the kids interested in Jamagenee's idea. Thanks for stopping by

VioletSun profile image

VioletSun 8 years ago from Oregon/ Name: Marie

Oh, Robie! This is so wonderful, what a great idea for a hub. I will absolutely purchase Christmas cards that benefit a charity, didn't think of doing this with Christmas cards. It's perfect timing as I was thinking of buying cards tomorrow.

robie2 profile image

robie2 8 years ago from Central New Jersey Author

Hi VS--good to see you and glad you like this. I love the idea of Christmas shopping online and the idea of helping a charity while shopping really lifts my spirits:-)

Melissa G profile image

Melissa G 8 years ago from Tempe, AZ

Great hub, Robie! I've also been experiencing a diminished desire to buy or receive any mass-produced presents this year, so I appreciate the great resources you provided! I agree that the energy of this year is ideal for rediscovering traditional values such as love, kindness, and gratitude.

Last year, I did most of my Christmas shopping through, which donates a proceed from all sales to various charities, and includes fair trade and eco-friendly products. Since then, it's been difficult to purchase items from mega-retailers that contribute to ecological degradation and human rights violations. I hope many of us will opt for socially conscious gift-giving this year, and I agree that it feels good to do good while shopping.

After Black Friday, I scanned the headlines eagerly for signs that our capitalist structures may be crumbling, and was surprised to read about healthy sales volumes, and the tragic death of an underpaid WalMart employee who stood in the way of frantic shoppers.

Perhaps his death will help bring about the end of mindless consumerism, and an increased awareness of the value of life: the greatest gift of all.

Thanks for this wonderful hub!

5000holes profile image

5000holes 8 years ago from Northwest

A lovely hub; a lovely article. Of course an ongoing theme, but in the age of super impulsive buying, this is very poignant information. Even in the recession, there'll still be hoardes of folks out trying to maintain some vestige of a traditional christmas, and more often than not, for alot of people that means purchasing to no end. It'd be nice if this kind of information resource became a "positive contagion" on the internet as well in the consciousness of the world. And not just the rhetoric of "sharing" I tend to hear about from folks who don't really seem to practice what they preach, but the actual deep awareness that it's necessary to uplift the morale of the world. Great stuff robie2

pjdscott profile image

pjdscott 8 years ago from Durham, UK

I really enjoyed this article which, for me, encapuslates the meaning of Christmas. I particularly liked the idea of giving to charity, since I think many will suffer this Christmas as people have to take account of their own financial situation.

Your lovely video choice also has meaning for me - most of the vocalists are from my home city of Dublin, including their musical director David Downes who is from a very musical family (his brother is a famous uilleann pipe player). Chloe Agnew's mother is a very famous Irish musical entertained called Twink, and her father is a professional oboe player with Ireland's leading pro orchestra!

robie2 profile image

robie2 8 years ago from Central New Jersey Author

Melissa--I checked out the Greater Good network at what a great concept and a great site. Thanks for sharing it. Also share your hope that rampant materialism, including trampling Walmart employees to death to get to TV sets, is on the way out out out. Thanks for your comment. I loved it.

5000holes-- thank you so much for that wonderful comment. I too would like to see more focus online and real world on human values and less on " I've got mine so to hell with you" I think we've reached a tipping point, don't you?

Pdjscott--welcome welcome-- it is so nice to see you again Peter. I'm glad you liked this one and was really interested in all the info you have on Celtic Women. They are a wonderful group and I am definitely a fan. Their sound is so pure. Hope you'll be saying more about them on Hidden Dublin one of these days :-)

trish1048 profile image

trish1048 8 years ago

Hi Robie,

Wonderful ideas!  Every year at my job we pick a name of a child off the tree and purchase a gift.  We also donate to a local charity every Thanksgiving.  I'm going to check out the pet site myself :)

Very inspirational hub, and I love the Christmas cards you chose.

Thanks for sharing!

robie2 profile image

robie2 8 years ago from Central New Jersey Author

awwwww trish--glad you liked it and thanks for the visit.

trish1048 profile image

trish1048 8 years ago

Very welcome :)

stephhicks68 profile image

stephhicks68 8 years ago from Bend, Oregon

Such wonderful, green ideas! I love this Hub!!! I have been trying extra hard, asking Santa for a good attitude this year. Thank goodness for your views, Robie, I think he came to my house early. :)

robie2 profile image

robie2 8 years ago from Central New Jersey Author

Hi Steph--I think we are seeing a world wide sea change here. O Come All Ye Frugal LOL All that glitz and glitter at the mall just looks tacky for some reason this year, doesn't it? Thanks so much for stopping by.

kopitozie profile image

kopitozie 8 years ago

thank a lot for sharing cool and nice hub

robie2 profile image

robie2 8 years ago from Central New Jersey Author

and thank you, kopatozie, for taking the time to read and comment:-)

Sally's Trove profile image

Sally's Trove 8 years ago from Southeastern Pennsylvania

Your Hub is a bright star in a confusing night.

This year, all the Christmas lists among my friends and family are sparse, and many of them suggest giving in the ways you describe. I guess the point is, let's ask each other what we'd want, and I think most will say something along the lines of sparseness and giving to others.

Christmas giving got way out of hand over the last few decades. Now, maybe we can turn it back into what it was meant to honoring of a love, a friendship, a doing for others.

Indeed, that's the spirit of Christmas.

Awesome Hub...did I say that?

robie2 profile image

robie2 8 years ago from Central New Jersey Author

Well said ST, well said indeed that is the spirit of Christmas and I'm all for getting back to it. Thanks for stopping by and for your kind and wise words.

Christoph Reilly profile image

Christoph Reilly 8 years ago from St. Louis

What a great list of fun, unique things to give for Christmas (or just to do for yourself)! All of these look very appealing to me. Thanks!

robie2 profile image

robie2 8 years ago from Central New Jersey Author

Thanks for stopping by Christoph-- this is the anti Neimann-Marcus Christmas catalog hub LOL-- hope Santa is good to you this year:-)

robie2 profile image

robie2 8 years ago from Central New Jersey Author

thanks, babycribs......glad you liked it and Merry Christmas to you and yours.

TLC Grandparent profile image

TLC Grandparent 8 years ago from Maryland, USA

Thanks for your ideas Robie. I like the charity giving idea also. I had to chuckle that our church bulletin advertised "a couple of boxes" in the foyer to put donations in. Last Sunday there was already a pile of donations 4 feet high and 12 feet square! :-)

robie2 profile image

robie2 8 years ago from Central New Jersey Author

Hi TLC-- I think tough times are making people more grateful for what they have and more willing to share with others-- not a bad thing eh? Thanks for your comment:-)

Silver Beth 8 years ago

Hi Robie2 and I've gotta tell ya, these are some great ideas! If you have to give a little gift, like for Secret Santa or to someone who you really want to show some appreciation, try giving away a class. A friend and I trade and barter a lot and we decided to give our friends classes in each others hobby/specialty. I give classes on making jewelry from Art Clay Silver and she teaches how to make soaps, lotions and hand blended scents. We also barter with each other, some of my perfume bottle earrings for some of her scented soaps, etc. We both get to give something that doesn't have our families saying, "Oh, how nice, this again!"Really enjoyed this post!

robie2 profile image

robie2 8 years ago from Central New Jersey Author

H Silverbeth-- I think giving away sevices as a gift is a wonderful idea. BTW, I just went and looked at your website-- your silver jewelry is lovely and very original. I like it very much==thanks for stopping by and commenting and Merry Christmas:-)-

BestWeddingDances profile image

BestWeddingDances 7 years ago

Great post. Those are great ideas and advice for the Recession Christmas Shopping.

robie2 profile image

robie2 7 years ago from Central New Jersey Author

thanks-- glad you liked it-- and thanks for the link too. I went and had a look. Very nice seasonal blog:-)

Zamorak profile image

Zamorak 6 years ago from Bingley, United Kingdom

Wow I'm loving the original idea's even though Christmas is far away some of the idea's such as adopting an animal from various charaties is a great idea all year round, very informative =)

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Wooded 6 years ago

This is one of the best hubs I have ever read. What a wonderful idea in these times to give gifts like this. I think that many people are changing for the better with the financial difficulties we are experiencing and I hope that it lasts when things turn around.

robie2 profile image

robie2 6 years ago from Central New Jersey Author

Why, thank you,Wooded-- this is one of the nicest comments I've ever had :-) I'm so pleased you like the idea and the hub and thanks for stopping by and taking the time to read and coimment

Athlyn Green profile image

Athlyn Green 6 years ago from West Kootenays

What a great Hub with good, usable information that can help all of us ensure that our giving is more meaningful. I feel the same as you & this year have made crocheted scarves & slippers to give as presents.

So many are struggling & we do our fellow humans a service by reaching out to help rather than get caught up in the annual marketing frenzy.

robie2 profile image

robie2 6 years ago from Central New Jersey Author

I love the idea of hand made items as gifts-- seems so much more personal than buying something at a store. When you give someone something you have made there is really a part of you that you are giving too--what a nice idea your scarves and slippers are and I totally agree about the annual marketing frenzy. Thanks for stopping by

cindyvine profile image

cindyvine 6 years ago from Cape Town

Some families are only buying gifts for the children this year.

robie2 profile image

robie2 6 years ago from Central New Jersey Author

Hi Cindy-- that is also a great idea, but i think it's good for children to learn the joy of giving as well as getting too

YlvaJansson profile image

YlvaJansson 6 years ago

Very nice information here. With too much digital stuff a hand made gift will surely stand out.

robie2 profile image

robie2 6 years ago from Central New Jersey Author

Thanks for stopping by and commenting:-)

Twilight Lawns profile image

Twilight Lawns 6 years ago from Norbury-sur-Mer, Surrey, England. U.K.

A nice and useful hub. Thank you for putting it together so capably.

robie2 profile image

robie2 6 years ago from Central New Jersey Author

Glad you liked it, Twilight, and thanks for stopping by and for following me. I'm following you now too:-)

mistifields profile image

mistifields 5 years ago

Very nice hub. I agree it's time we get back to the true meaning of Christmas. A recession could be just the thing to help us all remember what it's truely about.

robie2 profile image

robie2 5 years ago from Central New Jersey Author

Thanks mistifields, for taking time to comment--yes it would be nice to make Christmas about giving as well as getting.

shea duane profile image

shea duane 5 years ago from new jersey

Fantastic hub! great ideas... I hope everyone reads this.

robie2 profile image

robie2 5 years ago from Central New Jersey Author

Thanks Shea, glad you like it. Funny, it is as applicable now as it was two years ago when I wrote it-- which says something about the global economy:-)

robie2 profile image

robie2 5 years ago from Central New Jersey Author

HI Rainy28-- so glad you enjoyed the hub and thanks for following me-- I trotted on over to your place and sampled a few of your hubs too. Good stuff. I'm following you too now. Thanks for stopping by and taking the time to comment.

daleamy profile image

daleamy 5 years ago from Spring Hill, TN

wonderful ideas! Your first paragraph summed up my own feelings, but using more effective words than I could have! :)

robie2 profile image

robie2 4 years ago from Central New Jersey Author

thank you so much daleamy for that lovely comment and thanks for stopping by

rickzimmerman profile image

rickzimmerman 4 years ago from Northeast Ohio

Great thoughts, robie2! To amp up your holiday spirit, you might enjoy the humor and art in any of my more than two dozen Little-Known Santas, like:

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