Stuck for gift ideas this Christmas? Rachel Hand has been trawling charity websites to find ten off-beat charity Christmas gifts that benefit women around the world.
So, your family and friends really don’t need anything, you can’t give them chocolates again and you don’t want to resort to giving socks or woolly jumpers just yet?
Even the original charity gift, the Oxfam goat, is old news now.
Well, don’t let the hunt for suitable gifts dampen your Christmas spirit! Check out our list of ten off-beat charity gifts that don’t just cut the clutter, they benefit women around the world.
1. Rent a Market Stall
We’ve all heard about the terrible natural disasters that have affected Haiti over the past few years. Just as this small nation was beginning to get back on its feet, disaster struck again with Hurricane Sandy.
This gift from Changing the Present pays for a Haitian woman to rent a market stall, increasing her income two-fold. Your money provides a self-employment loan, enabling a woman to develop her business. As she repays the loan, her line of credit increases by an amount equal to her savings. US$100
2. Birthing Kit
Giving birth is dangerous for mothers and babies in countries where hygiene standards are low and medical care is unavailable. A birthing kit from Concern Gifts includes bath soap, surgical spirit and a lamp to make a delivery safer. While these items may appear simple, they can make all the difference to new mothers around the world. £18 (US$29 approx.)
3. Bedding for a Family
It’s easy to take bed sheets, blankets and duvets for granted, especially when you’re snuggling up to avoid a cold winter. In the event of a natural disaster, however, families can lose everything they own, and this includes bedding. A bedding set from musthavegifts.org includes bed rolls, sheets and blankets which offer warmth and comfort. £18 (US$29 approx.)
READ MORE: Krama Wheel: Cambodian scarves for education
4. Shabby Apple Spa Day Gift Pack
Shabby Apple stocks clothes, accessories, home and beauty items, and donates 5% of its net sales to Accion Microfinance, which helps women around to world to develop businesses.
What’s more, Shabby Apple is women-owned and operated, and believes in “feminism and femininity”. Spoil someone with this Spa Day Gift Pack and check out the vintage clothing on sale. US$48
5. Holiday Candle by Thistle Farms
Thistle Farms is operated by Magdalene, based in Nashville, Tennessee, a residential programme for women who have survived lives of prostitution, trafficking, addiction and life on the streets.
Magdalene helps women rebuild their lives; one of their methods is through social enterprise. Thistle Farm products are made by women at Magdalene, equipping them with valuable skills for their future working lives. We particularly like this Holiday Candle, scented with orange, nutmeg and allspice, perfect for the festive season. US$21
READ MORE: Experiencing Christmas in different cultures
6. TOMS Saddle Brown Travel Journal
For every purchase, TOMS gives a new pair of shoes to a child in need. It’s as simple as “one for one”. We especially like this Travel Journal in Saddle Brown, handmade in worn leather, perfect for recording all your exciting adventures in 2013. TOMS also sells shoes, eyewear and more. US$30
It’s certainly not the most glamorous of gifts, but we all value being able to do our business in the privacy of a toilet. In many parts of the world there are no toilets, and people just go behind bushes or in fields. Buying them a toilet increases dignity and reduces disease. £30 (US$48 approx.)
8. Women’s Gold
Shea butter, often found in moisturisers and body butters, may not seem like a charity gift. But in West Africa it is known as “women’s gold”. Prized for cooking as well as for beauty, shea butter cooperatives are an important source of income for women in poor communities.
9. The Mother of All Gifts: Care for Mums and Swarovski Crystal Earrings
Part of Oxfam’s Unwrapped gifts series, this gift will be used to support mothers. It could train midwives, assist pregnant women or help to ensure that suitable medical care is available. A pair of handmade Fair Trade earrings with coloured glass crystals is included. £18.99 (US$30 approx.)
10. Feed a Mother
The West African country of Mali is one of the least developed nations in the world. Working with the World Food Program (WFP), this gift from Changing the Present will feed a pregnant or breastfeeding mother in Mali for a whole year. She will receive healthy nutritious meals, to help give her child the best possible start in life. US$92.
Did we leave anything off our list? Tell us your favourite charity gifts in the comments below!