As a holiday tribute to the 12 Days of Christmas song, we have gift ideas from assorted fair trade, charitable, and third world organizations that will last more than disposable goods manufactured under unsafe conditions and still satisfy our desire to share generously.
Partridge in a Pear Tree: The Fruit Tree Planting Foundation is a nonprofit charity dedicated to planting edible, fruitful trees and plants to benefit the environment and all its inhabitants. Their programs include the donation of orchards places such as public schools, city parks and gardens, low-income neighborhoods and hunger relief sites.
Turtle Doves: Adopting a sea turtle and preserving their habitats will help keep them from extinction.
French Hens: Why not give the gift of chickens? Chickens give children and families a lasting source of nutrition and income. Fresh eggs raise the levels of protein and other nutrients in a family’s diet, and the sale of extra eggs and chickens can pay for vital basics.
Calling Birds: Or maybe just a way for a soldier to call home. Recycle and donate your old cell phone to a soldier. See link for donation information and a prepaid postage label.
Golden Rings: If you'd like to give jewelry, Brilliant Earth is a source for ecologically and ethically mined gold and diamonds.
Geese Laying: If it looks like a duck and quacks like a duck, it is a duck which are closely related to geese. A donation of 5 ducks to a hungry family and they can benefit from hundreds of large, protein-rich eggs all year long. A duck also offers valuable down-feathers, famous for their thermal insulation and padding — great for use in bedding materials and warm clothing, or to fetch much-needed income at the market.
Swans Swimming: Clean water is essential to safe swimming. Almost a billion people on the planet don’t have access to clean, safe drinking water. Charity:water is a non-profit organization bringing clean, safe drinking water to people in developing nations.
Maids Milking: A good dairy cow can produce four gallons of milk a day - enough for a family to drink and share with neighbors.
Ladies Dancing: Made by Survivors is a fabulous network that helps emancipate women and girls who have been sold into slavery. They sell handmade goods via catalogues and hope parties. These women get a new lease on life and a chance to truly dance.
Pipers Piping: Mr. Holland's Opus Foundation keeps music alive in our schools and communities by donating musical instruments to under-funded music programs, giving youngsters the many benefits of music education, helping them to be better students and inspiring creativity and expression through playing music
Drummers Drumming: 600 million people in the world are deaf, but only 8 million have hearing aids. The Solar Ear was created by Howard Weinstein specifically for those in rural areas world wide where electrical power and money are scarce. The solar powered digital hearing aid has been created to help the millions of people globally that are deaf, giving them sound and aiding them to get jobs.
With a little creativity and generosity, the 12 Days of Christmas can become the 12 months, years and decades. We have a chance to make a difference. Which one is your favorite? Can you think of some others?