Gifts with meaning

Keep on giving

By Julia Price on December 17, 2015

It's never too early to start your holiday shopping. If you love waiting until the last minute because, well, you hate dealing with the crowd, then how about trying a gift that's a little outside the box? We can sometimes end up spending hours debating whether or not we've gotten a good present for our family members and friends. But at, you can find gifts to help you win at giving presents this holiday season. Why? Because they're action-oriented gifts that help communities and villages, so picking them out for the people you love isn't even a question.

1) A goat (or two). Goats are the coolest animals. Seriously, don't they look as if they've got years of wisdom in their eyes? Must be the goatees! Ha! OK, no more lame jokes. There is nothing lame about giving the gift of a goat or two to communities that can use them for milk, reproduction and fertilizer on family farms. One goat will cost you $50, or you can double it and get a pair.

2) Train a midwife. For $150, you can give the gift of life. Oh, baby, that's definitely going to help a lot of mothers bring new little bundles of joy into the world. You can train a midwife in rural communities so that she can help mothers-to-be prepare for the birth of their babies, from the first phases of pregnancy through the start of the babies' lives.

3) School supplies. Because let's be real; there are never enough supplies to go around, especially when there's a lack of supply in the first place. For $30, you can provide pencils, rulers, notebooks, pens and art supplies to help set students up to learn efficiently. You definitely get an A+ for that.

4) Building tools. At $25, this may seem like one of the cheaper gifts, but the benefits of having a toolkit are priceless. Drills, hammers, nails and other handy tools can help members of a community build back their lives after a natural disaster or help them with the basics, such as building a road or planting a tree.

5) Help start a small business. For $100, you can help a fisherman, basket weaver, farmer, etc., start his own small business. You're helping someone to make his dream come true and, most importantly, have hope and belief in his vision.

Of course, Oxfam America may not be the organization that hits home with you, but there are plenty of other companies and nonprofits that supply products that are attached to a cause or focused on strengthening communities. The Giving Keys, a company that employs people transitioning out of homelessness who make engraved necklaces with inspiring words, and MalaikaForLife, which raises money for malaria medicine by selling bracelets handmade by women in Tanzania, both provide fashionable and socially conscious accessories that truly are gifts that keep on giving.