Because this year I won't be traveling to the cold for the winter holidays to see family, etc. I 've been scratching my head on what I would do for gift giving this year.
The norm would be a online gift certificate of some sort. Because of the latest thing my brother is doing, I first went looking to see if there were any Fair Trade stores in Canada where I could obtain gift certificates for from the United States. Alternatively reasonable US based ones that didn't want more than the gift certificates value to ship the goods to Canada. I didn't have any luck googling for such a place. So, I sent an email to the Fair Trade Advocacy group here at K-State, but never got a response.
Earlier in the year, I had gotten some catalog and there were a variety of donations to help around the world. At the time, the key item was a fund a traditional (shallow water) well. I joked about how we should all chip in for one. Of course, my parents could only see the value of giving as a tax deduction and since they live in Canada, it wouldn't have been one. Plus they only give $5 here and there. At the time they made a point of say they just gave $5 to fight Cancer (I've lost an aunt, and other people, to breast cancer)....I countered with the fact that I had just given $50 this year specifically to fight breast cancer. Meanwhile, my brother and his wife, who are currently in Ghana, are on the crusade against giving money to any charities.
I set the catalog aside, but when I came back to this idea, I couldn't find it again. But, then among the several pounds of mail that accumulated while I was at LISA '07 (but not the other several pounds of mail that accumulated over the same period in my box at the UPS store)...there was a World Vision Gift Catalog. Which had a variety of other gifts.
So for my brother and his wife, I've made a donation to provide Malaria prevention for 5 families: Provides anti-malaria bednets and teach parents on how to keep children safe., and for my parents a Complete fishing kit: Give a family a fishing pole, hooks, lines and a basket, to help feed children and build self-sufficiency. and Tools and training for farmers. Though in retrospect, I'm not sure the last two are totally in fitting with the theme I was going for. But, given the choices available and my gift budget....
Meanwhile, I stuck with what I originally went with, and got myself a Share of a traditional well.
Perhaps this'll be a new tradition....