Give Back Gifts - Kids Presents That Help Others

Author: Selina Andersson

Tags : Eco-Tourism, Kids, Multigen, Shopping, Teens, Volunteer

Holidays are the time to instill the family's values in children, while delivering a bonanza of gifts that give back to others. This year, why not skip the long lines, reduce click-fatigue, save money, stay warm, help a good cause and live your family values out loud. Spend your holiday allowance to support the many wonderful adopt-an-animal programs, education and life-changing organizations that work around the world to improve the human condition.

Here are some organizations that our families support.

Adopt an Animal for the Holidays

Stumped for holiday gift ideas? Kids interested in taking care of animals? This holiday season, you won't actually have to feed and clean up after your child's new pet because many animal conservation programs send certificates and pictures instead of the actual animal. Your kid will get to track their new adoptee, learn all about where it lives, how it survives and, best of all, it's incredibly affordable (unlike that new gaming console).

Adopt A Tiger this season may mean supporting one through the World Wildlife Fund, where it is the most popular among their selection of endangered animals. Or, fund their work with a panda, polar bear, Emperor Penguin chick or African elephant contribution. For $250, your family can really help preserve the estimated 3,200 tigers in the wild, but starting from $50, you can help a good cause and get a certificate and photo of your adoptee, or even plush look-alike toys for the little ones.

The Koala Preservation Society of New South Wales, Australia rehabilitates these cute animals when they're sick or injured and then re-releases them into the wild. Their Adopt-A-Wild-Koala program based in Port Macquarie starts at only AUS$35 (about US$34) and makes a great holiday or Christmas present. It includes a Certificate of Adoption with a picture of the koala and your child's name on it, a story about their koala, a vinyl sticker and a koala booklet. You, or your child, will get to pick which koala they'd like to adopt and the adoption money will help rescue and treat the koalas. Visit Koala Hospital for more information on how to adopt one of these cuddly tree-climbers.

If you know a child who loves ocean animals, then adopting a sea turtle or manatee can be the ideal holiday present. Both of the following programs (adoption packages start at $25 - $30 respectively) include adoption certificates, pictures of their adopted animal, and handbooks about the amazing creatures that make a sustainable and educational gift.

The Adopt-A-Manatee program at Save the Manatee also promotes sustainable kayak tours in central Florida to see the creatures up close.  Adopt-A-Sea Turtle gifts animal lovers with a personalized kit from the Sea Turtle Conservancy, which has been doing this important work for more than 50 years. On their website, families can follow the turtles they are tracking by satellite.

Support Groups that Do Good

You can support many worthwhile non-profit groups whose work represents an incredible gift for all ages, all year long. At Oxfam Unwrapped, you can purchase any number of items that will be sent to people who really need them around the world. Everything from fruit trees to school fees, a $39 goat or $98 to bring water to a school, to calves to bees to bridges can be given as gifts. Your giftee will  receive a very clever card that explains how your gift helps fight poverty.

Heifer International is another great charitable organization with a stronger focus on giving animals to impoverished people around the world. Their online holiday catalog is full of stories about cows ($500) that helped families build new houses, sheep ($120) that provided warm coats for children in winter, chickens ($20) that fed them, and trees ($10) that helped farmers in Appalachia. This year, partial contributions from $10 and up are pooled with others to fulfill these needed gift items.

The World Vision Gift Catalog offers a similar program that funds hundreds of life changing, life-saving opportunities to help children and families. The Christian giving organization offers more than 100 gifts ranging in price from $17 (seeds) 20 to $1,500 (school supplies) and up, donations that can be purchased in the name of a family member or friend. The gift recipient in turn receives a special card describing the gift that was purchased and the impact it will have in the life of a person in need.

You can also support many worthwhile groups in a really big way, by signing up your family for a volunteer vacation.  To be sure you're making the best choice for all ages, abilities and interests, read our "How to Volunteer" guide before reviewing all the organized  tour options.

Train Young Minds in a Compassionate World View

We have always loved The Economist, one of those weekly magazines we wish we read regularly but which we usually only get to finish in an airport lounge. Now that our son has gotten interested in world affairs (and whose kid isn't these days?), it's become a wonderful holiday gift that gives back a reasoned, compassionate world view in every issue.  This year, they are offering subscribers 51 weeks for $89, plus a free "Pocket World in Figures" book.  If you have two candidates on your list, or you're buying one for your family and one as a gift), each annual subscription costs only $69, plus the free "Pocket World in Figures and a “Great minds like a think” T-shirt.  Anyone got hard-to-please teens?

Train our Next Leaders to AssistLead African Communities

2Seeds is a non-profit working to build a network of innovative and sustainable agricultural development projects in rural Africa. The organization selects, trains, and mentors small teams of recent college graduates and partners them with community leaders in various countries. Teams, currently in Tanzania, help local leaders develop projects that address the urgent needs of food and income security for subsistence farmers. Each year they hold holiday auctions of the most valuable donated items to support their work, so you can buy, and show kids that their support is both reducing poverty in Africa and developing future leaders in the United States.

Flash Sales & Auctions for Good at BiddingforGood

To raise money for a variety of causes, upcoming projects, and non-profits, the online auction house at Bidding For Good can't be beat. It's so easy to use their Commerce for Charity system that grade schools can do away with bake sales, and youth groups or other organizations can upload their donated Major League Baseball tickets, Paris walking tours, or even Amazon giftcards so everyone can take part in the worthwhile bidding process. More than 8,000 happy customers and 400,000 bidders have found causes to support, whether in pursuit of stocking stuffers or major holiday presents.

Bah, Humbug!

Picture this. From Black Friday and Cyber Monday through late December, millions of people spend too much money on silly or trendy holiday toys, presents and gadgets that are lost, broken or disposed of by mid-year. Don't use this holiday to give another unwanted gift that will soon be forgotten. Instead, help a good cause and let your child (or your nanny, or your neighbor, or your boss...) take part in changing the world.

We guarantee that helping others will put a smile on anyone's face and, don't forget, all these gifts are tax deductible.