That awkward pause. The inward sigh. Followed by a forced smile and falsetto: “Wow, just what I’ve always wanted”. Every gift-giver’s moment of dread – and yet what do you get the person who’s got everything? More socks? Another candle? A snowman sweater?
Each year many people their hard-earned cash buying Christmas gifts that end up being unused or unappreciated. Often the gifts lack imagination and can suggest to the recipient that the giver has spent little time thinking about them.
In this consumer-obsessed society, it’s easy to get carried away with the whole materialism of Christmas. But do your friends and family really need more ‘stuff’ to clutter up their homes? What about a ‘funusual’ gift – a gift that keeps on giving?
Leading aid and development charity Oxfam offers a range of gifts that help Third World communities help themselves under its Oxfam Unwrapped scheme.
For £7 (about $11), you can feed a family or buy school supplies for some of the world’s poorest kids.
Each year, over 35 million people around the world are made homeless as a result of conflicts or natural disasters. Emergency food can mean the difference between life and death for families who have been made destitute through no fault of their own.
£9 (about $14.50) will buy safe drinking water for a village – one of the most important presents you could purchase this year. On Oxfam’s website, it shows how gifts such as safe water is helping communities not just survive but begin to thrive in the developing world.
Making a world of difference
Niema used to walk miles to get polluted river water in Ethiopia. The water was filthy and people frequently got sick from drinking or cooking with it – but they had little alternative. Installing a water pump in Niema’s village has changed everyone’s lives.
Niema said: “I’ve now got time to collect water and go to school. Thank you.”
How about spreading some festive cheer by putting a roof over a homeless person’s head? £32 (about $51) buys family-sized tents, shelter kits and the tools to construct them – ensuring crisis-stricken families have a safe place to stay.
Many other charities these days have a similar scheme – so why not check if your favorite good cause lets you spread the season of goodwill by giving a gift that keeps on giving?
Change the world one gift at a time by choosing this year’s must-have gift… happiness.