This the time of year when I rack my brains to find the right gifts for my friends, some of whom are perfectly content with the possessions they already have. Invariably, the people who are the most content are the ones who are the most passionate about causes like world missions, human rights, animal rights, or the environment.

Presents for People who Care
Many great charities process donations in honour or memory of loved ones. One of the most popular is World Vision, which, at this time of year, combines designated donations with exciting and unusual Christmas presents that change lives. One wealthy friend who has a deep love for Africa was delighted to receive a card acknowledging that a gift of food had been made to an African family in her honour. For US$75, a family in Malawi or Haiti can receive a goat. Many other gifts are offered, including fruit trees, chickens, houses and wells for clean water.

Loans and Gifts for Self-Sufficiency
The Grameen Bank was created by a brilliant economist from Bangladesh, Muhammad Yunus, who received the Nobel Peace Prize in 2006, jointly with the Grameen Bank. His book Banker to the Poor is a must-read. I bought it on Amazon. One of my friends diversified her modest investment portfolio with a few of these small loans, using kiva.org. That way she is helping other women to make a living, and these loans are almost always returned. Another great gift book is Women Empowered, a beautiful photograpy book with inspiring text, projecting hope for the women of the world.

The Earth
Environmental concerns also generate a lot of donations. Barbados has many national treasures that deserve our support and protection. The protection and care of the Graeme Hall Nature Sanctuary is a worthy cause. One friend has dreams of booking for an al fresco Christmas party inside the sanctuary, using picnic recipes from the Food Network. Another family I know bakes a Christmas turkey and ham and carries them to a picnic site- everyone gets a vote on which site they choose each year, and they celebrate in peace outdoors, in harmony with nature, leaving nothing behind but “footprints”. Farley Hill has been the most popular in the past. By the way, we love Barbados’ new “green” blog, greenbb!

Animal Rights
There are many organizations dedicated to animal welfare. In the US, the Humane Society accepts designated donations - you can even make a donation in honour of your pet! My cats would be none the wiser! But friends and family have appreciated these gifts in the past. One Bajan reader sent news of a wonderful charity called the Hope Sanctuary. Donations to this charity will improve the lives of animals in need. When adopting a pet, please remember that a dog or cat from this or any other shelter would be as sweet and loving as any expensive pure-bred animal either bred locally or imported from overseas.

Faith and Missions
Many Churches and missions accept designated gifts. One of my favourites is Echo Farm, which provides food and self-sufficiency to hunger-challenged people worldwide. It also has great educational opportunities. When I toured the facility, my mind was repeated drawn to memories of the late Colin Hudson, whose home was like a miniature Echo Farm. Many of my friends turn to their own Churches, temples, etc. to find meaningful gifts to benefit both the recipient and brothers and sisters in need.

Keltruth Corp. wishes all brothers, sisters, animals and the earth a very happy holiday season, filled with the joys of sharing and caring.