Last minute Christmas gifts with a lasting impact

By Tierney Smith

Have you thought about buying someone an elephant this Christmas?

Last week I brought you my top ten eco-Christmas gifts, but what if you are considering not buying presents at all, but making some form of gesture in a partner, sibling or parents name.

Today I am bringing you the gifts that keep giving.

I first got the idea when a couple of Christmases ago, my brother – always leaving things to the last minute – got to Christmas Eve evening before realising that he had not brought me a present.

In a final panic he adopted me a tiger online – and as a huge animal lover, it was my favourite gift of the year and I have been hooked on the concept ever since.

If you like the idea of adopting an animal, providing a little help for a family or investing in some renewable energy – or if like my brother you are looking for that last minute gift – here are a few handy tips for you.

1) Adopt an Animal

Do you have a leopard mad sister or an elephant mad mum, well why not get them one for Christmas with the WWF adopt an animal programme. Not only will be helping to protect an endangered species – including penguins, dolphins, tigers and rhinos – but you will make someone’s year when they receive regular updates about their animal, interesting facts about your chosen animal, pictures and even a stuffed toy.

Head over to WWF’s website more information.

2) Helping save a child

For many young children – particularly in regions hit by disasters, the first few weeks of life can be hard. With a ‘No Child Born to Die’ survival kit gift, you could help a children survive those crucial first few days. The kit includes a measles vaccine, plus treatments for diarrhoea and pneumonia.

The Save the Children site has more details, along with a selection of other gifts for this Christmas.

3) Invest in solar panels for a school

And if technology and energy are your interest, why not help schools raise money to put solar panels on their roof. A new Solar Schools project started this year by carbon cutting group 10:10 sees eight schools in the UK attempt to community fundraise to get renewable energy in their school, and you can give them a helping hand this Christmas by donating anything from one cell to a whole panel to them for the festive season.

Check out the Solar Schools website to find out what schools are involved.

4) Help an activist

If you know a secret green activist – or a not so secret one – why not make a donation on their behalf to the Greenpeace campaign and suit and boot their activists. My personal favourite is the Orangutan costumes. While it is a little fun for the season, there is a serious meaning behind the gift as these suits are used to protest at headquarters of companies which are driving deforestation.

For more ideas head to the Greenpeace website.

5) The gift of water

Many of the things which we take for granted in our homes are a luxury for people living in poor communities across the world, so why not give a loved on the gift of water this Christmas. This gift will help to maintain a safe water supply, with pumps, tanks, taps, purification systems or pipes in a community, restore supplies to a disaster stuck town or provide a clean supply to a school or village.

More details on this and a variety of other gifts can be found on the Oxfam website.

Conact the author at [email protected] or @rtcc_tierney.

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