Sunday, November 22, 2009

Holiday Giving Guide

I know the holiday season is not supposed to be all about the gifts, but to me, it really is all about the giving.  I LOVE finding the perfect gift, and I want it to be loved by the recipient. 

More importantly, however, I want that gift to be meaningful on more than one level if possible.  My favorite way to accomplish this is by buying gifts from one of my favorite websites ever: The Animal Rescue Site

The Animal Rescue Site is a website that runs on sponser support and relies on "clicks" to receive funding.  The Animal Rescue Site is also part of a suite of charity sites, including The Hunger Site, The Breast Cancer Site, The Child Health Site, The Literacy Site, and The Rainforest Site, so you can click on each charity every day, or find the charity of your choice to support.  Each site also runs a store. 

Aside from the awesome gifts, every purchase from The Animal Rescue Site Store also contributes bowls of food to animals in shelters (this is how I avoid adopting every cute animal I see in shelters!), gifts from The Hunger Site Store contributes cups of food, The Breast Cancer Site Store funds mammograms, The Child Health Site Store funds health care services for children, The Literacy Site Store funds books for children, and The Rainforest Site Store saves square feet of the rainforest from deforestation. 

It was VERY difficult to only choose a few gifts to highlight (seriously, click on a link ... there are THOUSANDS of amazing gifts!!), but I picked out some awesome and interesting gifts available.

First of all, you can begin by buying Holiday ornaments, decorations, and cards, including these:

Box of 15 cards and envelopes for $12.95 funds 14 bowls of food for animals living in shelters (like all other gifts highlighted here, these cards can be bought from ANY of the charity websites, so you can choose to buy food, fund mammograms, buy books, or save the rainforest!).  These cards are printed on 100% chlorine-free paper made of timber from managed forests with a glitter-enhanced design.  The inside reads: "Happy Holidays! May they be merry and bright!" Measure 6.75" x 4.75" (17.1 x 12.1 cm).

One of my favorite areas on the website is the jewlery.  They have a huge variety of AMAZING pieces.  If you are looking for adorable jewelry on a budget, look no further:


These simple yet elegant earrings cost only $7.95 (!) and fund 14 bowls of food for animals in shelters.  These deep violet faceted amethyst stones measure .5" and hang from sterling silver hooks.  They made in and fairly traded from India. 

Speaking of budget gifts, these candles are cheap, gorgeous, and scented:

Available in two sizes, each has a scented core, and a outer layer of harder wax filled with a visual display of the included ingredients.  Best of all, the outer casing remains after the candle burns down, creating a beautiful, permanent holder for votives and tealights.  Choose from Apple Spice, Bamboo Spice Wheat, Bouganvillea, Holly Berry, Orange Christmas Berry or Orange Spice.  Small candles are $6.95 and measure 3" T x 3" dia. (7.6 x 7.6 cm); Large candles are $10.95 and measure 5" T x 4" dia. (12.7 x 10.2 cm). Purchase of either size funds 14 bowls of food for animals in shelters

There are lots of other great stocking-stuffer-size gifts, like these cute bookmarks:

Perfect for the readers in your life, this bookmark is only $4.00 (!) and still funds 14 bowls of food for shelter animals.  Available in Gold, Red, Green, or Red, this bookmark is made in and fairly traded from Colombia.

On the other end of the spectrum, if you have a large budget (and want to buy me something!), check out the new line from National Geographic, NOVICA, including one of my favorites:

This mirror is obviously a little pricey, at $124.95, but it truly a piece of art and funds a whopping 168 bowls of food for animals in shelters!  Flowers illuminate bold medallions adorned with gilt that surround a wall mirror.  Crafted in reverse painted glass and cedar wood.  This mirror is designed to hang vertically only and measures 19.7" W x 25.6" H x 1.0" D and weighs 7 pounds.  The mirror measures 8.5" W x 14.6" H.  

Obviously, The Animal Rescue Site has wonderful gifts for pets and the people who love them!

For the dogs in your life (and the owners who couldn't bear the thought of losing them), I LOVE this:

Yes, a RECORDABLE dog tag!  This technological safety net only costs $12.95, funds 14 bowls of food for animals in shelters, and sure beats buying a new tag every year because your address has been worn off!

To bring out the kitten in your cat (or keep your kitten a kitten), this toy is fantastic:

These bubbles actually HARDEN when they hit the air, and are chaseable, stackable, and SMELL LIKE CATNIP!  1 oz. of bubbles only costs $5.95 and funds 14 bowls of food for animals in shelters.

There are lots of practical animal gifts as well, like:

The perfect guide to choosing, training and caring for your rescue pup, whose temperament and behavior is a mystery!  This resource is only $22.95 and funds 28 bowls of food for animals in shelters.

There are also a ton of fun accessories in the "All About Animals" section, including:

So cute!  This little compact mirror is 2.5 inches square and stainless steel with a plasticized front graphic of a 60s style "cool cat."  At only $9.95, it also funds 14 bowls of food for animals in shelters.  This design is also available on a pill box, a change purse, and a business card holder.

For the green people in your life, these sites are second to none.  Recycled goods for everything, including the home:

These fantastic candles are made of used bottles cut in half and filled with soy wax that is hand-poured and crafted using the finest high-quality candle fragrances.  Soy wax burns more cleanly, and at a cooler temperature than paraffin wax, so candles last longer.  After your candles have burned down, you can either use them to hold votives OR washed and used as glassware (the tumblers are dishwasher safe)!  At only $16, these candles also preserve 1,145 square feet of the rainforest!  They are available in Black Cherry bottle (vanilla fragrance) or Ginger Ale bottle (mandarin and grapefruit fragrance) and measure 4" T x 2.5" dia. (10.2 x 6.4 cm).  The candles are produced by women in the USA involved with Bright Endeavors, a nonprofit social enterprise that helps inner-city and at-risk women gain the skills needed to make a living and become self-sufficient.  

For the green diva in your life, I suggest:

These bags are made in a clever bucket-style design that stands up on its own.  At $28, this bag not only saves 2,290 square feet of the rainforest, but also helps save the world while helping women artisans in Cambodia take a step towards economic independence at the same time!  Constructed with a sturdy box-sewn seams for long wear, these spacious tote bags are handmade from durable rice and feed bags originally destined for landfills.  Bags are 17" T and 12" in diameter.  Due to the recycled nature of these bags, patterns will vary.There are also tons more recycled bags available in purses, large totes, wallets -- you name it!.

And, of course, there are plenty of worthy causes to support, and you can show your support with one of these:

As seen in Glamour, Us Weekly, Star, Domino, Teen, and Flaunt, and worn by Marcia Cross, Jessica Biel, Mandy Moore, and the cast of Disney's High School Musical. This beaded elastic bracelet serves as a symbol of love, hope, and compassion in the face of hate, war, and genocide.  The bracelets are made of traditional recycled glass beads from Ghana, called "sand cast beads," are hand-painted, and each is totally unique.  Made in and fairly traded from Ghana. 

Relief Beads is a grassroots campaign that is raising awareness and money for Relief International's efforts in Darfur.  Relief International supports tens of thousands of refugees in Darfur, and their programs are essential for stability in the region.  Relief Beads directly supports operating the largest refugee camp in Darfur, administering medical care to thousands of individuals, giving life-saving therapeutic care to malnourished children, funding educational costs for students, and funding for the sole women's center in Darfur.  One Relief Bead Bracelet provides two months of education or feeds a malnourished child for one week.  At $12.95, this bracelet also preserves 1,145 square feet of the rainforest

And, of course, the number of pink ribbon items at The Breast Cancer Site is HUGE!  They have everthing from water bottles to slippers, running shoes to dog collars, and everything in between, including:

This adorable ornament is only $10 and funds 1% of a mammogram.  Individually mouth-blown in Egypt from German Pyrex glass, this pink ornament is adorned with a trio of pink ribbons and trimmed with real 24-karat gold.  Ornament measures 5" T x 2.5" dia.  Handcrafted by the Egyptian Museum and imported from Egypt.  Packed in a clear-topped gift box for easy storage or gift giving.

I wish I could show you everything I love from these websites, but alas, I cannot.  Please consider these websites this holiday season and ANY season!


  1. Have you been to yet? They have a daily question they ask, and whether you get it right or wrong they donate 10 pieces of kibble for free to animal shelters to help feed dogs. They also have a link to a site to help feed cats as well. I think it's a great cause, so spread the word! All you have to do it point and click on an answer and a dog gets more food somewhere.


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