You know that I am a big fan of supporting our local animal sanctuaries and animal advocacy groups and I’m sure most of you are too. I’m also a big fan of helping the people I love have better understand our non-human animal kin via experiences like volunteering at sanctuaries or rescuing companion animals, or reading stories about animals’ actual lives. There is something about putting a name to a face to help us empathize with others.
This is why I am over-joyed that one of our local sanctuaries, Pasado’s Safe Haven, has made it easy to give the gift of sponsoring an animal at the sanctuary. So if this is a season of giving for you (or you have any other reason to give), consider using your budget on the type of gift that keeps on giving – both to the animals and to the recipient who gets to learn more about the incredible creatures up at Pasaso’s. With sponsorships ranging from $10 all the way up to $285, there is certainly something to fit your budget.
A few years ago we sponsored animals at Farm Sanctuary as gifts and it was a huge hit with people keeping the photos of the animals on their fridge or mantel all year long. If you order by this Tuesday, December 16, 2014, the card will arrive to the gift recipient in time for Christmas. Sweet deal!
OK, so here is my count down to the best gifts to give (and receive) any time of the year.
- Nothing. OK, this sounds weird, but I really wish I’d get nothing from most people and I know many of you feel the same. Gifts from family members who don’t really know you, or obligated gifts to people who already have too much – well, it’s just weird. If you don’t really feel like giving or don’t know what to give, don’t. Send a nice letter. Screw forced giving seasons.
- Poetry. Turns out this one might be more fun to give than receive. I once wrote each member of my family a personal haiku for Christmas. I had a really freaking good time writing them, but I don’t think they were that good. That said, I’d love to get poems in my stocking.
- Coupon, invite, or certificate to some super fun, cozy, or shared experience.
- Gift certificate to any local vegan-owned business.
- Homebrew. I love to make beer. I love to drink beer. You can also brew ginger or root beer or your sXe friends.
- Books. Bonus if you get them at Vegan Haven because the profits go to Pig’s Peace Sanctuary.
- Food! Especially homemade jams, pickles, and hot sauces. Homemade fudge? OK. That.
- Custom arts or crafts, or whatever you are good at (drawing, magnets, soap, glass etching, potholders, etc.). I once received a handmade wooden box from my friend Julie, and it is one of my favorite things ever. That reminds me, I should write her.
- Donation to an animal advocacy group or sanctuary (you did just read all about it, right?).
- Love (duh).
Now, if you know someone might be giving you something this time of year, just print out this list as a hint.
However you celebrate, or however you don’t, have a great winter, and remember, after December 21, the days get longer!