By Ilona Kauremszky

Q: The holidays have really creeped up and I haven’t even started my Christmas shopping. For the last-minute shopper like myself I’m hoping you could point out some alternative gifts where you could perhaps even shop online.

A: Of course books and travel accessories make great gifts but more and more people seem to be opting for charitable donations to worthy causes. For causes, the World Wildlife Fund (, UNICEF Canada ( or, World Vision Canada ( and Oxfam Canada ( are offering some great holiday gift ideas.

The WWF has 10 different species available for “adoption.” When you donate, you are symbolically adopting a threatened species for someone you love. In addition the non profit organization (NPO) reports you help support World Wildlife Fund’s conservation efforts to save wildlife at risk and their habitats. UNICEF Canada has some great Christmas and holiday cards for purchase of which proceeds goes toward their programs.

You can also check out UNICEF Gifts of Magic which are easy to order. The organization has a Stocking Stuffer section. For $10 you can purchase an insecticide-treated bednet which will protect one family from malaria. Over at World Vision Canada, this NPO has an online shopping section called “Canada’s most meaningful gifts: Gifts that changed the world.” Topics cover agriculture, animals, family business, gifts for 30$ and more. Oxfam Canada has created Oxfam Unwrapped, an on-line alternative giving program that offers a selection of life-changing gifts to people in need.

Among the six categories listed at their online store you’ll find “A Gift That Keeps on Giving,” “Giving a Leg Up,” and “Basic Services.” For instance, when you contribute $22 to their Safe Water program in their Basic Services section, you can personalize this gift with either an ecard or a gift card. Happy Holiday Shopping!


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