Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Gift It Up! Alternative Gift Fair: Support your Favorite Charities with your Holiday Gifting

Excited about the upcoming voting season?
I don't mean November '08. I'm talking about the Christmas season, when people make votes arguably much more powerful than they make on the first Tuesday in November. How? By their choices of what markets they support through their Christmas shopping.

Christmas gift-giving accounts for an enormous percentage of all spending. A third of adults nationwide (34%) think they will spend $1,000 or more on gifts, according to a November 9-12, 2006 Gallup Poll, Holiday shopping is one of the year's biggest generators of revenue-- money that goes on to support the organizations you buy from.

So then, what do you want to support this Christmas?
Sweatshop labor in China? Overpriced and unnecessary luxury items?

Naw, instead of supporting waste and unnecessary products, how about supporting non-profit organizations you believe in?
There's a great way to do it: Boston's Conscious Consuming Alternative Gift Fair: Gift It Up! occurring Saturday December 2nd between 11am and 4pm at Arlington Street Church in Boston’s Back Bay.

Gift it Up is a holiday donation showcase at which you can choose items to 'get' for your loved ones for Christmas: except the items will be delivered to people or non-profit groups who need them, and your friend or relative will get a beautiful card that explains your donation.

Gift it Up is organized by Conscious Consuming, a local Boston non-profit group that "believes that holidays - and every day - should revolve around loved ones and the issues we care about, not around the material goods we receive. This begins with contributing to energies which benefit our local and global communities."

Perks of the event include talking with representatives from the participating non-profit organizations about how they will use your donations; discovering non-profits you might not have known about, finding that perfect 'gift' for everyone on your list, and enjoying homemade snacks and hot beverages.

If you can't make it to the event, though, you can purchase selected 'gifts' on-line at Donate by December 15 and you'll get a lovely gift card and envelope to send to your gift recipients, which explains what the donation will purchase. But come to the event if you can- a wider selection of gifts will be available.

Think about it:
$25 buys a) one fruitcake, OR b) two meals per day for an orphan for a month.
$25 buys a) a book your friend will never read, OR b) a G.E.D. prep book for a person in prison.
$55 buys a) one more tie, OR b) a pig for a family in Haiti.

Other gift options include: mosquito nets, beds for orphans, tree seedlings, honeybees, vaccinations for stray animals, and rooftop garden supplies for households in Gaza. Participating organizations include Grassroots International, All Paws Rescue (a no-kill humane society), Spare Change News, Summerbridge Cambridge, and the Federation of Massachussetts Farmers' Markets.

These gifts can be even more meaningful than standard gifts, because they go on helping for months to years, and they show that you took the time to pick the perfect gift for your loved one (I told my boyfriend I'm getting him a cow for a family in Africa). And it'll always make a great story. (Remember when Aunt Cathy got us a live Creole pig?) The possibilities for great gifting are endless.

So, think about how you want to 'vote' this holiday season, and I hope you'll choose to vote for a better world through donations at Gift it Up!

Andrea Runyan recently moved to Boston and is a welcome addition to Conscious Consuming.

Friday, November 24, 2006

Buy Nothing Day

Happy Buy Nothing Day!

Today is the busiest shopping day of the year, and day of most stress for me. That's why I've pledge to buy nothing today.

You can do the same by learning more at

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Not mincing words

This quote by the President of China really gets to the heart of it:

I strongly support your vision, Mr. President, of encouraging your country to become a nation of consumers and not savers, which will inure to the benefit of our manufacturers, both large and small, and our farmers, as well.

(Thanks, Tim!)

Monday, November 06, 2006 ::

Our upcoming alternative gift fair "Gift It Up!" has been included in a story about how non-profits are trying new angles for holiday fundraising at For the full (short) article, click here: ::