The easyVegan Guide to Easy, Veg*n Holiday Gifts

December 7th, 2007 12:33 pm by Kelly Garbato

Update, 12/12/07

Two more gift guides, courtesy of Vegan Outreach:

* The Vegetarian Site: Top 20 Vegan Gifts under $20

* The Vegetarian Resource Group (VRG): Vegetarian-Friendly Books for Children and Parents (.pdf)

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Update, 12/7/07 @ 2:30PM:

Doh! As feared, I forgot a few links!

Firstly, in terms of animal rescue groups, add Eastern Shore Chicken Sanctuary to the list. You’ll have to make your own gift package, but it’s well worth it. Founded by the lovely pattrice jones, Eastern Shore

provides a haven for hens and roosters who have escaped or been rescued from the poultry and egg industries or other abusive circumstances. In addition to sheltering and advocating for chickens, we conduct research and community education aimed at diet change and agriculture reform.

Also, consider ordering a copy of pattrice’s book Aftershock for the activist in your life. (You can read my review here.)

In my hurry to get this thing posted, already (!) I even overlooked a whole mini-category of non-profit groups: animal rescue groups that primarily care for the companion animals of deployed military personnel. This could make a great gift for a relative who may not normally be concerned with animal welfare issues – but wants to “support the troops”.

Check out:

* Guardian Angels for Soldier’s Pet / MVP Sanctuary: The group is a network of foster homes that care for the animals of deployed soldiers anywhere from 6 to 24 months+. A sanctuary in Arkansas is in the works.

* Elgin Pet Welfare: Located on Eglin Air Force Base, the group is open to the public, but aims to serve those who serve their country.

Come back for updates – methinks there will be a few.

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‘Tis the season…and this season, Americans say they’ll spend around 866 large on gifts for their loved ones. Why not put some of that change to work – changing the world?

Last year, my Holiday Gifts for Activists & Agitators proved to be surprisingly popular (as did its follow-up, Even More Holiday Gifts for Activists & Agitators), so let’s see if we can’t share the love again this year? I’ve got even more links to round up this time around, which means more options for a green, animal-friendly, and socially-conscious Christmas Christmas / Hanukkah / Kwanzaa / Festivus / FSMas season.

Animal Sponsorships: Silly Humans, Pigs are for Cuddling!

Again, animal sponsorship ranks #1 on my list of holiday gift ideas. This year, I’m deliberately referring to them as “sponsorships” as opposed to “adoptions”. Last year’s caveat explains why:

By “adoption”, I don’t mean “go out and adopt (or, worse yet, buy) a cute little puppy that you just knoooow your little sis’ will love and cherish”. The sad fact is, many animals given as gifts wind up abandoned in shelters. Animals aren’t playthings, nor can they be “returned” or “exchanged”. I don’t want to launch into rant, but if you (or someone you know) is considering giving an animal as a present, don’t. More on that here.

It’s good advice, so heed it.

There are a ton of animal rights, animal welfare, and wildlife conservation organizations that offer animal sponsorship programs. These programs, in turn, are as varied as the organizations which implement them. Some allow you to “adopt” a wild animal and may even send you a bio and pic of “your” charge. Your funds, however, may or may not (e.g., Save the Manatee Club‘s Adopt-a-Manatee project) go directly towards the care of that individual animal. Others, such as animal sanctuaries, use the adoption fee to feed, house, and otherwise provide for the animal you choose to sponsor (e.g., Dogs Deserve Better‘s Sponsor a Fostered Dog project). Still others may set up special funds to raise money for a special needs animal (e.g., Woodstock FAS‘s Run for Albie) or a specific animal welfare program or campaign (e.g., Farm Sanctuary‘s Emergency Rescue and Campaign Funds).

Since there are so many options, you’ve got great flexibility to match up a recipient with a sponsor-ee she’ll love. Is your father an uber-patriotic type who loves eagles? Defenders of Wildlife has got a bird for you! Does Mom love puppydog tails? Hello, Best Friends! Great auntie have a great big pig collection collecting dust on her kitchen windowsill? Get her a real live pig from Farm Sanctuary instead of other inanimate knickknack. From dogs to ducks, cats to cows, and rabbits to river otters, these groups will let you “gift” them all.

Do your homework, though. Before sponsoring an animal, find out where your money will go. If you want a super-personalized gift, an individual animal “adoption” complete with an oh-so-cute “adoption package” might be the way to go. If your giftee is less concerned with material trappings, perhaps you should skip the free gifts altogether, so that all your money goes to the cause. (Some organizations may even give you a choice here.)

If you do donate to an organization that doesn’t send a “gift packet” to the recipient, you can always make your own gift packet. Since few-to-none of my relatives read my blog (*ahem, ahem*), I feel safe in divulging: this year, 95% of my gifts will be charitable contributions, made to specially-selected organizations in my relatives’ names. As only about half of these have gift options for the holidays, I made my own “gift packet” for each of the recipients. Basically, each packet consists of a description of the organization (mission, goals, history, recent news, etc.) as well as an explanation of why I think that particular group is a good match for the recipient. If an animal sponsorship is part of the dealio, I included a photo and bio of the animal, too. Added bonus: many org’s have pamphlets, brochures, posters, and other promotional materials available for download on their websites. These also make a great addition to a diy gift package. And if your loved one is a greenie, you can always e-mail ’em the info. Score!

So, with further adieu, a list of animal sponsorship programs. Order of appearance does not imply order of this blogger’s preference.

* Best Friends Animal Society -> Sponsor an Animal: Companion animals, “farm” animals, wildlife – Best Friends rescues ’em all. Sponsor one or more for $25 each – and get a free subscription to their bi-monthly mag.

* Defenders of Wildlife -> Wildlife Adoption Center: Choices include almost 80 different wild animals, with prices ranging from $25 to $250+. Crazy cute cuddlies galore.

* Dogs Deserve Better -> Sponsor a Fostered Dog: Sponsor a formerly chained penned dog with a monetary donation and/or “care package”.

* Farm Sanctuary -> Adopt-a-Farm Animal Project: Choose from nine “farm” animals; prices range from $10 to $50 a month (chicken – cow). Or sponsor a whole barnyard (one of each species) for $200 a month. (My mom, who’s just finishing a run with Terrin the pig, loved her adoption packet.)

* HSMO’s Longmeadow Rescue Ranch -> Sponsor a Barn Buddy: Prices range from $25 to $400, depending on the animal and length of time you choose. They’ve got some unusual animals that the other farm sanctuaries don’t – like Rex the Emu (!).

* International Fund for Animal Welfare -> Animal Gifts: Adopt an animal or sponsor a program, from $25 on all the way up to $1110.

* Oceana -> Adopt-A-Creature: Choose from 16 sea creatures – or adopt them all! The free gifts are really unique – cookie cutters in the shape of the animal(s) you sponsor! Starts at $35.

* Save the Manatee Club -> Adopt-A-Manatee: $25 and up gets you plenty of swag! And the warm fuzzies in the cockles, am I right?

* Snow Leopard Trust -> Snow Leopard Adoptions: Adopt a wee wittle cub for $50 or a whole family of the buggers for $135.

* Woodstock Farm Animal Sanctuary -> Animal Sponsorships: Choose from six “farm” animals. At $10 a month, chickens are the cheapest, while bovines will run you a hefty $50.

* World Wildlife Fund -> Animal Adoptions: With African Wild Dogs and Zebras (and 78 animals in between), they’ve got the forest covered. You can even opt to donate your adoption thank you package to Toys for Tots. Packages range from $25 to $100.

* Animals Australia -> Sponsor an Animals Australia Investigator: Sponsor not an animal, but an investigator to document the abuses they suffer in the live export trade.

* American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals -> Furry Friend Volunteers: OK, so I usually try to steer clear of the huge “box stores” of the animal rescue world. But this is a pretty cute spin: set up a page for your companion animal, and let her volunteer to raise some cash for the ASPCA.

Did I neglect to mention one of your favorites? Leave me a note in the comments!

Enviro Orgs: Get the Green Out

OK, so a donation to an organization that promotes wildlife conservation for humankind’s (including hunterkind’s) sake isn’t ideal. Even so, remember that your gift is that – a gift. As in, to someone else. So…you should at least try to take the recipient’s preferences into account. For sure, I’m not suggesting that you go out and, erm, blow a wad on the NRA. (Or maybe I am.) Just don’t make a donation to PETA in the name of your carnivorous hunter father. (Unless you’re estranged, in which case I say stick it to him.)

If you’ve got a relative who’s an outdoors person, a donation to an environmental group could work. After all, if you help the Nature Conservancy save an acre of land, a spotted owl can use the extra room just as much as could a hunter. Conservation isn’t a bad thing…we’ll just wait to tackle the whole “sport” of killing ’till January 1, yeah?

Agree to disagree; don’t compromise your principles; and look for a program that will please the recipient while generally advancing your cause.

Some suggestions:

* American Rivers -> Gift Donations: Gift memberships score the recipient a free calendar and magazine subscription.

* Greenpeace -> Gift Memberships: Greenpeace seems to have the sparsest gifting program, but hey – maybe that’s what you’re looking for!

* Grist -> Support Grist: Save Umbra!

* The Nature Conservancy -> Adopt an Acre, Rescue a Reef: And eight additional gift ideas!

* The Ocean Conservancy -> Gift Memberships: Gift memberships come with a subscription to Ocean Conservancy magazine.

* The Sierra Club -> Join or Give: All new memberships come with a snappy expedition pack. (Really just a fancy name for “backpack”.)

* The Wilderness Society -> Give the Gift of Wilderness: “Honor your friends and family with a gift, and we’ll send them a special card and membership in The Wilderness Society. For a gift of $50 or more, we’ll include one of our stunning 2008 wilderness calendars.”

Magazine Subscriptions: The Gift that Gives All Year Long

Give the gift of knowledge – and help support small media. From animal lib to women’s lib – there’s a magazine for that!

* The Animals Voice: In both print and digital editions.

* Vegan Voice: Based in Australia, they do ship internationally. You lucky veg*n, you.

* VegNews: It’s on my wish list (hint, hint).

* Vegetarian Times: Heavy on food, light on activism.

* Best Friends Magazine: Free with a donation of $25 or more to Best Friends Animal Society.

* Herbivore Magazine: A quarterly pub, this’ll set you back $6 an issue.

* The Bark: Ruff, ruff. Best dog-orientate mag out there, paws down.

* Bitch: Feminist response to pop culture. I’m a subscriber.

* Bust Magazine: Your sister’s Bitch.

* Ms. Magazine: Your mother’s Bitch.

* Mother Jones: Get your MoJo on.

* Utne Reader: “Creating a conversation about everything from the environment to the economy, politics to pop culture.”

* Skeptic: Promoting critical thinking skillz since 1992.

* Free Inquiry: Published by the Council of Secular Humanism.

* Skeptical Inquirer: A publication of CSICOP (sorry, guys, but I refuse to refer you you as CSI!), this one completes the skeptical mag trifecta.

Liberal Progressive Swag

Though I personally prefer monetary donations, as they don’t promote the crass consumerism that buying a load of stuff does, sometimes a little stuff can do a lot of good. Case in point: the following organizations sell progressive wares that can help you get the word out. Better than buying Grandma another sweater, am I right?

* Farm Sanctuary -> Farm Sanctuary Online Auction via Charity Buzz: Even at the discount, post-X-Files rate, David Duchovny is too rich for my blood. Sigh. Sob.

* Farm Sanctuary -> Shop at Farm Sanctuary: For more traditional veg*n wares.

* Animal Protection Institute -> Fall Into Holiday Shopping at API: Previously posted at easyVegan.info.

* American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals -> ASPCA Online Store: Offering year’s worth of animal-themed gifts.

* Humane Society of Missouri -> PetFulfillment: Save a dog while shopping for your dog. Win/win. (Also at the HSUS main.)

* Jane Goodall Institute -> Online Auction via cMarket: Lots of reading material autographed by the woman, the legend, the myth, herself. Me wants!

* Secret Society of Vegans: The coolest stash of animal liberation clothing on the internets. One of everything, please.

* The Herbivore Clothing Company: Second-coolest stash of animal liberation clothing on the internets.

* Home Again: Not an animal org, but this purveyor of microchips is offering a special holiday enrollment program. Microchips good.

* Feminist Majority Foundation -> Online Store: Crazy selection for the feminists (or budding feminists) in your life. Sorry, misogynists, no razors for sale here. Nyuck, nyuck.

* National Organization for Women -> Store: Even more cool feminist stuff.

* Amnesty International -> Shop Amnesty: Instant Karma – get it.

* CREDO Mobile -> Solio Charger: OK, so this is way cool. A solar charger! For your gadgets! Luv it.

Elsewhere on teh Internets: Gift Guides Galore!

Lastly, more gift guides…in case you’re still in need of guidance, that is.

* The Human Rights Campaign: Buying for Equality 2008

* Earth Meanders: Exclude Ancient Forest Logging Supporters from Holiday Gift List

* The Sierra Club: Green Holiday Tips from The Sierra Club

* Natural Resources Defense Council: Green Holiday Guide

* New American Dreams: New Dream News: Issue No. 37, November 20, 2007
– Daily Parenting Tips for the Season and Other Ways to Simplify the Holidays, Alternative Gift Fairs and the Alternative Gift Registry, and more.

* Grist: Oh, You Shouldn’t Have; Ten great ideas for “stuff-free” holiday gifts

* Grist: Big-Boxing Day; A gift guide for eco-minded shoppers headed to big-box stores

* Grist: Bough Wow; On organic Christmas trees

* Grist: The Problem With Christmas; Are you brave enough to say no to a high-stress holiday?

* The Sierra Club: Your Gifts Are On Our List

* The Ocean Conservancy: Save the Ocean While You Shop

* Techskeptic’s Data Daily: Atheist Charities

* The God of Biscuits’ Gospel: Atheist Holiday Donation Drive

* Wired’s 2007 Wish List

Ready, Set, Shop!

Before I set you loose, a few miscellaneous notes.

Most, if not all, of the organizations mentioned above also take cold hard cash. Again, you can go this route for the holidays and create a diy gift packet for the recipient.

Along this vein, there are a boatload of deserving org’s I’m sure I left out – including some I even made monetary contributions to this year. (Seriously, there are so many to mention, this post easily could have become a friggin’ book.) Got a cause? Google it. You’re sure to find someone working on it.

And then use one of many (or many of many) charity rating guides to check up on the org before throwing money at them.

Try:

* Charity Navigator (my tool of choice)

* BBB Wise Giving Alliance

* American Institute of Philanthropy’s Charity Rating Guide (subscription fee required; you can vie a list of their top-rated charities for free here)

Also, if you’re reading this guide on http://www.easyVegan.info, just look to the left-hand sidebar for a massive list of animal rights/welfare and environmental organizations. Most – if not all – of these offer gift memberships and branded swag on their websites.

Or jump down to the “Veg*n Directories” and “Veg*n Vendors” categories to find online stores which sell vegetarian, vegan, and other animal- and eco-friendly items.

That is all. Now get gifting, activists and agitators.

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One Response to “The easyVegan Guide to Easy, Veg*n Holiday Gifts”

  1. easyVegan.info » Blog Archive » Daily Aphorisms for V(eg*n)-Day(s) Says:

    […] One-Way Street: Food for Thought from the Founder of Candle Cafe and Candle 79 as part of my annual easyVegan Guide to Easy, Veg*n Holiday Gifts, but – alas! – I was so preoccupied with FSMas decorations this year, that I plum forgot to even […]

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