Conscientious Christmas

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Rather than spending Christmas in a consumerist blitz we’ve rounded up some gifts that make more than a sartorial difference. Here is a selection of gift options for the person in your life who likes to change the world.

Plan Ireland works strenuously at improving the rights of children in the developing world. Their highly successful Because I am a Girl campaign empowers girls through educational opportunities and has attracted patrons such as Laura Whitmore and Cherie Blair. This year they’re running a “Not the Usual Christmas Socks” appeal, offering you the chance to buy a Water Sanitation Kit to help children caught in crisis situations to access clean water, or you can purchase a school desk to help displaced children continue their education. For €100 you can send a girl to school for a year. For more information see here. Each gift comes in a small Christmas stocking decoration you can hang on your Christmas tree. 

Meanwhile Limerick-based charity Bóthar specialises in donating animals to families and describes their gifts as the ‘gift that gives life’. By donating and ‘buying’ an animal you can make a practical difference to the lives of many in the developing world. Bothar delivers thousands of animals each year across Africa, Asia, South America and Eastern Europe. Initially starting out with heifers, the NGO broadened its donation choices early on. If you are feeling generous you can now gift a family with goats, water buffalo, camels, sheep, fish, rabbits, snails, beehives or trees. For more information see here.


Oxfam are running their annual Unwrapped series and their online shop has a nifty feature where you can specify whom you want a gift for and you can then select a present which corresponds with their interests. Dad into DIY? Give him the gift of fixing a well. Among the array of meaningful gifts for communities are a clutch of chicks, three little pigs, and safe water. For more information see here. You can also purchase any of these gifts in Oxfam shops around the country. The Unwrapped gifts come with printed gift cards or if buying online you can download a beautifully designed ecard.

Jeanne Sutton @jeannedesutun

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