Ethical and alternative charity presents - gifts of true love
Ethical and alternative gifts may never be the same after Oxfam,
World Vision and Christian Aid, launched schemes to send goats, donkeys, sheep, camels and assorted other livestock to Africa on behalf of loved ones as charity gifts.
These charity gifts make great presents for birthdays, weddings, valentines day as well as Christmas with over a hundred different charity gift ideas between them. (Click here to visit the Oxfam charity gifts collection or
here for the World Vision charity gifts collection or here for Christian Aid gifts).
It is very quick and easy to send your charity gifts. All you do is visit the web site, choose a charity gift online, and then choose a card with a personal message to send to your loved one on whose behalf the charity gift is being sent.
For those wanting to make more than the usual statement of love, there are also some other unusual and alternative gift ideas that are proving particularly popular amongst those who want to make their gift really count. Whether it be giving a share in a mango plantation or a whole orchard, a star in the sky, fairtrade chocolates, an innovative and unexpected evening out, meeting meercats, adopting a panda or orang-utan, organic gourmet hampers, natural luxury gifts boxes - this year there are lots of creative, unusual, but ethical and fairly traded (as well as reasonably priced!) gift ideas to choose from.
Here are 10 of the best unusual gifts and web sites, where valentines presents can be ordered quickly and easily online, gift wrapped and then delivered with a special message:
1. Flowers? How about a share in a mango plantation?
Flowers these days are pretty unremarkable as a gift - unless of course you are giving a whole meadow full of them, or even a share in a plantation! And that is exactly what you can now do thanks to two well known charities.
Oxfam has set up a scheme whereby you can donate anything from one tree to a whole orchard, to a family in the developing world as a present on someone else's behalf. The charity says that people love the idea because they really value the unique gifts they can buy for their loved ones, while changing the lives of some of the world's poorest children and families. Gifts can be purchased quickly and easily online and the charity takes care of the rest. They send a card to your loved one with your personal message, letting them know what has been donated on their behalf. There's actually a huge range of 50 gifts for every budget from a fruit tree for a fiver through to chickens, sheep, and pigs, or the grand orchard. Find out more here
2. Give her (or him!) the stars!
How about taking your loved one out for a romantic walk on Valentines day, gazing up into the night sky together and then pointing to a star in the sky that you have named after him or her? Well now its possible! Name a star is an imaginative, symbolic and romantic Valentines day gift that will last forever. By visiting a web site you can name a star after your loved one. You will then be sent a framed certificate of registration - showing the new Star Name, the date of registration and the star's telescopic co-ordinates with the precise location of the star you have named. It all comes in a presentation box with your own personal message - making the presentation of this gift something very special.
3. Feeding the lions and tigers
Warning - this gift is not for the fainthearted!
A once in a lifetime present, this is a unique gift experience that many dream of, but which very few actually ever get to undertake.
Feeding big cats by hand is normally a suicidal pursuit. But one company has set up an opportunity to get as close as you dare to some beautiful but ferocious beasts.
The opportunity has been set up at a park in Hertfordshire, so access is quite easy from most parts of the country.
On arrival at the park participants are briefed by the keeper and then, under instruction, get to feed the lions, feel the cat's whiskers and smell their breath in this once in a lifetime experience.
After the feeding (presuming you have survived) you are presented with a certificate as a memento.
The whole gift can be purchased quickly and easily online, and you can specify who you want the gift experience to go to with a personal message. The recipient can choose when they want to go ahead with the experience (presumably after they have summoned up the courage).
4. Be naughty...but nice with the chocolate option!
There is fair trade chocolate and then there is fairly traded fine chocolate - a chocolate not only created with ethical principles but with the same conviction applied to the end flavour and high quality ingredients of the finished chocolate.
If you are looking for some special fair trade chocolate for Christmas, then the Chocolate Trading Company has an award winning website that provides the widest selection of premium chocolates from around the world, from over 15 leading chocolatiers.
All categories of chocolate are available from single origin gourmet bars to stylish assorted gift boxes and unique novelties.
Their fairly traded chocolate has a special classification of ‚Äúequitably traded‚Äù, which means the added value earned from sales is shared amongst the co-operative farmers directly, enabling them to escape poverty and progress and protect their business, lives, habitat and eco-systems of their land.
From the cocoa tree to the finished packaging, this chocolate is 100% 'Malagasy'. This is a new concept in fair trade and it has many advantages over other fair trade chocolates, providing much more of a social benefit with long term sustainability.
Visitors can choose from next-day guaranteed gift delivery, standard UK delivery and worldwide delivery are all available.
All orders can be personalised with a choice of gift cards and an individual message.
5. Thanks Darling!
If you want to give an experience rather than something in a package, then you will want to have a look at Thanks Darling! From hot air ballooning to meeting meercats, dinner cruises to short breaks its got the lot!
6. Buy a piece of the moon (and other novelties)
Find me a gift is an absolute must for anyone searching for the unusal or unique present. Absolutely crammed full of the wierd and wonderful things you can buy everything from an acre of the moon, mars or venus for a future holiday home, to aroma cushion hot socks. There is simply a vast range of gifts, gadgets and the latest exciting products for men women and children. With over 1000 amazing products they cater for every age and occasion.
7. Recycle your newspapers
OK ‚Äì so this one is a bit of a cheat, but its a great gift! Why not get your loved one a newspaper from the date of the day you first met? Newspapers Remembered supply genuine original archive newspapers (not copies) from the date of your choice. They have archives that go back over a hundred years. All newspapers come in presentation packs and a personalised Certificate of Authenticity.
8. Organic Gourmet Hamper
A superb selection of locally produced foods and juices, biscuits, handmade potato chips, jams and preserves from rural Dorset and Somerset brought together in a luxury hamper. Carefully packaged and delivered with your own personal card message.
9. New Internationalist magazine
Full of stunning writing and photography the New Internationalist covers one key subject each month, from Terrorism to Poverty to Climate Change. Correspondents from around the globe provide a comprehensive world view and thought provoking, well reasoned editorials give you a clear, untainted picture. There are also masses of fresh reports and stories to keep you up-to-date on world affairs. We have found a deal, where if you give a gift subscription now you also get the Peters' World Map which illustrates the hidden bias of conventional map projections (worth ¬£5.00), the No Nonsense Guide To World History pocket book (worth ¬£7.00) ‚Äì as well as saving over 10% off the newstand price.
10. Adopt an animal
A frequent present is a cuddly teddy bear. But why not give a real animal? WWF has set up a scheme whereby you can give a real tiger, dolphin, panda, orang-utan, rhino and even an elephant. WWF‚Äôs mission is to stop the degradation of the planet‚Äôs natural environment and build a future in which humans live in harmony with nature. It does this by conserving the world‚Äôs biological diversity, ensuring that the use of renewable resources is sustainable, and promoting the reduction of pollution and wasteful consumption. The organisaton is perhaps best known for its programmes to protect endangered species and their habitats, and much of their work is in areas where the most critically endangered wildlife and the least protected habitats are found. By adopting an animal you can help to safeguard the future of their species, and help WWF to seek long-term sustainable solutions for the benefit of people and nature. The person on whose behalf you adopt the animal will receive a certificate, a print of your animal, an information sheet and for all the adoptions except a panda receive quarterly updates throughout the year. (If you decide to adopt a panda you will only receive two updates a year. This is because apparently pandas are extremely elusive creatures and it is harder to report back on them!)
Select the newsletter(s) to which you want to subscribe or unsubscribe.