If you’re looking for unusual gifts that also spread holiday cheer to the less fortunate, buy a goat or a sheep.
A $120 donation to Heifer International in Little Rock, Arkansas, will bring a farm animal to an impoverished family in Nepal. They can benefit from the wool or by selling the animal to pay for necessities.
The donation can be made in the name of a friend or family member as your holiday gift, and the recipient gets a card notifying them of the animal and destination. Heifer also helps fund projects in the U.S.
Here are some other gifts that help those in need:
Through online auctioneer Charitybuzz.com, you can bid for the sweaty shirt Bruce Springsteen wore during last week’s “12-12-12: the Concert for Sandy Relief.” Or you could take home a Fender bass signed by Springsteen, Paul McCartney, Jon Bon Jovi, Eric Clapton and other headliners. Another choice is the drumsticks Dave Grohl used that night.
The auction closes Dec. 20. Proceeds go to the Robin Hood Foundation’s Hurricane Sandy Relief Fund.
A gift to the New York-based charity: water funds the construction of wells and brings safe drinking water to developing countries. You can dedicate your gift to a friend, and the nonprofit will mail the recipient a card that includes a wristband.
A Harry Winston bracelet can set you back $100,000. The luxury jeweler’s Hope Collection Bracelet costs only $2,500 and makes for an especially nice gift. All proceeds will be distributed to seven nonprofits, including A Better Chicago and The Society of Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center.
Started in 1986, Farm Sanctuary fights to end animal abuse at factory and industrial farms. It also rescues animals and provides a haven at three shelters in New York and California.
A donation of $25 or more can be made as a holiday gift for a friend or family member. Farm animals are also available for adoption.
A gift to Kiva.org, a San Francisco-based microfinance nonprofit, funds loans to individuals whose low income makes them ineligible for conventional bank loans. Kiva gift cards can be given to friends or kin.
The recipient gets to choose the borrower and follow the use of the funds through e-mails or the website. Loan repayments go into the lender’s Kiva account and can be reloaned.
Oxfam America, the U.S. unit of the international poverty-fighting organization, has a broad range of gifts that can be made via donations, from farming to education and water resources. For $25, you can start a farmer’s market in Latin America or Africa or buy books for kids.
A $30 donation will plant a vegetable garden. A donkey cart costs only $100, midwife training only $150. A pile of manure costs a mere $12 and could send to that special someone a special message.
Muse highlights include Ryan Sutton on dining, Mark Beech on music.
Editors: Jeffrey Burke, Lili Rosboch.