>

I was on Breakfast Television here in Calgary this morning, we talked about original christmas ideas that benefit more than just the recipient.
If you are still looking for ideas, why not try donating to a charity as their gift!
Here are some ideas:

LOCAL

The Calgary Zoo is always looking for charitable donations, but you can do something a little different. Kamala is an elephant at the zoo and she is actually quite the artist. Since 1994, she has been painting the elephant equivalent of finger painting. All proceeds from the sales of Kamala’s artwork go directly towards the elephant program at the Calgary Zoo.
How to give: You can buy prints and posters or the original pieces ranging from $25 to $1750.
My favourite charity in Calgary! Anyone can donate any ticket to any event and this foundation will then give them a child that would normally not be able to experience the theatre, a hockey game or a concert. Truly a once-in-a-lifetime experience.
How to give: If you have tickets to an event, imagine how great it will feel to let a child go in your place. Whether it is a Flames game or A Christmas Carol. You can donate tickets in someone’s name.
NATIONAL
A not-for-profit charity portal that serves as an information resource about charities in Canada and seeks to promote and facilitate philanthropy through online giving. This website works with over 83,000 Canadian charities. You can give when you want, in the amount you wish, to the charities you choose, and in the manner that suits you best.
How to give: You can make a donation, or buy a gift card.
INTERNATIONAL
Oxfam Canada works in 20 developing countries around the world, and this catalogue contains real items that are part of our work. When you give a gift through Oxfam Unwrapped your donation will be used to help women and men living in poverty gain greater levels of self-sufficiency and control over their lives and over the future of their communities.
UEnd (formerly ChristmasFuture) was launched to help inspire and empower North Americans to refocus a portion of their gift giving budget towards strategic and sustainable projects in the developing world – to help end extreme poverty.
This one is near and dear to my heart. It’s run by an amazing family in New Brunswick. Basically they are raising money for the Providence Orphanage in Benin, West Africa. The orphanage is run by six volunteers who have not been accepting pay since 1993!!! At this time, the orphanage houses more than 56 children who have been abandoned or orphaned.
How: You can donate money and even write letters to the children of the orphanage.
Skateistan is Afghanistan’s (and the world’s) first co-educational skateboarding school. The school engages growing numbers of urban and internally-displaced youth in Afghanistan through skateboarding, and provides them with new opportunities in cross-cultural interaction, education, and personal empowerment programs
How to help: Donate money or buy a t-shirt ($35)
Charity Water Things like freshwater wells, rainwater catchments and sand filters. For about $20 a person, we know how to help millions of people. How to Help: You can buy merchandise like bracelets ($24), personalized gift cards ($40) gift package that includes a t-shirt, 5 bracelets, a dvd and a thermos hydration bottle $80)
This holiday season give the gift of light to a family in the developing world that does not have access to electricity. Over 1.6 billion people in the world rely on kerosene and other non-electric light sources that are expensive, inefficient and unsafe.
Light Up The World (LUTW) provides solar powered light systems that are a safe, affordable, healthy, efficient and environmentally-friendly solution.
KIVA – Give Loans that Change Lives Kiva is the world’s first person-to-person, global micro-lending website. Give a Kiva gift certificate and your friends and family will be able to lend the funds from the certificate to the entrepreneurs of their choice.

Mike Morrison