News & Inspiration

Alternative Gift Ideas

BY: Joan Kilian

November 18, 2019

    This year, as you choose gifts for Christmas, birthdays, or anniversaries, consider gifts that give to the world. Honor or remember people with gifts that empower women and children, build positive relationships between diverse peoples, care for creation, provide healthcare and wellness, and so much more. As always, do your own investigations into the worthiness of organizations. A good place to start is or, though not all agencies will be listed with them.

    Christ Episcopal Church –  – Christ Church Foundation (our Endowment Fund), clergy discretionary funds, or just a gift to the general operating fund.

    The Good News Shop at Christ Episcopal Church –  – All proceeds benefit the Episcopal Church Women (ECW) Mission Fund: Food, candles, accessories, baby items, books, kitchen accessories, and much more.

    Episcopal Relief and Development – – Gifts for Life Catalogue, 1-855-312-4325: Gifts supporting and empowering women, children and the climate, including seeds and tools, livestock, clean water, fruit trees, bicycles, mosquito nets, vitamins and preventative medicine, micro credits for women, and more.

    Episcopal Church United Thank Offering (UTO) – -  Fostering gratitude and providing grants for projects throughout the national Church.

    The National Cathedral –  – Our nation’s spiritual home, gifts can support programs, advocacy, or maintenance; or you can shop in their gift shop.

    American Friends of the Episcopal Diocese of Jerusalem –  – An organization to transform lives of the vulnerable and displaced in the Middle East by supporting schools, hospitals, and centers for children with disabilities.

    Thistle Farms –  – books, soaps, candles, lotions and personal products, as well as hand-crafted items made by women from all over the world to help heal incarcerated, trafficked, and addicted women, and to give them a second chance at life.

    Shima of Navajoland -  – Soaps, personal products and jewelry from Navajoland (UTO grant recipient), with proceeds benefitting indigenous clergy and job training and employment for the Navajo people.

    Five Talents – – Born out of the Anglican Communion as a way for churches to respond wisely to the realities of global poverty. It provides micro-loans and financial literacy and business acumen to help develop communities worldwide.

    Habitat for Humanity of Charlotte –  – Building strength, stability and self-reliance through shelter.

    Serrv –  and Ten Thousand Villages –  – Both offer jewelry, fashion, food, garden items, and more handcrafted items from the US and around the world through Fair Trade practices.

    Bread for the World –  – ‘Have faith, end hunger’ – Christmas cards are available.

    Heifer International –  – Similar to Episcopal Relief, with livestock, clean water, trees, more efficient and less polluting stoves, women’s empowerment opportunities.

    Kiva - and Oiko Credit - - are similar to Five Talent but not church-related, and provide micro-financing for entrepreneurs and cottage industries around the world.

    GreaterGood – – Protects people, pets and the planet.

    88 Bikes –  – Providing bikes for young girls, many of whom have been exploited in slave trade, in countries from Eastern Europe to Southeast Asia, helping them to become self-sufficient and on par with males.

    Or give to any cause or organization you support (e.g., our local outreach partners, Teach for America, Peace Corps, etc.) in someone’s honor and let them know. Or, help the local economy with a gift card to a local restaurant, for something fun (movies, bowling, etc.), or for relaxation (a membership to our state parks, massage, manicure, etc.). Most of us have far more ‘stuff’ than we need. Let’s begin to change our way of gift-giving, and help our community and the world in the process.