News & Inspiration

Alternative Gift Ideas

BY: Joan Kilian

December 08, 2021

    Do a World of Good with Alternative Gifts

    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 provide healthcare and wellness, empower women and children, build positive relationships between diverse peoples, care for creation 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 GoodNews Shop at Christ Episcopal Church – - All proceeds benefit the Episcopal Church Women (ECW) Mission Fund – holiday items, 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. You can also shop for gifts designated for the 1000 Days of Love Campaign.

    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, where gifts can support programs, advocacy, or maintenance; or you can shop in their gift shop.

    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.

    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.

    Shima of Navajoland - – Soaps, personal products and jewelry from Navajoland (UTO grant recipient), with proceeds benefitting indigenous Episcopal 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 the Charlotte Region – – Building strength, stability and self-reliance through shelter. Here’s a link to a catalogue just for Christ Church:

    Crisis Assistance Ministry – – donate in someone’s honor or memory to help our neighbors who are experiencing eviction, homelessness or food insecurity.

    Charlotte Family Housing – – donate in someone’s honor or memory to help lift a neighbor family out of poverty and into self-reliance

    Dahlia Grove - shop for bracelets, candles, face masks, holiday food items, drink coozies, heating pads, beach chair covers and more and help empower, inspire, encourage and employ women rescued from human trafficking, domestic violence and sexual exploitation as they change their life, regain their independence and enjoy their freedom.

    Fashion and Compassion – – 1717 Cleveland Ave., Charlotte - ethically sourced, handcrafted jewelry, home décor and gift ideas made by women here in Charlotte and around the globe. F & C empowers formerly vulnerable women (immigrants and refugees, homeless, incarcerated, trafficked, etc.) to live abundant and purposeful lives.

    Share Charlotte – – Shop for Good where you can discover 317 Charlotte non-profits (many of our community partners!) who have wishlists for the people they serve or have products available for purchase.

    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.

    Other Ideas:

    • 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.
    • Help the local economy with a gift card to a local restaurant, to something fun (think museums!), 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.