MetroYouthNetwork’s Alternative Christmas Gift Guide

Every year we arrive to the days that wait just after Halloween and realize that Christmas is suddenly upon us all. Everywhere we go, we start to see more and more Christmas decorations, and the reality that December 25th is only two months away slowly starts to sink in. And, if your like most people, gifts start to become a priority. Unfortunately, we tend to buy a lot of things people don’t need (or even look at more than once), and it just adds to their clutter and unnecessary consumerism. With that in mind, we’ve put together an Alternative Gift Guide, the purpose behind it being to expose you to gifts that help benefit a certain cause. Whether it’s through The Salvation Army, World Vision, TOMS Shoes, or Charity: Water, every gift you see below will directly benefit someone in need in some way. Check it out:

WARdrobe Shirts

Using clothing as a canvas to impact the world; WARdrobe supports The Salvation Army’s global fight for social justice through art and apparel.

WARdrobe has enlisted some of the hottest graphic artists from around the world and the roster continues to grow. These artists donate their time and talents to art projects that raise funds and awareness for different Salvation Army supported causes.

The Salvation Army is currently at work in over 120 countries. Whether caring for HIV/AIDS orphaned children in Tanzania or housing victims of human trafficking in Indonesia – The Salvation Army is committed to using creative solutions to meet human needs and positively transform lives without discrimination.

Each shirt goes to benefit a specific ministry of The Salvation Army. Whether it’s fighting against human trafficking, feeding the hungry in the states or abroad, or helping the Army’s child sponsorship program, 100% of your purchase will go to a specific program. Here’a few design samples:

To check out their full collection, and to buy shirts, head over to their website, www.tsa-wardrobe.com.

Love In Action

Love In Action is a Salvation Army initiative out of the USA Central Territory’s Missions Bureau. You pay a donation and send a practical gift to someone overseas. Gifts range from chickens, to senior care, to school uniforms, to mosquito nets. Love In Action was created and inspired from the Scripture verses from the book of 1 John chapter 3. Verses 16-18 say, “This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters. If anyone has material possessions and sees a brother or sister in need but has no pity on them, how can the love of God be in that person? Dear children, let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth.” Here’s a cool, in-depth catalog:

For more info on Love In Action, head to their website here. You can order things online here, or you can find their mailing address on their website to do it the old fashioned way. One more thing, if you want to give a gift in someone’s honor (i.e. to a child in Africa from your Dad), you can do that. They’ll even hook you up with a certificate to give to your Dad.

World Vision’s Gift Catalog

For those of you who aren’t familiar with World Vision, World Vision is a Christian humanitarian organization dedicated to working with children, families, and their communities worldwide to reach their full potential by tackling the causes of poverty and injustice. They serve close to 100 million people in nearly 100 countries around the world. World Vision serves all people, regardless of religion, race, ethnicity, or gender. For more info on their info, check out their mission here.

World Vision’s Gift Catalog has so many options to choose from: education, widows and orphans, emergency aid, medical care, funding microloans, and even farm animals. Like Love In Action, World Vision can also print out Christmas Cards that you can give to the people on whose behalf you gave. Check out the below video to see how their gifts change the lives of those who receive them:

To check out World Vision’s extensive gift catalog, head over to their catalog website here.

Charity: Water

In short, Charity: Water is a non-profit organization bringing clean and safe drinking water to people in developing nations. If you don’t know much about Charity: Water’s vision, or why they’ve chose mission they have, you should. One way of doing that is checking out this video:

While they don’t have a specific Christmas Gift Catalog like Love In Action or World Vision, they do have a cool store with many different types of gifts: photo books, diamond bracelets, iPod and laptop cases, water bottles, tees and hoodies. Proceeds help support Charity: Water’s operating costs and fund sustainable clean water solutions in developing countries. Take a look at some of their sweet nifty gifties:

To buy some of these sweet items, check out Charity: Water’s store here.

TOMS Shoes

Many of us know TOMS Shoes because of their, well, shoes. For a long time, they’ve lived by the mission “One for one,” saying that “with every pair [of shoes] you purchase, TOMS will give a pair of new shoes to a child in need.” And that’s still true. Like Charity: Water, you won’t find a specific Christmas Gift Catalog, but you can buy some shoes for someone for Christmas, and give shoes to a child in need at the same time. To check out their online shoe catalog, click here.

HOWEVER, TOMS is now taking that same mission statement and applying it to glasses. Yes, “with every pair [of glasses] you purchase, TOMS will help give sight to a person in need.” BALLIN! According to their website, “most cases [of visual impairment] can be prevented or treated. In fact, available solutions, including medical treatment, prescription eyeglasses or a 15-minute cataract surgery, could impact 80% of people afflicted with vision impairment and blindness.” For more specifics on their eyewear mission (i.e. why eyes, how it works), click here, or watch this video:

To purchase some TOMS Eyewear, click here: