Nervously, I stand outside of the mall. I know what’s coming. Endless hours of wandering around like a lost sheep in search of the mystical “perfect present.”
I used to enjoy being a part of the bustling crowds. Everyone seemed to be inexplicably happy and friendly. Sadly, those days are long gone. The fights begin as soon as you hit the parking lot looking for that coveted space. And the mall has become an arena of WWF proportions.
This is when I began to realize that the gifts that I had been so lovingly purchasing were pretty much…the same. Every year, I get my dad a tie. Mom almost always gets an ornament or mug of some kind.
Last year, I officially broke the mold. I decided to start thinking outside of the pre-wrapped box and focus on something that my whole family loves: animals! My gifts were a hit and a portion of the profits from each gift went to helping animals in need.
Here are some gift ideas for the animal lovers in your life:
1.Cuddle Clones – This unique website offers custom designed plush versions of your family pet. Simply go to their website,www.cuddleclones.com to upload a few photos of your fur baby. Then, let the customization begin! You can even select which pose your plush will be created in (sitting, lying down, etc.). Do you have a special needs pet? No problem! They have created plush of pets with one eye, no tail and even a tripod dog! You can view their work along with customer reviews in the Testimonials section of their website. Not into stuffed animals? Cuddle Clones also offers custom made figurines, gift cards, collars, clothing and granite memorials for those who have recently lost a pet. There is definitely something for everyone.
2.Sponsor a Barn Buddy – Long Meadow Rescue Ranch sprawls across 165-acres of woodland near Union, Missouri. Owned by the Missouri Humane Society, the ranch is “haven for hundreds of abused and neglected horses, cows, goats, pigs, ducks and other farm animals. The ranch is one of the most comprehensive horse and farm animal care and rehabilitation centers in the country. In addition to animal care, ranch staff provide hands-on humane education experiences for both children and adults” according to their website: http://www.longmeadowrescueranch.org. Every year, the ranch offers the Barn Buddy Sponsor program. You can select which animal that you would like to sponsor and at which level. At the $50 level, you will receive a mini-plush of your chosen sponsor animal, a color photo, biography sheet and a magnet. Additionally, you will be able to visit your sponsored pet at the ranch whenever you wish! I purchased the gift sponsor option for my mother. She loves llamas and was thrilled to receive her Miss Molly the llama plush and packet. Did I mention that your sponsorship is also tax deductible? This gift is a win-win for the gifter and the giftee.
3.Rescue Me Magazine Subscription – I recently discovered this magazine while on a Wal*Mart run. This is one impulse buy that I did not regret. Inside, I found a wealth of information about different rescue organizations all across the country. There were also tons of inspirational stories with highlights on senior and special needs pets. What I really love about this magazine is that they feature all types of animals and pets. I was even introduced to a rescue group that specialize in reptile rescue! Even the advertisements are tailored to animal lovers. No car ads here! I discovered tons of great products for my pets to try. The best part? When you subscribe, Rescue Me will donate a portion of your subscription fee to the rescue group of your choice. Check them out online at: http://www.rescuemecentral.com.
4.Pet Trading Cards –Toki Poki is a website that is dedicated to connecting fellow pet lovers in a very unique way. Creating an account is free and easy. Once you join, you will create a pet profile for each of your fur babies. Upload your favorite pet photos and then…turn them into trading cards! There are tons of cool themes to choose from including super heroes, holiday and more. When you order a pack (roughly 50 cards), you will also receive a complimentary pack that includes all of the pets in that theme pack. Toki Poki also prides itself on donating to multiple charities. My husband and I created a Halloween trading card of our tripod dog, Penny. For each Halloween pack ordered by October 31st, Toki Poki donated 2,100 Halloween packs to children’s hospitals throughout the nation! Not only did Penny’s card make us smile, but knowing that we brightened up the lives of sick children made us even happier. Head on over towww.tokipoki.com to learn more.
5.Greater Good Store – This is truly a one stop shop. My only complaint….I spend too much money! From animal themed clothes to one-of-a-kind jewelry, you will find exactly what you are looking for. With every purchase, you will also receive a card that tells you exactly how your money has helped animals in need. I was delighted to see that my order helped provide 20 bowls of food for shelter animals. If you subscribe to their e-mail list, you will receive a coupon code that can be redeemed in the store. To start shopping, head over to: https://theanimalrescuesite.greatergood.com.
So, put down that package of socks and leave the gift cards at the kiosk. This year, give a gift that will not only delight your loved one, but will also make a difference in the life of an animal in need. Happy shopping!