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Symbolic gifts + goodies: Six perfect pairs

December 4, 2012

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It’s a common conundrum. You love the goodwill you feel when you give symbolic gifts to your loved ones and help a family in need in the process. But you can’t exactly tie a bow around your good deed and place it under the tree. And some of us take gift-wrapping very seriously.

Good news — you can have it both ways. We’ve paired some of our most popular Mercy Corps Gifts with goodies that represent the life-changing work your generous donation makes possible. You’ll still get the thrill of presenting a pretty (the prettiest!) package, and most importantly, know that your gift has made a difference in some of the world’s toughest places.

COMMUNITY GARDEN + TERRARIUM
Mercy Corps Gift price: $40
Goodies: $10

I might be a terrarium-aholic. When I spot a container of any sort I imagine how it would look filled with moss and succulents. The weirder the container, the better. ’70s ashtray? Sure! Rollerskate? Why not! If it holds dirt, create a tiny ecosystem in it. In terrarium land, there are no rules.

In places where fresh produce is hard to find or afford, Mercy Corps provides families with seeds, tools and know-how to plant their own household gardens. The plants provide enough for plenty of healthy meals, as well as a little extra to sell at the market. A tiny personal “garden” is the perfect representation of this life-changing gift.

BICYCLE + TIRE LEVERS
Mercy Corps Gift price: $50
Goodies: $5

If you’re an avid cyclist, you can never have too many sets of tire levers. At least that’s true if you’re like me and habitually misplace them and prefer to carry a set on your person at all times. Luckily, they’re affordable — and make such a useful addition to our Bicycle gift.

Mercy Corps provides bicycles to young people in places where they are more than recreation — they’re a chance for a better future. On northeastern India's tea estates, a bicycle helps speed its rider — a student, an entrepreneur, an apprentice — closer to where they need to be.

EDUCATE A GIRL + HALF OF THE SKY BOOK
Mercy Corps Gift price: $100
Goodies: $10

We can’t think of a better pairing for our Educate a Girl gift than the book Half the Sky. Pulitzer Prize-winning authors Nicholas Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn show that the most effective way to fight global poverty is to unleash the potential of women and how even a little bit of help can transform lives around the world.

Mercy Corps works with communities to offer equal schooling to boys and girls. When girls are educated, family income rises and child malnutrition drops. Educating girls gives them, their families and their communities the opportunity to succeed.

EQUIP A BAKERY + MEASURING SPOONS
Mercy Corps Gift price: $65
Goodies: $5

Can baking with cute utensils create a superior treat? I am a believer. Plus, they take your Instagram photos to a whole new level. The bakers in my life have never been known to turn down a cooking tool with character, and I’m willing to bet you’ll see similar results.

Mercy Corps helps entrepreneurial bakers get the tools they need to start, run and expand their businesses so they can support their own families — and provide wholesome locally made bread to their neighbors.

HIVE OF BEES + HONEY
Mercy Corps Gift price: $65
Goodies: $5

What better way to symbolize our Hive of Bees gift than to present a real pot of the golden nectar? Everybody loves honey — and it’s a cottage industry that brings sweet satisfaction to the producer and consumer alike.

Mercy Corps trains women's groups — from Central America to Central Asia — how to supplement their livelihoods with honeybees, creating much-needed income. Here at home, we’re pretty sure a jar of the sweet stuff served up with one of those magical honey wands is a sticky smile waiting to happen.

SHEEP + WOOL SOCKS
Mercy Corps Gift price: $40
Goodies: $10

Socks get a bad rap during the gift-giving season, but let’s be real — they are the unsung heroes of your winter wardrobe. Just try and attain cold-weather comfort without a warm pair.

In many parts of the world, wool means more than protection from the elements — it’s a defense against hunger and poverty. Mercy Corps works with nomadic herders to protect their sheep and earn more from better quality wool. More wool, more socks — we all win.
MORE GIFT IDEAS: Five ways to get festive with Mercy Corps Gifts

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