With Thanksgiving over thoughts will be turning to what to get for that family member who you always have problems finding just the right Christmas present for. Why not avoid the “Black Friday” crowds? As a suggestion, this year why not buy a Kalashnikov rifle for under $50 or better still a rocket launcher, armoured vehicle or a small tank. Don’t worry, you will not come under surveillance from the FBI or even have to wait for any mandatory period. This is a British web site but will sell overseas. Instead of sending the arms to you, they are giving them to local blacksmiths and metal workers in Sierra Leone to turn into useful items like hoes, sickles and pickaxes. Buying a tank for £1000 (roughly $1750) employs 5 blacksmiths for a year to make 3000 useful items for a farming village of 100 families. Surely the ultimate gift for a Christian, being responsible for almost literally turning swords into plowshears at a time devoted to peace on Earth and Goodwill to all men.

If your relative is always a  “busy bee” – how about giving a hive on their behalf to a family in Ghana or India to provide them with a cash income? If  he is a bit of an old goat, get him a young one to give to a scheme to provide a village with a “goat bank” to set up sustainable flocks? If they are a smoker you can “give” them camels with a clear conscience.

Most of the gifts are to help out in the third world although some help the young, poor or homeless in Britain. While it is UK based at the Henry Doubleday Research Association, you could even “adopt a salad” for that special vegetarian in your life. The HDRA preserve historic lines of plants that are no longer commercially grown. By conserving them, biodiversity is retained so new lines could be bred if diseases emerge among commercial crops. Handily a lot of these old plants have quaint names and you could find one to fit your friend.

I presume that similar sites exist in the US (suggestions??) so you may well find a scheme nearer home. Either way, you may well find something for what you planned to pay for a “stocking filler”. You will not get that goat or tank under the tree in your home, but you will know it is under a tree in a place where it will be really useful and truly appreciated. (By the way, I am not connected at all with  the site or the organisations it helps sponsors)

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