What is an alternative gift?
OK - It's time to start your holiday shopping list. Does your uncle really need another tie? Why not give him a gift that aligns with his passion for the environment? Your best friend was a teacher all her life. What if you could find a gift that supports literacy for children in underserved neighborhoods? All the children in your family have grown up and, like many, your relatives are concerned about all the people affected by recent disasters. You want to give them gifts that will warm their hearts, and you wonder if there might be an alternative to buying them something from the store you're not sure they even need.
Have no fear. Buying alternative gifts is an inspiring, meaningful and easy way to do your holiday shopping. An alternative gift supports a direct need for a person or community in need, such as asthma medication for someone who cannot afford it, books for a child in transitional housing, or work clothes for a newly employed person. You can find alternative gifts at an alternative gift fair.
What is an alternative gift fair?
Alternative Gift Fairs provide critical support for local, national and international organizations with established track records of helping people and the environment. They're also a fun and inspirational way to bypass the stress of holiday shopping.
At an alternative gift fair or market, shoppers have an opportunity to support charities working to address the world's social and environmental needs. Working from shopping lists, shoppers make donations to charities, supporting a specific service or item to help communities and environments in need. (Click here for examples of recent alternative gifts purchased at DC fairs.) Shoppers make these donations in honor of family members and friends in lieu of consumer gifts during the holidays, birthdays, weddings, bar and bat mitzvahs and other events.
Will all of my donation go to the charities?
Yes. AGGW is an all-volunteer organization. 100 percent of your donation will go to the charities you choose to support.
Where can I find a fair or market near me?
There's probably a gift fair or market right around the corner from where you live. AGGW maintains a list of alternative gift fairs and markets in the D.C. area. Alternative Gifts International also lists alternative gifts opportunities around the country.
How can I start a gift fair?
You can start a gift fair just about anywhere. In the DC area, there have been gift fairs in church gyms, in community centers, in offices downtown, at happy hours, and in classrooms. If you live outside the area, go to Alternative Gifts International to learn more about gifts around the country.