Gifts that keep giving
- December 18, 2008 8:53 AM |
- By Andree Lau
by Andree Lau, CBCnews.ca
I'd love to say I bake homemade cookies or lovingly jar jams and jellies over the holidays for my friends and family.
I’m a procrastinator when it comes to presents. The clock is ticking down to Christmas, not to mention various friends’ birthdays, so what to do? Bless e-commerce, is all I have to say.
For gifts of the kitchen — and economical — kind, I turn to Lee Valley Tools, established in 1978 in Ottawa with three employees, and now with stores across the country and a lovely website to boot.
A spurtle is a traditional Scottish stir stick. (Lee Valley Tools)
On top of their woodworking and hardware products, the company has some great ideas for the chef in your life.
You know, those sleek, long microplane zesters TV chefs like to use? The original design came from a rasp tool used to shape wood. Lee Valley sells the graters for $14.50; I’ve seen them in gourmet stores for $22 and up!
The porridge lover may give you eternal thanks for a spurtle that keeps lumps to a minimum.
And a microtorch just might be the gift that keeps on giving: provide a flame that burns at 1300°C; get invited for crème brulee!
If you’re looking for a present that makes more of a difference, check out Kiva, a micro-lending website. It makes small loans to people in developing countries who don’t qualify for traditional bank credit.
You can buy gift certificates in $25 increments on Kiva’s site and allow your recipient to choose who to loan the money to. When the money is paid back, you can withdraw it or lend it to someone else.
Among the entrepreneurs are many restaurateurs and grocery store owners.
Last year, I lent $25 to a farmer in Cambodia to purchase more farmland for rice and vegetables, and $25 to a butcher in Azerbaijan who bought two calves.
They haven’t missed a monthly payment and in a year have repaid 61 per cent and 90 per cent respectively.
Now that’s a gift that truly keeps on giving.
Share your unique holiday gift ideas. What are your favourite presents to give or receive?
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