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Gifts That Give Twice

by Katie Manter

The National Retail Federation announced that it expects holiday retail sales in November and December – excluding automobiles, gasoline and restaurants – to increase between 4.3 and 4.8 percent for a total of $717.45 billion to $720.89 billion, up from $687.87 billion last year. 

Between now and Christmas Day, Americans will spend an incredible amount of money on gifts for loved ones. While each year we remind ourselves and each other of the true meaning of the season, it’s easy to slip into shopping mode as the pace picks up and the big day looms.

Consider supporting Maine’s incredible nonprofits by purchasing gifts that will delight your family and friends AND help your favorite nonprofit thrive.

Memberships: There are an awful lot of choices and here are just a few suggestions…Maine Island Trail Association, one of Maine’s many land trusts, and your local YMCA offer great member benefits that will keep giving year round.

Puppies! Kittens!: Cute baby animals (and the cute old ones, too) are always a hit. And by supporting these organizations, it comes without the hassle of emptying litter boxes or dealing with chewed shoes. Check out Greater Androscoggin Humane Society,  SPCA of Hancock County, and The Kennebec Valley Humane Society to give a gift that the animal lover in your life will appreciate. (Warning: If you go to the animal adoption pages, we cannot be held responsible for your actions!)

The Great Outdoors: Conservation of our natural resources is something that all Mainers value and there are so many great organizations protecting and enhancing our environment. There’s the Maine Audubon, 7 Lakes AllianceFriends of Katahdin Woods & Waters, and Viles Arboretum– that’s just a few!

Food and Agriculture: As we plan our holiday gatherings, we can remember that some of our fellow Mainers are hungry. These organizations help all Mainers have access to the nutrition they need. Augusta Food BankMid Coast Hunger Prevention Program, and  Dover Foxcroft Area Food Cupboard are some of the groups in Maine working to end food insecurity.

Something that can go in a box or a bag: Many nonprofits, like your local museum, historical society, or nature center, have a gift store right on site. Check out the Center for Maine Craft, a retail shop run by the nonprofit Maine Craft Association that sells crafts made by Maine-based artists. You can find a unique present, avoid the mall mayhem, AND support a nonprofit all at the same time.

Wish lists: If you don’t see anything above that seems exactly right, search our member directory and you’re sure to find just the right fit. You can search by geographic region or by mission (or both!). Most organizations will have an easy way to donate or even a wish list of needed supplies.

So, make your list, check it twice, and don’t forget about all of the extraordinary organizations that make Maine such a unique place. Your gift might not fit in a tidy box or bag, but it will continue giving throughout the year.


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