Across the street from my apartment building, the department stores are decked for Christmas. Trains filled with toys circle Santa, candy canes and Christmas trees and elves sparkle in the background. Wreaths trimmed with red bows adorn smaller windows on the upper floors. Holiday cheer resounds from every corner; the scent of pine fills the air. It’s Christmastime!
Except that it’s not. Today’s date, November 12, is technically not yet mid-November. Thanksgiving is still more than a week away. Every year retailers begin the seasonal push earlier and earlier.
Buried under a mountain of voracious consumerism, the spirit of Christmas is now just a bunch of sales in overcrowded, garish stores, a slew of magazine articles entitled “50 Gifts for $50 or Less!” and “10 Tips for Losing 10 Pounds Before Christmas!” and “What to Buy That Hard-To-Buy-For Girl/Guy/Friend/Husband/Child/Boss.”
None of the suggestions, however, will include a gift that has true meaning. Trinkets, toys, clothes, bottles of wine, and boxes of candy will be long forgotten before next Christmas. If you want to give a gift with legs, one that will be long remembered, you’ll need to tax your imagination, not your wallet.
Consider sponsoring an animal at an animal sanctuary. When you sponsor say, Nugget, a 1,500-pound pig and resident of the Indraloka Animal Sanctuary, you are helping save the life of an intelligent, sensitive, funny, expensive creature who was rescued from the horrors of factory farming. If you’ve never seen a 1,500-pound pig chow down on his favorite evening snack (carrots, apples, mangos, bananas, lettuce, radishes, spinach, grapes, strawberries, tomatoes, and string beans) you probably have no idea what unbridled, over-the-top joy looks like, closeup (and very messy).
Sponsoring an animal as a gift for children teaches good stewardship, compassion, awareness, and love. It sends a wonderful message: life is the greatest gift of all.
For adults who neither need nor want another sweater, bottle of Channel No. 5, electric razor, iPhone, iPad, or whatever, the gift of animal sponsorship shows the recipient that you care enough to do something that will make a difference.
Animals you can sponsor at Indraloka include: horses, cows, mules, tiny pigs, small pigs, medium-sized pigs, huge pigs, hens, roosters, geese, ducks, dogs, cats, sheep, goats, and a peacock.
A gift of sponsorship includes a beautiful photo of your chosen animal, your animal’s personal story, regular updates and photos of your animal, and visits to the sanctuary so you can spend time with the soul whose life you will be helping to sustain.
Located in rural northeast Pennsylvania, a beautiful, but economically depressed region, Indraloka does not yet enjoy the glamourous attention that sanctuaries in New York and California attract. Unlike its better known peers, Indraloka offers permanent sanctuary to all of its residents. Only kittens are occasionally adopted out to well-screened, loving homes.
Founded by Indra Lahiri, Ph.D., in 2005, Indraloka is perhaps the most progressive organization in the entire area. Buildings, designed and erected by students of Marywood University’s School of Architecture, employ sustainable practices and materials. Nothing at Indraloka goes to waste. Inedible foods are composted. Rain water is used to irrigate gardens. Once major donations are received, the sanctuary plans to implement solar energy.
For more information, visit Indraloka online.