JOHANNESBURG – If you want to avoid the shopping malls this December and give a loved one something different but still meaningful why not opt for a social gift?

Social gifting is a rising trend in e-commerce and is a great option when you are stuck for ideas of what to buy for someone who already has everything.

Here are some ideas:

1. A climate-conscious gift

If you’ve taken several flights in 2016 chances are your carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions will be quite high. There are various online calculators, like the one at Conservation International, that helps you calculate your C02 emissions.

To offset it why not buy a tree as a gift for someone. If you have space in the garden, do some research on indigenous trees that grow well in your climate. Otherwise buy a tree online that will go towards big reforestation projects.

In South Africa there are three options to support, GreenpopFood and Trees for Africa or Greenworks.

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Sponsor a tree and get a treat! Today's treat is an entry to win a gift basket from Indigenous, valued at R400! 

2. A gift that encourages job creation

Have you heard about the Giant Flag project? It’s a legacy project with the goal of planting a massive South African flag out of succulent plants and solar panels that can be seen from space. The flag will be planted in the Cambedoo region of the Karoo.

The initiative by advertising agency FCB South Africa has the goal to generate power for more than 4,000 homes and create green jobs.

But such an ambitious project comes at a hefty price. The first threshold goal is R25-million and, according to the Giant Flag website, the project has raised 25 percent of its that.What’s fun about shopping for this gift is that you can choose a succulent for a specific part of the flag or you can choose to sponsor a solar panel.

@GiantFlag project to employ 700 indigenous people of , 60% of whom will be women 

Photo published for A flag so big it will be seen from space | ShareAmerica

Imagine a giant version of the South African flag — 66 football fields long and big enough to be seen from space — made of 2.5 million desert plants.

3. A gift that supports marine life

This gift is awesome if you live in Cape Town. Buy a gift membership for the Two Oceans Aquarium which will give your loved one discounts on venue hire, adventure diving and access to members-only events. If you don't live in Cape Town but still want to purchase a gift that supports marine life you can donate to the aquarium's conservation projects or sponsor a child's visit to the aquarium.

The aquarium is involved in conserving sharks, seals, sunfish and turtles. Did you know that the aquarium releases its ragged-tooth sharks back in the wild every two years?

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Experiences last a lifetime! Here are 4 ways you can extend the Aquarium experience for your loved ones 
 4. Skills-development gifts has a catalogue of Give Hope cards  to choose from.

Each card supports a different development skill, such as child literacy, business training, early childhood development, computer skills.

Buy purchasing the NETwork Give Hope Card you'll be blessing someone by putting them through a computer course: 

5. Bracelets for a cause

The Relate Bracelets are colourful and fun and support specific causes. You could opt to buy a box of 10 and split the bracelets up as stocking fillers.

The causes they support range from endangered wildlife to orphans or breast cancer.

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This article was first published by eNCA on 07 December 2016.