Eco-friendly and charity Christmas presents

Christmas is all about giving but sometimes it can prove difficult to know what to buy. Why risk buying something that could be unwanted, when you could give a gift that will make a real difference?

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Eco-friendly gifts and charity Christmas presents are available in abundance - here are some of the gifts you can give that will bring a little cheer to those who need it most.

First stop, Oxfam - for the gift that really does keep on giving, try Oxfam Unwrapped. Here you can buy livestock to provide for families abroad: just £11 buys a chicken, it's £25 for a goat or you can buy a cow for £80. All the animals are locally sourced and vaccinated before they arrive at their new homes and each is a family's stepping stone to becoming self-sufficient.

Alternatively, you can put a roof over the head of someone who has lost their home to a natural disaster (£32), help to train a teacher or health worker, educate a child, buy farming tools or essential medicines for those living in some of the world's poorest countries.

And for the British recipient of this wonderful gift, you can even include a box of Fairtrade chocolates to go with the printed card explaining exactly where the money has gone.

If your friend or relative is an animal lover, the World Wildlife Fund's Adopt an Animal scheme is the perfect present - just £3 a month can help to protect an endangered species such as the polar bear, tiger and orangutan, and adopters receive a cuddly toy of the chosen animal, regular updates about the species and plenty more information on wildlife facing extinction.

A new addition to the world of charity gifts is Centrepoint - the charity has launched a range of gifts to make life just a little bit easier for young homeless people. Just £7 provides a hot meal, £25 buys baby clothes for a young mum in need and £31 will pay for a bed for the night. The recipient will receive card or e-card with your own message and could help a homeless youngster to begin rebuilding their life.

At Unicef, an Inspired Gift starts at just £3.95 but with £10.50 providing 500 bowls of porridge, £19 vaccinating 50 people against measles and just £23 safely delivering a baby in one of the world's poorest communities, you might just be inspired to buy something for all your friends and family.

For those concerned about the more immediate environment, why not try the Carbon Zero Store - just £25 can pay for a native tree to be planted in the woodland of your choice. There are a range of trees and locations available and the recipient not only gets the satisfaction of helping the environment but a certificate detailing the tree.

So if you are interested in making a real difference this Christmas, why not treat your loved one and a family in need - visit for many more.