Category Archives: Meaningful Holiday Gifts

Giving Gifts with Impact

What’s On Your Wish List?

Give a Gift With Impact

A text from my brother, got me thinking. The adults in my family exchange names for Christmas. He heard I had his name and wanted to confirm that with me.

I replied “yes” and asked if he had a wish list.

He responded, “I would like to donate to one of your causes.”

Now there’s a Gift with Impact.

Ripple Effect Journeys Visits Peruvian Hearts In March

This prompted me to go back to an email I received from Danny Dodson, executive director of Peruvian Hearts.  Ripple Effect Journeys’ participants will visit Peruvian Hearts in March.  We will spend several days with girls, learning how Peruvian Hearts impacts their lives and that of their families.

Hmmmm.   That got me thinking about my brother’s request.

The Cost of Empowering and Mentoring Girls

I had asked Danny to tell me about the costs of supporting a girl in the program. Here’s some of what he shared.


Give a Gift With Impact – Empower a Girl To Change Her World

So this year,  I’m not going to visit Amazon or head to the nearest sporting goods store to purchase my brother’s Christmas gift.   Instead, I’m going to present Peruvian Hearts a donation in his honor while traveling with Ripple Effect Journeys – Peru  in March.

Is there someone in your life who would appreciate a Gift with Impact? 

If so, I’d be happy to handle the delivery.  Send me a note ( and we can coordinate the details.

Happy Holidays!


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‘Tis the Season of Good Travels with Ripple Effect Journeys

Bea Evans, Ripple Effect Journeys founder, received her Good Travels Advisor certification on November 23, 2016. 

The Good Travels Advisors (GTA) program from Tourism Cares is a training program and learning community of travel agents committed to promoting good giving and good volunteering among travelers. Effective giving and travel fulfills the good intentions of travelers, boosts trip satisfaction and connections, and increases the benefit to local communities.

We invite you to join the Ripple Effect Journeys community.  Subscribe to our blog or join in on Facebook.  Travel with like-minded women.  Experience the wonder of new places.   “See” a destination beyond the sights.  Learn about issues impacting women and girls in countries you visit.  Explore the meaning of learning service.  Discover how you can make a difference by supporting someone’s journey.   It’s fun, it’s memorable, it’s “good travels”.

Good Travels Advisor
‘Tis the Season for Good Travels!

Inspiration and tips for an especially meaningful holiday.

As a certified Good Travels Advisor, I am delighted to share a particular magic of the season – the smiles, joy and caring that comes with giving to others.

The job of a Good Travels Advisor goes beyond superb travel advice and service – we are also guides to meaningful experiences and giving in the communities we hold dear, near and far.

Here are 6 special ways to celebrate the giving spirit this year!

1. Looking for beautiful gifts that also make a difference? Here’s a very special list of 7 items that also directly help a cause, whether its breast cancer, Cambodian girls, anti-trafficking, endangered species conservation, and more – choose one gift and cause, or all!

2. Discover the surprising way you can actually buy happiness, along with other TED Talk inspiration. Watch Michael Norton on How to Buy Happiness; spoiler alert — the key is not to buy for yourself but to give to others, with great stories and data to prove it! Also check out Bill and Melinda Gates and their reflections on wealth and giving, starting off with an anecdote about their very first trip to Africa.

3. Find your favorite quote on giving while sipping some egg nog, scotch or tea. Peruse this list of philanthropic quotes from the National Philanthropic Trust, which includes James Baldwin: “We are responsible for the world in which we find ourselves, if only because we are the only sentient force which can change it.”

4. Give yourself and give for others. Here’s a list of 12 surprising charitable giving options that will likely tickle anyone’s curiosity and inspire you to explore and act, in addition to what you may give to your favorite organizations and in your hometown community. There’s also a shorter list for engaging your kids!

5. Use the new year to revisit your giving overall, along with your resolutions. Your guides include “How to be smart about charitable giving over the holidays” and tips from Guidestar, the national nonprofit database.

6. Think about giving back to a destination you care about, or a place following a disaster. What are your favorite places far from home, domestic or overseas? Think about the special experiences you’ve had in the last year or two and where you think you can make a difference, even with a small charitable donation. Think back to the nonprofits, museums and community organizations you encountered – or look up the local “community foundation,” a hub for local giving. It’s a great way to connect as a family and get back in touch with places you love. Alternatively, think of a place that was hit by a disaster this year; look into the latest and make a gift to the first one that comes to mind.

Good Travels Advisors make a differenceGood Travels Advisor Partners

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7 Places to Shop For Meaningful Holiday Gifts

nEY0D2CMeaningful travel creates a desire to give meaningful holiday gifts.  It is an experience.  It is a connection between people and the things they are involved with—their families, their livelihood and their interests. It is an opportunity to learn and to share, moments that provide insight and foster understanding.  And, sometimes these experiences lead you to meaningful gift ideas.

As I’ve traveled, I’ve learned about so many interesting projects that have led me to wonderful gifts to share at the holidays. As this holiday season approaches, many of us are thinking about the gifts we wish to give. Just like I enjoy meaningful travel, I’m fond of sharing meaningful gifts.   When you give a gift from any one of these organizations you are giving a gift twice. What could be more meaningful than that?

Meaningful Holiday Gifts – Heifer International

meaningful holiday gifts

A couple of weeks ago, I asked my 4 year old grandson to help me chose gifts for him, and his sister and brother. I explained I loved giving gifts that helped people, and Heifer International allowed me to do just that.  Together we looked through The Most Important Catalog in the World” published by Heifer.  While he identified the different animals featured in the catalog, I was able to explain why people were so excited to receive the various animals.  As Christmas gifts are shared, we’ll talk again about the animals. Gifts with meaning.

Meaningful Holiday Gifts  – Ten Thousand Villages

meaningful holiday gifts

Founded in 1946, Ten Thousand Villages provides a sustainable North American marketplace to members of artisan co-ops in Africa, South Asia, Latin America, the Middle East and East Asia.  Exquisite jewelry, unique home accessories, colorful textiles, charming personal accessories and extraordinary art pieces can be found online or in one of their many stores. As a volunteer at the St. Paul Ten Thousand Villages store, I often tell guests their gift giving is multiplied when making a purchase at the store. Not only are they selecting a gift for a friend or loved one (or perhaps themselves), they are giving a gift of dignity and self-sufficiency to the artisan who crafted the item.

Meaningful Holiday Gifts – SERRV

meaningful holiday gifts

Dedicated to creating a sustainable world through connections with artists and farmers, eradicating poverty is at the heart of SERRV’s mission.  Founded shortly after World War II to help with refugee resettlement, SERRV is a founding member of the World Fair Trade Organization.  Since then the organization has grown to include online and catalog sales as well as three stores.  SERRV items are also often found in gift shops and at fairs throughout the country.  Distinctive décor items, colorful kitchen items, stunning personal accessories, quality apparel for both men and women, memorable holiday and gift items can be found on the SERRV website.  Each item is created by an artisan with a story to tell, a story that provides added meaning to the gift you are giving.

Meaningful Holiday Gifts –The Blessing Basket Project

Blessing Basket Correct Logo

Generating Opportunity, Empowering Entrepreneurs, Creating Prosperity.”  A China Ties – Adoptive Family Travel (a Ripple Effect Journeys sister organization) alum recently introduced me to The Blessing Basket Project.  Working with basket weavers in Bangladesh, Ghana, Uganda and Madagascar, The Blessing Basket Project sells a variety of woven goods including baskets, trays, clutches, hats and totes online and through its partners, such as Whole Foods.  Because each item bears the name of its creator, it’s possible to personally get to know that individual through the organization’s “Artisan & You” initiative.  The Blessing Basket Project employs a prosperity wage model resulting in lasting impact for the entrepreneur, their family and their community.

Meaningful Holiday Gifts – The Gift of Identity Fund

meaningful holiday gifts

The Gift of Identity Fund provides funding to adoptees “visiting their birth country with the goal of helping them understand their identity, heritage and culture” while traveling with Adoptive Family Travel, a signature Ties Program.  If you have a place in your heart for international adoptees and their well being, this is the gift opportunity for you.  Commemorate this holiday season and the New Year by giving a unique Gift of Identity ornament that reads, ““Every road, every path, every waterway leads to self discovery.”   Another idea–The ornament’s sentiment also makes it an inspirational gift for those graduating in the year ahead, or as people you know are making transitions in their lives.

christmas decoration

Just as I’m always seeking my next meaningful travel experience, I’m always interested in learning about new ways to purchase meaningful gifts.  Here are two of my recent discoveries.

Meaningful Holiday Gifts – Trades of Hope

meaningful holiday gifts

After hearing about Ripple Effect Journeys, Caitlin Borge introduced me to Trades of Hope.  Focused on helping women break the cycle of poverty, Trades of Hope markets products through a home party model (some of which take place virtually) as well as selling them online.  The beautiful items you’ll find here make wonderful gifts while also offering the gift of hope. We know of a party going on now through Dec. 9. If you’d like an invite, let me know.

Meaningful Holiday Gifts – Wakami

meaningful holiday gifts

John Quinn, co-founder of the Sinapi Foundation, contacted me after learning about Ripple Effect Journeys.  Partnering with several organizations working in Guatemala, the Sinapi Foundation “wants to participate in the transformation of indigenous communities, while respecting their culture, to increase their opportunities for creating sustainable improvement to their way of life.”  Wakami is one of these partners.  Maria Pacehco’s vision to connect rural Guatemalan villages with local markets began with Kiej del Los Bosques in 2004. In 2006 the vision grew to include opportunities in other parts of the world with the birth of Wakami. Enter Wakami’s online store to select a special bracelet or necklace for the favorite gal or guy in your life.

christmas decoration

May your holiday season be filled with meaning, and may the gifts you give, give twice!

Bea Evans

By: Bea Evans
Founder, Ripple Effect Journeys



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