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Best Holiday Gifts In Metro Detroit That Give Back

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DETROIT (CBS Detroit) Everyone has those hard-to-buy-for folks on the Christmas shopping list — But does Grandma really need another pair of decorative socks?

If the answer is “no,” then start thinking outside the box at gift-giving time and put something under the tree that’s as meaningful for the person who gives as the one who receives. Here’s our metro Detroit guide to gifts that give back:

Detroit Zoo

When the shopping mall becomes a zoo this holiday season, shoppers can make the Detroit Zoo their mall. The zoo offers many gift ideas that allow the giver to give twice – recipients will love their “zoonique” gifts and the proceeds from sales will help support the animals at the Detroit Zoo.

Consider a Detroit Zoo membership, which offers free admission to the Detroit Zoo and Belle Isle Nature Zoo, free parking, discounts at zoo gift shops and many other benefits. Prices range from $53 to $160.

Opt to adopt. An A.D.O.P.T.S. (Animals Depend on People to Survive) gift package includes a plush animal, photo, fact sheet, personalized adoption certificate and greeting card. Prices range from $40 to $1,000. Or, visit Zoofari Market on your next trip to the zoo, purchase a plush, make a donation of $15, and receive a certificate of adoption. The gift of A.D.O.P.T.S. helps to improve the zoo animals’ habitats and provides veterinary treatment.

Pay tribute. Make a lasting impression at the zoo with a brick tribute paver engraved with a loved one’s name or special message (cost is $100 to $1,000). A brass-finished laser-etched butterfly can be purchased to commemorate a birthday, wedding, anniversary or the life of a family member, friend or beloved pet (cost is $500). Or, make a donation of any amount in someone’s honor or memory.

Close encounters. Zoo experiences such as Breakfast with the Butterflies ($300 per group of five), Breakfast with the Giraffes ($500 per group of five) and Mingle with the Macaronis ($600 per group of five) allow visitors to get up close and personal with these zoo residents. A Guided zoo tour ($100 per person) offers the opportunity to tour the zoo with a knowledgeable docent on a zero-emission golf cart and visit the animals before the zoo opens.

Preserve the rainforest one child at a time. A contribution to the Adopt-A-School program in lieu of exchanging gifts supports the mission of the DZS and provides school supplies to the rural schools and children in the Amazon. Sponsor a child for $25 for a year’s supply of school materials or adopt an entire Peruvian school for $350.

Can’t decide? Gift certificates are also available. To purchase a gift certificate, order holiday gifts or donate to the Adopt-A-School program, call 248-336-5836. To give a gift membership, call (248) 541-5717 and press 3.

Detroit Institute of Arts

This is the place for unique gifts that help support a cultural institution. Think about Pewabic pottery holiday tree ornaments, copies of famous sculptures and other pieces of art, vases and candleholders, mugs, Detroit-themed books, costume jewelry, and more HERE.

Bonnell Calendar

If you’re looking for a gift this holiday season that will inspire you –and is a tax deductible donation — think about buying a Portraits of Cystic Fibrosis calendar from The Bonnell Foundation: Living with cystic fibrosis. It features black and white photos of 20 people with CF who offer inspirational thoughts as they live life with this disease. The calendars are $20 and can be ordered at: www.thebonnellfoundation.org. CF is an illness that causes chronic and fatal lung infections and interferes with digestion. The money raised by the 501(c)3 non profit helps families across the country with medical expenses, lung grants, education scholarships and more.

Michigan Humane Society

T-shirts, pets travel gear, personalized items like picture frames, pet calendars, water bottles, and toy boxes are all available for the pet lovers in the family. See a list of holiday fundraising items HERE.

Also, everyone loves a festive holiday card in the mailbox, but in this case a card isn’t just a card. The Humane Society, which raises funds and shelters thousands of homeless dogs, is selling cards you can personalize with photos of your own pets, or family, and the message of your choosing. The purchase price — $19.99 for 20 cards — goes back to the society.

‘In Name’ Giving

Don’t forget, you can also donate to the charity of your choice in the name of a recipient as a special gift. Think about Gilda’s Club, the Royal Oak-based cancer support group, which accepts donations HERE; or the YMCA and its mission of supporting healthy kids HERE; or Gleaner’s where every dollar you donate provides three meals HERE.

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