If this sounds good, but you think perhaps a small item to represent the cause would make it even better, a few local nonprofits are offering tokens of all shapes and sizes.
Art and environment
Thanks to the Fountain Creek Restoration Committee the crew that keeps Fountain Creek flowing through Manitou Springs environmentalists, art collectors and music lovers will sing "Hallelujah." This winter, the committee offers two ways to support its efforts.
Manitou artist Charles Rockey turned one of his creek paintings into a 33-by-21-inch poster. For a minimum $75 donation, an individually signed, numbered copy will be yours to gift. In addition, 10 local musicians, including John-Alex Mason and Grant Sabin, have produced an Acoustic Restoration CD. A $10 donation will get you a copy.
Committee chair Ken Jaray guarantees "same-day" pickup opportunities through noon on Dec. 24. Only 250 Rockey prints are available, though, so move quickly. Learn more at restorefountaincreek.org or call 633-6620.
Ollies and kickflips
Memorial Park Skate Park opened last weekend, and even if you can't balance on a board, you can show the skater in your life that you care. For $40, you can have a message, logo, photo or piece of artwork laser-etched onto a 4-by-4-inch tile that will be included in a mural at the park sometime next spring. It's also a great gift for anyone looking for the "cheapest permanent advertising you'll find in town," according to coordinator Shannon Davis. For all the details on this tax-deductible donation, visit ppcf.org/giving.php?fundid=106.
Say "Happy Howlidays" and head to the Humane Society of the Pikes Peak Region (610 Abbott Lane) for a special calendar to support pets in need. For just $15, the "Love Every Day" calendar features the Humane Society's annual photo contest entrants and winners. The cutest local pups and kitties (and a few other small critters) grace the 30-some squares of each month. You can order a calendar online and have it shipped for just $2 more. But if you're running really behind, drop by the society's office it's open every day, all the way through Christmas Eve. Every dollar you give the Humane Society may be especially needed this year, since El Paso County is basically halving its financial support. Visit hsppr.org or call 473-1741.
How cool would it be for your niece to return to school saying she got a Canadian lynx for Christmas? Think about an animal adoption package from the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo.
Choose an American river otter, a Rocky Mountain goat, or one of the other 125 creatures. Adoption packages start at $25 and guarantee your gift recipient a photo of the real animal, an adoption certificate, name recognition on a sign at the zoo, and an invitation to "Parents Day."
To be clear: Your niece won't really own the lynx. But she will own bragging rights for a year. All the details can be found at cmzoo.org or by calling 633-9925.
Do you have a friend whose dirt under the fingernails gives away her weekend passion? If so, consider colorful, one-of-a-kind gardener's aprons by Vesca Pisces to benefit Pikes Peak Urban Gardens. Whether flowery, corduroy or other, they range in price from $18 to $40 (with 20 percent of each purchase going to PPUG); if you order by Dec. 20, you can customize size, color scheme and pocket style.
The aprons have reinforced pockets ready to hold whatever tools necessary and are machine-washable. These aprons are perfect for crafters, too (and will still benefit PPUG). Local pickup is available. Visit vescapisces.etsy.com to purchase, or learn more about PPUG at ppugardens.org.
Kids and cookies
Bring on the spoons and the brownie batter. Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) of the Pikes Peak Region has paired with Zebra Mix, a line of organic baking kits that you can give as gifts or whip up for the holidays. Choose chocolate chip cookies, brownie bites or Zebra cupcakes and frosting. Each mix comes with dry ingredients, baking instructions and educational games and activities for kids. Purchase six boxes for $36, and $15 will go to CASA's programs, which provide volunteer advocates for each abused and neglected child going through the local court system.
If you'd like to taste-test the treats, join CASA from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., Saturday, Dec. 20, at Kirk & Hill at the Promenade Shops at Briargate (1685 Briargate Pkwy., #323). To order, call CASA at 447-9898 ext. 1000. Or drop by the office (701 S. Cascade Ave.) to pick up your mixes. Find more information at casappr.org.
Wide open spaces
Pion Canyon Expansion Opposition Coalition volunteer Cathy Mullins says it all started with a cereal box campaign. During a conversation Mullins had with Colorado artist Doug Holdread, he mentioned to her how, as a child, he bought a square inch of land in the Klondikes through a Quaker Oats promotion. He wished he could do something like that in Pion Canyon. Well, he told the story to the right woman, because Mullins owned an unused acre of land in the area. And so the "Pion Canyon Square Inch" project began.
For a mere $10, you can purchase a deed to one square inch of property, located in Las Animas County within the Army's proposed expansion area. Mullins says they've sold 920 deeds so far; just 6,018,080 inches to go!
After purchase, a deed will be mailed out to you or your giftee within just a few business days. Visit pinoncanyonsquareinch.com or call 719/845-0487.