Here’s a good Christmas gift idea: A gift certificate to Kiva, a website that coordinates microloans to individuals running small businesses in the developing world. I’ve given goats as gifts to family members before, but this seems more satisfying: the recipient gets to choose for him- or herself who to lend the money to, and when the money is repaid, can choose whether to lend it again to a new person or to withdraw the money. If the gift certificate isn’t used within a year, it becomes a donation to Kiva, which is fine, too.

I like that. I mean, goats are great, but you can’t really play with a goat if it’s in Africa and you’re in Europe or Australia or the US. A microloan, now that’s something you can play with – leafing through the profiles of people in need of loans, and perhaps thus being inspired to lend someone another $25.

Oh, and Hilde sent along confirmation that my instincts are right: Goats are So Two Years Ago, writes the Telegraph. Let’s hope kiva.org gift certificates make the cut.

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