Friday, December 5

Merry Christmas to All

Like many of you, this time of year is a paradox for me. I love this season - the lights, the tree hunting, the baking...and the gifts. I really enjoy picking out something for each person on my list that I know will be a joyous surprise. All the while, I hear my kids have conversations, like the one they had yesterday in the car, that go something like: "I love Christmas - it's my favorite holiday." "Mine, too. But maybe I like my birthday more because I get presents AND cake." *sigh* Doesn't that just warm your heart?

We've all heard it this year. America spends multiple gazillion dollars on Christmas; in contrast, the world could be fully vaccinated with a small portion of that sum. Although Americans plan to spend less on the holidays this year than in the past several years, it's not just about holding back a few additional dollars; it's about making the world a little better place for others as well. It's about generosity and humility and a little perspective.

After that conversation start yesterday, the kids and I decided to put together a list of ways we can help others enjoy their holiday season and choose as a family which ones we will join with this year. I'm starting our list, but I would love to have input. What are other organizations or ideas for giving that you think are great?
  • Sponsor a child through Compassion International, Samaritan's Purse, or another reputable child sponsor organization.
  • Buy a malaria resistant mosquito net for an African family (this is what we gave our dads for Father's Day - to help a few children who may not have fathers).
  • Provide a micro loan in order for someone in a developing country to begin a business that will support their family.
  • Buy a goat, chicken, alpaca, pig, or some other cute animal that will help support a family.
  • Take food to our local food bank.
  • Choose a family we know personally and sneakily drop off gifts & food (I read of one family who blesses a family every year with an anonymous twelve days of Christmas countdown of decorations, food, and small gifts).
  • Give needed clothes or toys to a foster child.
  • Make homemade Christmas decorations for elderly people in a near-by retirement home.
What else?

Wishing a fabulous holiday season for ALL of us.

5 comments:

KMiV said...

Very good ideas.

Here is another one. You can go to the homelesspartners.com website and buy gifts for a homeless person in your city. Usually homeless people get blankets, coats, etc. but do not get a chance to have a "wish list." One family can adopt one or two individuals and give a personal gift to them.

brenda said...

My parents one time asked if we would be ok with giving gifts to kids whose parents were in prison instead of exchanging them as a family. We were kids so we threw a fit and didn't do it, but I never forgot it. My mother did take advantage of the Toy and Joy program when we were very little with no money.

Kristi said...

Here's another good one:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DqrFG7xrE1I&eurl=http://www.catalystspace.com/catablog/full/toms_project_holiday/

texasinafrica said...

The kids at our church enjoy making ziplock bags full of nonperishable food items and water (and socks, which are usually the most appreciated!) to keep in the car. Then, when you pass someone on the side of the road, you have something to give them. When we put these together at church, we also include a laminated card with a list of social service agencies (with addresses and phone numbers) in our community.

Amanda Peterson said...

Another good idea if you want to give a tangible gift to someone is tenthousandvillages.com (they also have stores throughout the country and partner with churches to set up gift markets). All of their goods are made by entrepreneurs in the developing world and majority of the proceeds go back to them. A good idea for those who are environmentally conscious, as well, since a lot of items are made from recycled and natural resources.