I pledged that no matter what - in every preparation, activity and event related to Christmas that I was involved in - I would have love in my heart. I vowed not to say I was stressed out, complain, nor get grumpy in the crowds. I want to wring every possible joy out of this special time of year; to simplify; be more authentic in my giving; and to give while I live.
I set out to buy gifts that are responsibly and ethically produced. This has turned out to be harder than I anticipated. Discouraged after wandering big box stores and reading Made in China labels, I came home and went online. What a pleasure to browse and search in the comfort of your comfy flannels. I think when we find ourselves stumped on what to give someone we are supposed to know so well, because "they have that already", it's time to give a gift that keeps on giving.
I especially love the Hunger Site; it provides a ton of options for gift giving - benefiting a whole host of causes ranging from literacy, animal rescue, hunger to rain forest, breast cancer and child health. I have ordered everything from luggage tags to education for Afghan girls over the years. Heifer.org is especially dear to me. I love that the organization works to help people in need become self reliant and speaks to the ideal of giving a hand up. This year I am also giving Kiva gift credits. For $25 people can become micro loaners to people all around the world who are trying to build better lives for themselves. I find myself pouring over the stories of the waiting entrepreneurs and coming away inspired. They should have an addiction warning on the site cause once you start -- you can`t stop!
We give for many different reasons; personally, I love the good, warm feeling I get from watching the delight and pleasure on the faces of my friends and family as they open the gifts I have chosen for them. With Kiva and Heifer gifts, the satisfaction and good feeling come from knowing you are helping someone live a better life. And there is no greater gift than that.
So - I`m making a list and checking it twice.