It is now less than 72 hours before Christmas morning. If you are like a minority of people, your shopping is done. If you are like most of us, there is still someone that you are planning for that seems to have everything that they may need or even want.
I know that this year it is likely, by no fault of those that buy for me, that I will get things that are less likely to be used, and instead will be objects that I will have to continue to simplify.
This understanding is part of the reason that Summer and I decided that instead of purchasing things for each other, that we would experience a new place as our gifts to each other. Read more about that here.
So, in the spirit of popular posts for the last days before the biggest shopping holiday of the year, here are some bona-fide ideas to get for people for whom you don’t know what to get, and seem to have everything.
Buy a chicken.
Support a child in a foreign country.
Help the homeless have a meal to eat.
Give the gift of giving.
I know it sounds a little corny, but in this season (as many other bloggers have mentioned and brought to bear for us), we do tend to get caught up in what we can get out of this season, instead of what we can put in. Even the most devout Christians pine over buying a pink or Chartreuse sweater which we have no guarantee that the other person will use … much less like (just being honest folks).
So instead, take a look at a few ideas here to use your money to multiply lives as opposed to consume resources. And, on the bright side, you’re guaranteed to get a thanks when they open it … cause no one is going to frown at a gift that helps those that need it. 🙂
1. Local Church.
If you are involved in a local church, sometimes a gift to a cause in your local church keep money local and can make a considerable difference. See if there are particular projects to which you can contribute. Building projects, support for local missionaries, building up food kitchens, or scholarships for youth to go to events or complete mission work. This is a great place to start.
If you are in the middle Tennessee area, consider a gift to this amazing organization. Much more than a homeless shelter, this program utilizes its resources (all of which are donation – they do not take any form of government assistance) to not only feed and house Nashville’s homeless short term, but also have programs to help totally rehabilitate troubled and hurting lives. My wife and I have personally given to this organization and we consider them dollars very well spent.
I’ve written about this place many times before, but will toss it in here as a wonderful place for a donation to be made in honor of someone you know. This year, I was able to raise 500.00 for the hospital as part of my 30 While 30 Goal list, completing their half-marathon earlier this month. A wonderful opportunity to share life by giving to an organization that leads the world in cancer treatments for children and operates primarily on donation … also never turning a child away because they could not afford the treatment.
And now, some options on a much more global scale:
Provided in the title is a link to Samaritan’s Purse “Gift Catalog”. In this way, you can make donations to various different projects around the world, ranging from providing clean water, to building a church, and my personal favorite, buying actual animals (sheep, goats, honeybees) to help support foreign communities increase their self-sufficiency. While it is too late to participate this year, there is a shoebox program that allows you to fill up a standard size shoebox with items to bring joy to a child far, far away.
5. World Vision.
Rachel Held Evans, a blogger I follow had the opportunity to travel to Bolivia to experience first hand the work that World Vision does through it’s child sponsorship program. I won’t repeat what she has said, but you can read some of the stories here. This program does not center so much on the individual child that is sponsored, but instead works to improve the community as a whole, teaching skills, helping to develop lasting self-sustainment programs, and increasing the capacity of whole villages to increase their quality of life.
6. Charity: Water.
A charity based on a very simple premise: providing clean drinking water to those that don’t have it. Charity:Water has an impeccable reputation on the ratio of donated funds that actually go to the on-the-ground projects. This is an organization where a very small amount of money can make a very big difference.
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So, if you’re looking for something that you can’t find at the mall, or you wonder if it will even get used, here are a few options.
Are there some good ones that I missed? Let me know in the comments!
Have a Merry Christmas!