Since I'm one of those people who truly loves giving gifts, and am always looking for ways to show my parents how much I appreciate all the things they've done for me over the years, their response presented a conundrum. Until, that is, I began the tradition of making a donation to a charity in their honor.
For my parents, I chose to start making annual donations to Heifer International. This well established organization provides livestock to poor families all over the world, thereby increasing the family's food security and allowing them to begin a family business to pull themselves out of poverty.
Under the tree goes a card telling my parents what sort of animal we've gifted in their name, and a small ornament depicting that animal. As the years go by, when they trim the tree with their Christmas menagerie, they'll remember all the good that has come from their gifts.
And that's the real beauty of charity gifts: They're truly the gift that keeps on giving. Plus, there's a charity for nearly every interest or hobby!
Got an animal lover? How about the Wisconsin Humane Society (or your local shelter). A boater or fisherman? Try Alliance for the Great Lakes or River Revitalization Foundation. An avid reader? Donate books to your local library! Trust in the power of the internet, folks. Just type your recipient's hobby or interest into google and add "charity" to the end. You'll come up with something!
(A word of caution: be sure to thoroughly research your charity of choice, especially if they're non-local. You can check with the Better Business Bureau for peace of mind.)
The other great thing about giving to charities in lieu of gifts, is that it translates to any occasion throughout the year! For their kids' birthdays, my friends Heather and Tracie ask the kiddos to bring an item to donate to their chosen charity, instead of more unnecessary toys for the birthday boy or girl. I love how they instill the spirit of philanthropy in their little ones. Way to go, gals!
|image courtesy tsj photography|
If you don't think that a charity gift is quite right for you or your loved-one, stay tuned! There are still two more parts to this Saner Gift Giving season!