Getting presents for people has always been a challenge for me. I don’t want to grab just anything off the shelf, but I get stumped when it comes to giving something meaningful sometimes.
With all of the world events happening and everything, it made me stop and think. If something happened to me today would anyone care that I got them the newest gadget? Maybe, maybe not. But they would care how I lived my life.
My husband recently went on a missions trip to Haiti and let me tell you that just through the pictures alone you have to appreciate life, no matter how messed up the world seems to be right now.
My kids are always eager to make their Christmas list and this year was no different, however, I want them to learn how to appreciate what they have and perhaps understand not every child has the same opportunities as them.
If your thoughts are like mine, where you want to give more meaningful & selfless gifts this year, then here’s some ideas below to get you started.
1. Buy certified fair trade
Buying certified fair trade means you are helping farmers, child and underpaid laborers around the world. Buying fair trade ensures that you’re getting quality products and the people who grow, sew, and craft get a fair deal for their hard work. You can find fair trade products in almost every category including apparel, home goods, cocoa, honey, coffee, fruits & vegetables, and wine.
2. Get a subscription snack box
Subscription snack boxes are a great way to discover new snacks. Some of them have a charity aspect tied to them. Love for Food will donate one meal to a food bank for every month you are a member and every purchase you make. And FitSnack will donate one meal to Feed America with every box that’s purchased.
3. Shop Samaritan’s Purse
Samaritan’s Purse is a nondenominational evangelical Christian organization providing spiritual and physical aid to hurting people around the world. Their gift catalog includes everything from helping renovate a mission hospital and providing emergency medical care to feeding a hungry baby for a week and preventing human trafficking.
4. Help children with cancer
St. Jude Children’s Hospital specializes in treating the toughest of pediatric cancer cases and never turns anyone away because of inability to pay. Because of that they need all the donations they can get to help with the costs of operations and medical treatments. The many ways to give include cards, employer gift match, and becoming a monthly donor.
5. Donate your used greeting cards
Not to be confused with St.Jude Children’s Hospital, St. Jude’s Ranch for Children recycles your old greeting cards and creates new ones in support of programs and services for abused, neglected and homeless children, young adults and families. In addition, you can become a foster or adoptive parent, volunteer, donate funds, and much more.
6. Clean out your house (and then shop some more)
Everybody has a ton of stuff lying around the house. So, why not take the time to clean it up and donate to charity at the same time? Most charities will even come get your stuff at no charge. Or you can use the WebThriftStore, where they help you spread the word about your donation to friends & family via social media. After you’re done donating, shop online with them. It will count as a charitable contribution, so it seems like a win-win to me!
7. Support a holistic mom
The Holistic Moms Network is a non-profit organization that connects parents who are interested in holistic health and green living. Members share advice on a variety of topics including pregnancy, breastfeeding, natural childbirth, healthy eating, positive discipline, alternative medicine, and all aspects of green living. Buy their cookbook, volunteer at your local chapter, or donate to their helping moms in need program. Help bring holistic living to someone else’s household.
8. Help a child smile
Some of us take our smiles for granted, but every three minutes a child is born with a cleft lip or cleft palate. This issue can be repaired for as little as $240 and in as few as 45 minutes, but many still cannot afford the costs. Operation Smile is an international medical charity whose main focus is helping children and young adults born with cleft lip, cleft palate and other facial deformities. To date, they have provided more than 220,000 free surgical procedures. Donations include warm blankets and transportation to helping stock the operating room with the proper medical supplies.
9. Help Haiti out
I previously mentioned my husband recently went on a missions trip to Haiti. The name of the organization he traveled with was Mission of Hope Haiti. He had a great experience with them and is looking to do another trip with them in the near future. Mission of Hope Haiti is a Christian non-profit organization that focuses on fulfilling the spiritual as well as educational, health, and nutritional needs of the people of Haiti. There are many ways you can help this organization including donating, volunteering, and becoming a partner.
10. Volunteer your time
Want to help out your local animal shelter? Want to help out the seniors in your neighborhood? Want to fight hunger? Do you have certain job skills that will allow you to help out an office in need? Visit VolunteerMatch.org. They match up people with volunteer opportunities of your choosing. The best part is you can find volunteer opportunities both locally and virtually. You can also donate to them as well to keep doing what they’re doing.
11. Run, bike, or walk
Do you run, bike, or walk? Well now you can do it for charity. Charity Miles is a free iPhone and Android app that enables people to earn corporate sponsorships for charity while walking, running or biking. Bikers earn up to 10¢ per mile; walkers and runners earn up to 25¢ per mile, all courtesy of corporate sponsors. How cool is that?
12. Donate red
Blood that is. I once thought that blood can be stored for infinite amounts of time, but that is not the case. Donated blood is perishable just like milk. Red cells last for 42 days, platelets last for 5 days, and plasma can be frozen for up to a year. Those in need of blood transfusions include: cancer patients, accident, burn, or trauma victims, newborn babies and mothers delivering babies, transplant recipients, surgery patients, chronically transfused patients suffering from sickle cell disease or thalassemia, and many more. I have a donor card with the NY Blood Center, but feel free to donate to your local place of choice.
13. Support our veterans
If you want to make a difference in the lives of wounded service members and their families, then check out the Wounded Warrior Project, which is what they are out here doing. Wounded Warrior Project invites you to honor and empower our wounded warriors by becoming a supporter. You can easily host your own fundraising campaign, support them through your school, or shop their branded products.
What is your favorite way to give back during the holidays, or even all year long?