Gifts that Give; Making Christmas Giving Count
When it comes to Christmas, I don’t mind admitting – to myself and others – there are lean years and there are fat years. This year is a lean one. Truth be told, the last few years were also lean – but I made the mistake of thinking I could afford something if I still had room for it on my credit card…which is a significant reason why this year is another lean one. But that, as they say, is another blog for another day.
So, instead of purchasing presents this year, I’m redirecting a portion of what I would have spent on gifts to charities that can leverage my small donation to go a heck of a lot farther than I can.
Here’s where I’m spending my small but sacred Christmas budget this year:
1. Item: Mother and Baby Tetanus Pack; a Unicef Survival Kit
Description: Tetanus kills a baby every nine minutes. This high-impact gift immunizes mothers, who then pass immunity on to their babies, protecting them against the devastating effects of tetanus. The Kiwanis Eliminate Project will match your gift, doubling its impact on child survival.
Impact: This will provide 355 Tetanus Vaccines
2. Item: Clean Water Kits; a Unicef Survivial Kit
Description: Give peace of mind to parents and protection to children by providing kits that include collapsible water containers, soap and water purification tablets – everything needed for safe water collection and hygiene practices to help keep diseases at bay.
Impact: Clean Water Kits for 2 families
3. Item: Adopt a polar bear; World Wildlife Fund Species at Risk Adoption Program
Description: By symbolically adopting a species at risk, WWF will direct the funds to helping those animals. For the donation, you (or the person you choose) receive a polar bear stuffy, adoption certificate and poster.
Impact: By adopting a polar bear, you’ll help WWF fight climate change and protect a network of special areas critical for their survival.
4. Item: Adopt a tiger; World Wildlife Fund Species at Risk Adoption Program
Description: By symbolically adopting a species at risk, WWF will direct the funds to helping those animals. For the donation, you receive a tiger stuffy, adoption certificate and poster.
Impact: By adopting a tiger, you’ll help WWF fight the illegal trade of tiger parts.
5. Item: Buy a bunch of bananas for chimps!
Description: Chimpanzees are critically endangered and on the brink of extinction. Make a $10 or more donation to the Jane Goodall Institute to help purchase bananas for sanctuary chimps – and the JCI will send a virtual bunch of bananas to a friend.
Impact: Help feed the 150 hungry chimps at the Tchimpounga Sanctuary
As much as I’ll miss heading to Baby Gap and Winners and all my favourite stores this December, there’s also a part of me that is really relieved I don’t have to…and the planet is probably breathing a sigh of relief, too. As the saying goes, necessity is the mother of invention. So maybe, just maybe, my financial constraints are teaching me what Christmas is really about: giving gifts that are desperately needed.
Plus, just as there are are lean years and fat years, so too is there a time to give and a time to receive. And like it or not, I’ll be on the receiving end of the present-giving extravaganza this year 🙂
Maryanne Pope is the author of A Widow’s Awakening, the upcoming book, Barrier Removed; A Tough Love Guide to Achieving Your Dreams and the play, Saviour. Maryanne is the Board Chair of the John Petropoulos Memorial Fund and the CEO of Pink Gazelle Productions Inc.