Cut the “Stuff” – Giving Gifts That Mean Something More
“The simple act of buying a goat has a remarkable impact on families and communities around the world. I’ll use the Save the Children gift catalog this holiday season and I encourage my family, friends and you to do the same.” -Drew Carey
Growing up, every year for the holidays, my family would gather together at my grandmother’s house. The kids of our family used to anticipate it for months, looking forward to piles of brightly wrapped presents every year. These days us “kids” are all in our 20s and have come to realize, after years of the plastic presents that every kid had to have (that inevitably ended up taking up space, half broken in the basement a week later) that what’s truly great about the holidays is the chance to gather together with your loved ones, eat a home cooked meal, and share stories and laughter. Not the boxes of stuff no one really needs.
My parents, aunt and uncle, of course, realized this much earlier than we did. A number of years ago, they decided there just wasn’t any more stuff they needed. Buying gifts for one another had become just another way to clutter up their lives. That’s when they discovered a unique way of giving gifts that more and more people around the country are doing every year — giving the gift of a charitable donation that makes the world a brighter place.
They’re not alone in this. Save the Children, who once again has a gift catalogue of meaningful gifts you can give your friends and loved once, sees every day how giving a charitable gift in someone’s honor can light up their holiday. As they heard from one gift giver, “My daughter just called from Montana and told me that the personalized card that you sent out to her 5-year old daughter as a memento of my Christmas donation was THE most appreciated gift she had received this year…. Everything else she got was ‘just more stuff” as her mom Jennifer put it. So I think we’ve started a Christmas tradition; hopefully, you’ll continue the little memento.”
Like Jennifer and her daughter, my family’s yearly gifts to our favorite organizations in each others’ honor is one of my favorite holiday traditions. Two years ago, my parents gave my aunt and uncle a goat. The goat and farm animals like it sent to families in developing countries help people sustainably support their families and pull themselves out of poverty. For my family, it meant a holiday where we knew our gifts had truly made the world a better place. (It also meant a lot of goat noises made over the dinner table that year, and one of the most amusing holiday dinners to date.)
This year my family will once again continue the tradition. I’m not sure what gift my parents or relatives will unwrap this December, but I’ve been pushing for something from some of my favorite organizations, like Save the Children, whose gifts can brighten the lives of some of the worlds poorest, from sending a girl to school to giving a family a sheep or goat, to providing a soccer ball for kids in need. I hope you’ll join us and start a tradition with your own family. I can promise it’s a gift that everyone in your family will truly appreciate.