Saturday, December 01, 2012

'Tis the Season - In Your Honor

There comes a point in a family's life when everyone realizes that they don't "need" anything for Christmas. When the question, "What do you want for Christmas?," leaves everyone pondering for more than a few seconds, then you know its time to switch gears and take the focus off lavishing each other with unnecessary items.

"In Your Honor" gifts are a great way to give to someone in need on behalf of family and friends. Beyond putting money in the Salvation Army Red Kettle (which you should do because they still do great work!), consider some of the following options: (as mentioned in the previous post). Donate on behalf of a loved one and send them an e-card letting them know that they have potentially saved a life. Note: Every 20 seconds a child dies from water-related illness.

Compassion International: It isn't every day that you can buy a chicken, goat, or cow as a gift, but here's your chance! Of course, there are others things you can provide as well; but if someone wants to give a cow to a family on my behalf - go for it! Or consider sponsoring a child as a way to make them a part of your extended family. Their letters are priceless and the impact you make is far reaching. Choose a child who shares a birthday with a family member and celebrate two-fold.

Project Yesu: This one gets personal for me because I know this young lady and her family. If you want to get inspired than check out Project Yesu and see how one teenager is "being the change she wants to see in the world." Her faith in God and her desire to make a difference overwhelms me with joy.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

'Tis the Season - Two-fold Gifts

'Tis the Season - Two-fold Gifts

There are so many great companies doing great things these days. I love the idea of being able to provide something for someone else every time I have a need (or want). 

Here are some simple ways to provide for others while taking care of your own needs/wants:

Warby Parker: Let me just start by saying that I LOVE WARBY PARKER! Not only are their glasses well made, stylish and up-to-date with trends, but they are much less expensive than "big box" chain stores. Buying my glasses from Warby Parker allows me to also provide another pair to someone in need. Simple, effective, and rewarding!

Toms Shoes: Who doesn't love shoes?!?! Toms was founded by Blake Mycoskey in 2006 after an eye-opening trip to Argentina. Read his story and vision. I promise you will love these shoes. Just remember that when you purchase your pair, you are providing a pair for someone else in desperate need. It is hard for us to realize that there are people who do not own shoes period. You can sport a comfortable and great looking shoe and perhaps give someone else their very first pair of shoes ever. Turn on the tap and let it run freely. Water. That's what we do in our world. Let it run when we brush our teeth, wash our dishes, cool off on a hot summer day, water lawns or flowers, etc. Sadly, what we take for granted over 780 million others don't even have adequate access. Would you walk 10 miles, 20 miles, or 50 miles a day to fill a bucket with water for your family? You can buy a gift of a water bottle with proceeds going towards providing water. You can also donate in honor of someone and send them an e-ecard letting them know of your generous gift in their honor.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

'Tis the Season

Heading into the month of December most people will have already experienced Black Friday and Cyber Monday gift grabbing. But what if there could be a method to the madness? What if your gift giving became two-fold? A gift for your loved ones AND a gift for a stranger? Would you jump at the chance to show kindness to a stranger or would you balk at the idea of giving without knowing the receiver's heart?

After experiencing a terrible "Black Friday" ordeal at a Target store a few years ago, I have completely stayed away from the greed that ensues immediately after a day of supposed thanksgiving for what we already enjoy. Watching people push, shove, insult, and basically maul other shoppers and the store employees was a major wake up call to what I had become. I fully intended that year for nothing to get in my way of my securing the "necessary" Christmas item at a "deep" discount. I stood in line getting antsy and counting the number of people ahead of me, while trying to figure out my odds and the best angles for success. Once I was in the store I was sickened at the realization that I had become a greedy, consumer-ridden individual fighting for "survival."

Fast-forward: 2012. Time and great contemplation have allowed me to refocus my priorities. Yes, I still love to give gifts to my family and friends. I actually enjoy finding unique things for them. I like to shop local small businesses and support my community. I like to shop where I can support independent vendors who are creating and crafting a new way for me to give unique gifts. I like to shop antique stores where I can embrace the motto of "reduce, reuse, and recycle." I like to shop American and support small businesses trying to effect change in their communities across the US. I like to shop businesses that find it important to give back to those in need. Because face it, even the poorest American is richer than most people in other areas around the globe.