I am a weirdo. I like Christmas & all of that, but I'm someone who really doesn't need anything - so it's awfully hard for me to come up with things I want. I'm sure it's frustrating for my Husband because it took him a looooooooooooong time to figure out that I really mean it when I say I don't want anything for myself (and I wasn't tricking him....so Christmas morning, when there's nothing under the tree for me, I won't go off on an "I can't believe you didn't get me anything!!!" jag!!)
((I secretly believe he was scarred for life from his first wife & he just still can't believe he has hit the jackpot with me! hahahaha))
I'd always ask for just food for the animals I feed or animals at the Rescue -- so I'll ask for such fabulous presents like "bird seed", "cat food", "stuff for the dogs"....and he'll roll his eyes and say "that's not a real present!" - to which I'd respond, "so put it in a gift basket and stick a bow on it!!". I think to him it doesn't sound like much, but it's something I spend a lot of money on myself so if I could just be given a gift of it --- it really is a present!
I don't know if he thought I was just kidding or what, but for several gift giving occasions in a row I would open up my gift and it would be jewelry. NOT that it wasn't pretty jewelry, but the only jewelry I ever really wear is my wedding set. So I really had to have a talk with him to gently say I love that he wants to get me some thing, but he really was just spending money on something that I will rarely use...(am I sounding like a total "B" here or what?)...so the next year he said he would really listen to what I wanted.....(no matter how 'dumb' it sounded to him!)
....and what I found under the tree was exactly what I wanted -- food for the strays..........and I was thrilled to no end to get it!!
I also discovered Heifer International which helps provide a way for impoverished families around the world to grow food & make an income. For example, a family received a hive of honeybees one year in my name. It's a $30 gift that provides a family with, you guessed it, honeybees which will, in turn, provide them with income from selling honey, pollen and wax. The bees also pollinate their crops - often times doubling their yield.
Another one of my favorites from Heifer is the "Boost of Nutrition" gift where a family will get enough fruit & veggie seeds to start a small farm as well as a flock of chicks. A healthy hen can lay up to 200 eggs a year - plenty for the family to get that extra nourishment as well as a means of income when they sell them.
I like that any gift you choose also comes with training for the family to give them as many tools as possible to help them become successful.
When you consider that more people die each year from malnutrition and hunger-related diseases than from tuberculosis, AIDS and malaria combined, it's pretty sad & it's hard not to want to do something about it.
I also like that only 7% of what Heifer brings is used for administrative costs. The bulk of it goes toward the program/families in need (and of course some does go toward advertising & getting the word out)
I now give gifts in friends names as well at the holidays & have seen friends & other family members starting this tradition as well. Even if you give traditional presents, it might be a nice idea for everyone in the family to pitch in $10 and give a family donation to the charity of your choice. Maybe alternate each year having each person choose the charity the money will go to.
With Thanksgiving around the corner, it's a perfect time to truly sit back and reflect on all the blessings we have - a home, clean water, basic food needs are met.....and look for ways we can all do something for others.
Do you have a favorite charity you like to donate to? (there's so many, I always like hearing which ones others like to support) Have you ever asked for something only to get the total opposite??!
Disclaimer - This is not a sponsored or compensated post at all by Heifer International. It's an unsolicited post about an organization I personally support. My opinions are my own & may vary from opinions or experiences you may have.