Sunday, November 15, 2015

Christmas Gift Giving

I know, I know.  I was saying it myself yesterday as I desperately hurled myself through calmly perused the aisles of Wally World.  

What happened to Thanksgiving?

The poor Pilgrims.  They have gotten shoved aside in the materialistic free-for-all that is now known as The Season.  

I have traditionally been a Scrooge about The Season.  It's just (as my middle child said when he was 2, sobbing in the midst of a mountain of boxes and wrapping paper) much too much.  Too much money and time and angst and stress and food (yes, food) and pretending that everything is great when what we really want to do is curl up in our flannel pajamas and sleep till spring.

Or maybe that last part is just me.  Sorry.

So this year I am really going to try to be less Scroogish, and I thought I'd try to do that by eliminating as much stress as possible.  And the BIGGEST source of stress for me during the The Season is shopping.  I'm not a shopper, for me much less for someone else, and knowing that "I have to have the perfect gift for the party that is tomorrow at 5:00 and my immediate shopping possibilities are limited to Fred's and Dollar General" really makes me crazy.

My goal?  Have my shopping done by December 1.  My weapon?  The Internet.  My mission?  Have meaningful, thoughtful gifts for everyone purchased and wrapped by then.

I love giving gifts that truly mean something (particularly ones that are local), so now is the perfect time to sit down with a list, a movie, a cup of coffee, and my computer and put some thought into my shopping!  And you can join me!

With that in mind, here are some of my favorite places to shop, where your gift benefits more than just your recipient:

I love to give gifts that donate money to worthy causes - particularly ones that are close to home.  St. Jude Children's Research Hospital is located in nearby Memphis, Tennessee, and I have known many children who have benefitted from their work.  And no child is ever turned away, no matter their ability to pay.  They have lots of gifts available, from clothing to Christmas ornaments (my favorite), and a portion of every purchase goes to childhood cancer research.

Thistle Farms is located in Nashville, Tennessee, and is a community of women who have survived addiction, trafficking, and prostitution.  Proceeds from their natural body care products go back to helping women regain their lives through education and training.

Dolly Parton has done more to promote early childhood reading and literacy than just about any other organization I know.  Her Imagination Library began in East Tennessee and has quickly spread nationwide and internationally.  New parents register their child through her website, and kids will receive one book per month from birth through age 5.  And these are really good books, sturdily bound and carefully selected to appeal to young kids.  A sweet handmade card with a donation notice inside would thrill any teacher's heart.

Still not sure?  Check out Inspired Gifts, a division of Unicef.  Plus, Kid President (who happens to live in my town) likes Inspired Gifts, so how could you need any more reason to shop there?  You can choose to give desks, books, meals, blankets, and more to kids in need throughout the world.

Consider these options as you begin your shopping this Season.  Because what better way to practice a little gratitude at Thanksgiving than to make sure that the gifts you buy for Christmas give back, too?

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