Take a little time this Christmas season to spread some love and cheer. In the midst of the hustle and bustle of the holidays we get tend to get caught up in our to-do lists, our parties, cooking, wrapping, shopping, cleaning, decorating and more. All of the STUFF can sometimes get in the way of the reason we even have Christmas–to celebrate the incredible birth of our Savior Jesus Christ. We have been given much. We should give much.
In the midst of all your Christmas shopping this year I urge you to find somewhere you can give back. Every year there are certain organizations I contribute to in some form or fashion. I always enjoy packing an Operation Christmas Child box or two. This is a ministry that my school participates in and we serve as a collection site. Collecting for this year has passed but keep this one in mind for next year or you can donate monetarily online at any time. To me, going to the store and filling a box with goodies for a special child is actually quite fun and I always look forward to this every year.
Another great place to give is Toys for Tots. My church serves as a collection site for this organization as do many places around town. Again, it’s always fun to pick out toys! I love to find great deals so I can buy even more. I usually try to snag some sale items the day after Thanksgiving to save for collection time. But even a $5 or $10 toy from Target, Big Lots or a dollar store can bring a smile to a child’s face that might not be receiving anything else for Christmas.
This time of year is also when our church participates in the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering. This offering goes directly to the International Mission Board to support missionaries in the field. Because of support through offerings, gifts, and the Lottie Moon program Southern Baptist missionaries do not have to carry the burden of raising their own financial support. This means they can focus more on doing the work they have been commissioned to do.
More places to help out…
World Vision has a gift catalog on their site where you can purchase goats, chickens, water, education, medicine and more for children in need around the world. Feeling you have too much stuff already–then ask for a goat to be given in your name instead of getting another candle or bottle of lotion to put in your bathroom drawer. These are gifts that save lives and provide for these children for years to come.
Interested in doing even more? Consider sponsoring a child through Compassion. For $38 a month you can sponsor a child that would otherwise not be receiving proper care and education. They also have a gift catalog similar to World Vision where you can purchase items to go to those in need.
Engage Hope is another source for purchasing gifts for those in need around the globe. I am personally familiar with this organization and its work. Here you can purchase livestock, sewing machines, medicines, and even sewing machines for others.
Want your dollar to go further when purchasing gifts for friends and family? Here’s some ideas…
TOMS shoes: Purchase a pair and they donate a pair. It’s a win-win! These are super popular right now and would make a great gift for anyone on your list.
FashionABLE scarves: Your purchase supports sustainable business opportunities for women in Africa.
Ten Thousand Villages: A whole online store of wonderful finds. Supports fair-trade and sustainable small business ventures for artisans in third world countries to be able to support themselves.
Global Sistergoods: Another online shopping site that features handmade fair-trade gifts.
Shabby Apple: Cute stuff! Take a look at their selection of clothing and accessories. Every purchase gives back money to help women in India establish small businesses.
And last but certainly not least, consider helping out our troops this Christmas. When you are checking out at Old Navy, add $5 to your bill and they will give 100 minutes of phone time to troops to be able to call home to loved ones. Through the USO you can send a care package to troops. Not a lot of extra cash? Consider going to the airport to greet troops home…a flight of returning soldiers from Iraq and Afghanistan lands at DFW everyday. Here’s more info.
Have a Merry Christmas!