Whether writing about fashion or about mountain climbing, it seems like every blogger publishes a gift guide sometime in November or December. I intended on publishing one too, but procrastination got the best of me. One of the main reasons I procrastinate is because I want to avoid a task that is unpleasant or too challenging. And while I love giving, I really don’t like choosing gifts. When I set out to buy gifts, I have this image of the recipients opening their boxes and squealing in delight. This is the emotion I want to impart on them. But how?! I start out with confidence and determination, but then sink into the realization that I have to buy something mundane that hopefully they won’t hate. In order to avoid that experience altogether, I’ve started giving gift cards, which is something that I really don’t like to do. Talk about the power of marketing! At some point retailers made it ok to give money to just about anyone. This was how I described to my then 2 year-old what the plastic card she received on her birthday was: “it’s Target money, honey”. Btw, she wasn’t thrilled! So I cringe a little bit every time I gift one.
So, after countless reasons to postpone researching and writing, I realized that it was too late. So I thought about writing a post featuring some cool stores that one could buy gift cards from, but it just felt too much like a reach. But then I thought of a different last minute gift idea post. It happened after I found out that my brother-in-law wanted a charitable donation to be made on his behalf by his secret Santa (me). Then it dawned on me that perhaps what a lot of us want this Christmas is a better world!
So if you have not found a gift for a loved one consider donating to one of these causes on their behalf. Or if you heart is overflowing go ahead and make a donation on your own behalf. As for my brother-in-law, I plan on also getting something that he can enjoy, but that costs under $10, so as not to take too much away from the cause he wants to support.
This list purposefully avoided large, well-know organizations because they are already well known,and because they can be quite complex in structure, making it difficult to judge their effectiveness.
If like me, you still want to give something that the person can enjoy, items like a Panetonne (italian fruit cake that sells for under $5), a pretty soap, coffee beans or tea are a nice touch, sure to be appreciated. Items you could find at the grocery store.
Bluntly put, “Aleppo is now a synonym for hell,” said United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon during a news conference in New York on December 16th. My brother-in-law asked me donate to Worldvision, an organization that I don’t much about. There are many others that are currently offering aid to Syrian refugees.
So much has happened in the world since October when Hurricane Matthew brought heartbreaking destruction to Haiti that it’s ease to believe that the worst is over. But the country, which already struggled with other issues, is still dealing with the aftermath. An amazing person, Unik Ernest, I had the privilege of meeting when I lived in New York started Eydeo in 2007. Their work focuses on education, and they operate a school in Bel Air, which their website describes as a “marginalized neighborhood of Port-au-Prince. In the aftermath of Matthew, Eydeo delivered supplies to some of the areas affected, and continue to act as a liason between those wishing to donate, and the ones in need.
D.E.L.T.A Rescue is a “No Kill, Care-For-Life” sanctuary that houses over 1500 animals. Founded in 1979 but Leo Grillo, the super sanctuary operates irn a 115-acre ranch in Los Angeles, and I was ranked high by Charity Watch.
The Young and The Brave supports children (and their families) who suffer from cancer. When a person chooses to donate, rather than just sending funds to the organization they select a ‘warrior’, and their support goes specifically towards that person’s needs.
You may also opt to join an ‘adopt a child’ program.
I would bet that many people this year would appreciate a donation towards their political party or a website that publishes news or fact checks claims. I won’t make any specific suggestions here, in order to avoid potential drama.
Do you know of an amazing organization that should be added to the list? Please list it the comments.