Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Thoughtful gift ideas

Remember the excitement you had as a child during the lead up to Christmas? All you had to do was wait for it to arrive. Not that waiting was easy, but it was thrilling. Fast forward to adulthood and December is often a blur of shopping, cooking and decorating. It’s busy, sometimes stressful and less than thrilling for many.  

To put your Holiday challenges in perspective, the CBC radio program The Current recently aired a show about poverty in Canada and asked listeners to share their personal experiences. One of the stories that stood out was from a mother who, strapped for cash, can’t buy her children gifts. To make up for it she focuses on giving them her time, love and attention. “What you can’t give them in one way you have to make up for in other ways,” she said. Her young children (also interviewed) were grounded, thoughtful and wise beyond their years.  

Her comment made me wonder what some people who do receive loads of gifts (kids in particular) might be missing out on. It also reminded me of a recent chat I had with a friend who said she wished her young daughter’s grandparents would give her daughter time instead of stuff, an afternoon outing together rather than a toy.  

Gift giving can really be so simple. 

Thinking outside of the box (literally) for holiday giving is one way to add more meaning to the Season and giving non-traditional gifts is memorable and meaningful in ways that are especially appropriate for this thoughtful season.  

If you still have gifts to buy (and who doesn’t) or if youd like to begin a new tradition, consider these worthwhile causes.   

Do Good Today is a Saint John-based organization focused on reducing poverty in Saint John, and supports eight local organizations that are working to reduce poverty in our area. Links on this site simplify the giving process, and let you choose to give time, money, or both, to the Boys and Girls Club, the Resource Centre for Youth, P.R.O. Kids, First Steps Housing Project and others.  

The CBC Saint John annual Harbour Lights Campaign is another initiative that makes it easy to give to many organizations in one shot. The campaign supports food banks from St. Stephen to Sussex so your donation can reach more people throughout our region. CBC is taking donations right up until December 23 so there is still time to give, if you haven’t already.  

Nature Conservancy Canada has “packaged” wildlife habitat to give as gifts, in an effort to raise funds, and awareness, for the habitat crunch threatening many of our native species.

World Wildlife Fund – Canada offers endangered animal “adoptions” and a special initiative to help protect polar bears and their habitats whereby Coca-Cola will match your donation dollar for dollar. Adoption orders must be received by December 18 to guarantee arrival in time for Christmas.

I wish you an abundance of the simple pleasures that Christmas brings.

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