My family does Christmas and birthdays a bit different than the average family.
This year for my oldest son's third birthday, he asked that, in lieu of presents, people donate money to Pennies for Peace and raised $150 to help Dr. Greg with educating children in Pakistan. On his second birthday he donated to Eleveate, which helps educate girls in Senegal.
For Christmas this year, I asked that my present be a donation to Heifer International which gives chickens, bees, goats, rabbits, and of course cows to people in third world countries to help them start feeding their own families and give them a way to make money with their animals. It's a wonderful project that I feel very strongly about.
I've found lately that with two kids, I'm having to get rid of some of my "stuff" just because of the clutter. The other reason is that, believing very strongly in my new church, I'm really trying to focus on simplicity in all aspects of my life. There is nothing that I need in order to survive right now.
I have rediscovered the wonder of libraries, as well as Paperback Swap. I made all the ornaments (peace cranes) for our Christmas tree so we've gone very simply in that direction, as well. It just makes everything to...well, simple. And, if not stress-free, at least less stress.
I love it. And, I'm helping people at the same time. Sure, it's a guilty pleasure. It makes me feel good to help other people, but I think that's ok.
I mean, without donations, I wouldn't have gotten three classroom sets of books from Donors Choose, and for that I am very grateful.
Even the stars are getting into it. Ed Norton created Crowd Rise which raises my respect for him so much. I love their tagline, too. "If you don't give, no one will like you." Hahahaha :)
So I urge you this year to think about giving back. Think about other people in this world who are not as blessed as we are here in America, and even the ones in America who are not as blessed as those of us who can spend snow days writing blogs and surfing the internet.
Think about others.
Peace and warm holiday wishes.