For the record: we live in a fairly nice, new-ish house in a fairly nice, new-ish neighborhood in our town. It's not anything fancy, but it's brick and four-bedroom, with a nice big backyard for the kids and dogs. People in our neighborhood generally keep their yards mowed, trash put away, and dogs on leashes. We have speed "humps", as the street signs designate them (that's a-whole-nother can of worms that I'll get to some other time) and a small park. It's not Mansion-Ville, but neither is it ghetto-ville. It's on the fairly nice, new-ish side of average.
When you're on your death bed looking back on your life, what will you remember most, the stuff you received as gifts, or the time you spent with the people you care about?
On Wednesday I posted 10 Lists of Holiday Gifts That Give Back. Although many of the ideas on the lists help people in need, or have a light impact on the planet, most of the ideas are objects to purchase. I want to share with you a story about a friend of mine's mom who for the last few years has only given gifts of time for birthdays and holidays.
According to the recent Chronicle of Philanthropy article, Americans Rate Charity Gifts a Priority This Holiday Season, a study conducted for World Vision by Harris Interactive found that 84% percent of people surveyed, "would prefer to receive a gift that would benefit someone else rather than a traditional present, such as clothing or electronics."
Restaurant.com's Feed it Forward campaign
is currently in progress-- anyone with an email address can give away
three $10 gift certificates a day until Dec. 25th. Why not spread the
holiday love, and give a nice meal to someone close to you?
My hand-me-down skinny space saving pre-lit Christmas tree
is up and decorated. The Princess' table top pre-lit tree is in her
room and decorated. The few Christmas decorations I own are scattered
around the living room and dining room. There are two stockings hung on
the stair rail instead of the usual three. This year's holiday card
will be sent via email to help make the season more "green" and to save
me some money (and because I have no idea how to not awkwardly send a
To get the most good out of your donations to non-profits, you need to know how much of your donation will go to the program you want to support vs. how much will go to overhead, such as administration and fund raising.
Check out Charity Navigator. This is a FREE website that has information about thousands of charities and can tell you how much each one spends on their programs vs. overhead.
You don't want to be paying someone's outrageous salary with money that you had intended to support a cause you believe in.
Long before Oprah's 'paying it forward' on one of her favorite things to do this holiday season, I've been incorporating the long time belief system that my parents instilled from an early age , simply that the simple act of "sowing seeds" in which we give to those less fortunate without expecting anything in retrun. We give, in essence to offer up hope, relief from worry/stress and just because it is the human and spiritual thing to do...
Creativity by Ananda Leeke
Excerpt from That Which Awakens Me (Winter 2009, iUniverse, Inc.)
My womb is pregnant with seeds of infinite possibilities planted by Spirit.Visions of color invite themselves into my dreams.My third eye captures the sights and scenes.Faster than the speed of light, new ideas express themselves in in the chambers of my mind.They keep coming. My brain is overwhelmed.My spirit invites an inhalation.My heart opens with an exhalation.It happens again, but much deeper.
Recently, PunditMom celebrated her 50th birthday by pledging to donate $1 to the Capital Area Food Bank for every comment left on her site that day. At the end of the day, she donated $110. I promised I'd be matching her gift and issuing my own challenge. So here's my challenge to you:
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