Holiday Giving Ideas and Prizes
I had another post planned for today, it included some lovely Doctor Who stuff, which I decided could wait. You would think this was a hard decision but it is not, because every year I try to let people know of some of the wonderful charities I’ve come across on the interwebs. Donations to charities make wonderful gifts, not only to the people themselves who maybe don’t have the funds to create their own holiday magic, but one of my all time favorite gifts was a donation made in my name to a anti-sex slavery organization (yes, I was even happier to get that then the Doctor Who/ Van Gogh mash-up necklace I wear nearly every day and the delicate TARDISes scarf I do wear every day- as all three gifts were by the same person and all three are my top three gifts I know she wont mind that I put the donation gift ahead of the others).
Don’t know what to get that hard to get a present for person? Want to spread around some holiday cheer? Here are some places to check out:
Geek for Tots is all about spreading the geek. For every donation of geekery this season (to a charitable organization) they will enter the donor into a pot to win a prize. All the donor has to do is post a picture on social media of them giving something geeky. Basically you can kill two birds with one stone, or actually three birds, no maybe four. For example, donate a geeky toy to your buildings holiday drive (just remember it has to be a charitable organization), snap a picture, post it and you’ve not only donated but entered to win some cool prizes. Or you could donate a geeky to to Toys for Tots, which in my building is the same drive. Plus we do holiday donations to a women’s shelter and now we have a toiletry drive. Which reminds me, I need to pick up things from CVS this weekend with my coupon for that. Or, if you need ideas for geeky gifts you can check out some of the Geeks for Tots sponsors, such as Luke’s Toy Store, which has some really cool miniatures (if you are really jonsing for something Doctor Who check this out), or Backstage Toy (check out their cool Dalek t-shirt), which has some cool plush toys to bring a smile to the geeky kid who probably is only getting tube socks for a present.
Heifer International is a really cool organization that donates livestock (cows, chickens, goats) and works with parents and grandparents around the world to become self-reliant, so they can give their children the opportunities they never had. The first time I heard about this organization was through my friend Sara who told me about Pat Rothfuss‘ WorldBuilders team. If you donate on his team you get entered to win some cool signed books from his author friends, and he has many cool friends like Erin Morgenstern (The Night Circus), or you could win other cool things. The WorldBuilder’s goal is 500K in donations and so far they have raised $118,105.22. A mere $20 donation gets a family a flock of chickens to raise, sell, harvest eggs, and eat.
By giving families a hand-up, not just a handout, we empower them to turn hunger and poverty into hope and prosperity, but our approach is more than that. By bringing communities together and linking them with markets in their area, we help bring sustainable agriculture and commerce to areas with a long history of poverty.
Quote from http://www.heifer.org/ourwork/mission
Project Night Night donates totebags with a teddy, a blanket, and a book to homeless children so they can sleep better. The Bloggess (this goes to a posting of the several charities she supports and how she worked a Holiday miracle one year) is a supporter of this organization and often when one of her excellent ideas has gone overboard and her readers have generously donated to one of her causes above and beyond what she needs, she gives the extra money to Project Night Night.
There are approximately 298,000 homeless families in the United States.* Currently, there are more homeless children in the U.S. than at any other time since the Great Depression. Nonetheless, family homelessness often goes unseen as most homeless families do not live on the street.** Instead, most homeless families are transient, living in shelters, in cars, in hotels in the city’s poorest neighborhoods, or staying with friends or family members.*** These environmental stresses negatively influence a child’s early experiences and often lead to an increase in mental health problems such as anxiety, depression, poor sleep habits, and behavioral issues.
To ease the anxiety associated with shelter living, Project Night Night distributes Night Night Packages to homeless children ages 0-10. Each Night Night Package includes an age-appropriate book, a baby blanket which can be cuddled, and a stuffed animal which can become a cherished friend. Finding comfort is vitally important for children in order to feel secure, loved, and valued – even in the midst of the upheaval and uncertainty attendant to homelessness.
I grew up super poor. There were several years where people from our church bought groceries for my family because my parents were struggling to afford nutritious meals for a growing family of five kids. In fact, one Christmas our only presents were bags of groceries under the tree. I think every parent or guardian wants to give the children in their lives something special around the holidays and many of them are not able to, these organizations help children in small and grand ways. Personally, I wish I had more to give this year, however, I do have this blog and the ability to tell people about some wonderful ways to give this season. I may have forgone the awkward gifts this year because of financial reasons, but maybe some of my readers still need a thoughtful gift to give to great aunt Agnes who has everything she wants, including several stuff cats, and empty bird cage, and sits in her overheated apartment knitting animal clothes.
P.S. I spent much time trying to get this to format properly to no avail. WordPress is driving me just a tad nuts right now, and so I’m walking away.