I’m not sure when World Vision (US link) started producing a Christmas Gift Catalogue (US link) or how we got onto their mailing list but I do know that I think that it is a fabulous idea. The arrival of the catalogue is reminder that the season of giving is upon us and reminds that we should be thinking of giving to others more than what we want others to give to us. I admire the way that they have developed their giving program to make it easily understood by children. What kid doesn’t want to give – or receive – a rooster and two hens or a piglet? It’s easy to explain that some families need help to get the food that they need and that, by giving these animals, we are helping them to take care of themselves.
Reid and I were at a craft show today and bought a few trinkets to represent the animals that we are donating. The purchases had a number of benefits:
* The artisans received money for their work;
* Reid and I had a conversation about giving to others; and
* The people who receive these small tokens might think of World Vision when they next need a present.
Making a donation to World Vision (Canadian link) is simple. The catalogue comes in the mail and it, of course, has a form that you can fill in or you can call 1-866-595-5550. And then there is a well-designed Web site from which one can select a gift based on cost, theme (agriculture, health care, etc.) and those that multiply. The checkout process is simple and you have a number of choices for notifying the gift recipient. If you’re ordering early, you could have a printed card sent. If you’re not so prompt, you can print your own card insert or send an e-card.
* Send out a group email to members of your extended family who normally exchange gifts.
* When someone asks you what you want for a special holiday gift, ask for something from the World Vision gift catalogue.
* When you give an alternative gift, consider including something personal and meaningful to the recipient.
* Consider buying a small fair-trade item like handcrafted jewellery or organic coffee to go along with your alternative gift choice.
We have used World Vision for gifts for other occasions as well. Reid’s daycare teachers were delighted when we donated to educate a girl in China as a thank you when Reid entered a new class. A teacher might also appreciate a backpack with school supplies for a needy child in Canada more than an apple-themed gift at end of the school year, as well as at Christmas.
This topic is a popular one at this time of year. You can read more at Babylune , where people are writing about their favourite charity, and the League of Maternal Justice, where people have been invited to write about how to involve kids in their charitable acts.