Do you ever see a film or a commercial that just strikes you somewhere deep, and you never forget it?
That’s what happened to me when I first saw “The Christmas Conspiracy” video a few years back when our friend Denice P. posted it on her Facebook wall.
If you have two-and-a-half minutes to spare, here it is:
It’s a simple concept, but one that I think we all need to be reminded of. I know I do. It’s easy to get sucked into the hustle and bustle of the holidays, and the pressure to go “bigger and better” with gifts year after year.
However, some of the best Christmas gifts I have received (and given) were made by hand. Starting when I was in college, my family and I all drew names from a hat. That name became the one person to whom you gave a gift, and as a rule, you couldn’t spend more than a few dollars on your gift. So, instead, we ended up creating things for each other – – theatrical presentations, memory books, special “dates” together. The year I took my Dad in to N.Y.C. to visit The Museum of Television and Radio (now named The Paley Center for Media) remains one of our most treasured times together.
So, if you’re interested in cutting back on how much you spend on gifts this Christmas in order to spend more time together and give some of that money away, here are some other organizations in addition to The Water Project that my husband and I have supported. They all do incredible work for children and families in need across the globe, and I’ll add that they’re organizations of integrity that put their money right where the need is greatest. Their high scores on Charity Navigator are a testament to that.
- Compassion International – With a donation of $38/month, you can sponsor a child through Compassion International. This helps cover school fees, tutoring, and supplementary food if needed. The best part is that you can communicate with your sponsored child through letters and photos. Mark and I currently sponsor a little boy named Marcos from the Dominican Republic. He recently sent us a letter that included a sketch of his hand and foot. You can bet we sent him back our own hand sketches!
- World Vision – You can also support a child through World Vision. Or if you’re looking for a one-time gift, they have an online catalog with over 100 meaningful gifts. For example, with a donation of $100, you can give a goat and two chickens to help provide a hungry family with milk, cheese, and eggs. For $85, you can give a young Cambodian girl a bicycle to help transport her safely and speedily to school.
- International Justice Mission – I.J.M. is a human rights organization that brings rescue to victims of slavery, sexual exploitation and other forms of violent oppression. They have a team of lawyers, investigators, and social workers that collaborate with local and state authorities to provide support to victims and convict perpetrators. While exploring their website, I discovered that they have their own version of the above video above that you can watch here.
Giving gifts to each other is a wonderful part of Christmas. But I know I appreciate the reminder that “each other” can include people I have never met before in a country I have never visited before. Our world is wide.
So, there’s some food for thought as we venture forward in this season of Advent. What noteworthy causes do you believe in or support? I’d love to hear about them.