‘Tis the season of extremes. We’re inundated with the message that we should show those close to us just how much we care by giving gifts. It’s the wishlist time of year. Gift giving is a wonderful thing and for many people it’s an effective form of communicating gratitude, affection and humour. This often leads to extreme shopping. It’s also the time of year when we’re reminded of the needs of others. Charities and NGOs the world over ramp up their efforts to remind those who have about those who have not. This leads to extreme charity. This year we can try to strike a healthy balance between these extremes.
This video was produced by The Advent Conspiracy and we like their message: make Christmas an investment in lasting things: family, community, the well-being of others. If you are looking for another well project, The Life Campaign’s “Just Add Water” initiative has built wells worldwide and you can donate to them online or by phone.
There are some great organizations doing some interesting things around the holiday time and year round. We encourage you to be involved both locally and internationally. It’s a brief list, but here are some avenues to explore as we try to balance extreme gift-giving with extreme charity:
- Kiva is a micro-loan organization that helps entrepreneurs in developing nations around the world. They take your contribution and pool it with other contributions to provide the micro-loan so that even a small donation can go a long way. Micro-loans are repaid and so you can either get your money back or put it towards another loan.
- Vancouver’s Green Angel project has great ideas for reducing waste this holiday season. Even if you don’t live in Metro Vancouver, there are some good ideas for gifts, cooking and decorating. We enjoy how they promote giving experiences as gifts and using household items in creative ways (such as using the comics section of the newspaper as wrapping paper).
- The A21 Campaign helps to combat human trafficking and provides support to survivors. You can mail a Christmas Card or send an e-card to a survivor of human trafficking to communicate the beauty of the season in a time when the world may seem ugly to them.
- If you’re searching for a local Canadian charity or a Canadian based charity, Canada Helps is a great resource. They offer a unique gift card (Charity Gift Cards) where you buy the gift card and then give it to someone who uses the gift card to support a charity of their choosing through the Canada Helps website. It’s a great way to give to charity and involve someone else in the giving process.
There are so many ways to demonstrate love for others, for God and for the planet each and every day. We can make this Christmas an extreme demonstration of that love. Loving in extreme ways: it’s seasonally appropriate.