When I first came up with my list of Christmas posts (back in October), I specifically had Samaritan's Purse in mind when I chose "Non-Traditional Gifts" as one of the categories. Apparently a lot of people (bloggers and others that I know in real life) have been feeling the same pull to give something that helps others rather than the traditional "I got you something that will eventually end up in your next yard sale" type gift. I have read blog post after blog post after blog post about thinking outside the box when it comes to spending money on Christmas gifts. In fact, just this past Sunday, our youth pastor shared his desire to be given a goat for Christmas instead of one more thing to clutter up his home.
Here's what I see: despite the fact that shops opened earlier than ever this year on Thanksgiving, people everywhere are tiring of the commercialism that has not only taken over Christmas, but is working it's way into Thanksgiving as well. There is a movement to clean out and simplify - I've even felt a pull that direction this year - and with people watching their pennies more than ever, they want their money to go towards something meaningful instead of another mug or tacky Christmas tie. With that idea in mind, here are a few of my favorite non-traditional gift resources that can help change lives, not just right now, but for eternity...
Samaritan's Purse is one of my favorite organizations (and not just because of the family ties to it). They mobilize quickly when disaster strikes and they serve people in the name of Jesus. You already know my life-long love of their Operation Christmas Child Shoebox program, but did you know that they were some of the first response teams to places like Haiti, Indonesia, Japan, and New Orleans? Did you know that they continue to provide shelters, medical care, and food to people long after other organizations have pulled out? Did you know that you can give as little as $5.00 and you can provide milk for a child? And on the gift-giving side of things, did you know that you can have cards shipped to your recipients that say "In your Honor" or "In Memory Of" - what a delightful way to let them know that you're thinking about them and that someone else who really needed help, received it in their honor and in the name of Jesus! What are you waiting for? Go check them out and start giving!
You've probably heard about Compassion International. There are a lot of bloggers out there who are pushing child sponsorship and are talking about their recent trips with Compassion. But did you also know that Compassion has a gift catalog? That means that if you aren't yet ready to sponsor a child, but you still want to help, there is a way. You can give chickens ($16) to the animal lovers in your life, garden seeds ($10) to those avid gardeners on your list, or get God's Word ($5) out to people for the price of a Venti Peppermint Mocha at Starbucks. If you want to go in as a family, you could even help give moms the opportunity to start their own business and support their family for as little as $100. Just think of the possibilities!
Since it's founding in 1950, World Vision has been focused on providing physical aid for the poor and needy around the globe and reflecting the love of Christ through their actions. Like Samaritan's Purse and Compassion, World Vision has a great Christmas catalog that is full of ideas, starting for as little as $10. Having spent several years overseas, I can tell you from first hand experience how important things like mosquito nets ($18), orphan care ($25), and clean water ($25) can be - life saving in many cases! There are so many things that we take for granted on a daily basis (like shelter and clothing), so before you (and I!) slap down $35 for another sweater, perhaps we should think about all the people around the world who could be helped, here and now as well as for eternity, with that same $35. It's something to consider, eh?
And with that, I end my eight weeks of Christmas fun. I hope you have enjoyed it - thanks to all who have shared links and left comments! It's always such a delight and a thrill to hear from you or to see that you think it's helpful enough to share with others.
I hope that above all, you take a break from the hustle and bustle of Christmas to reflect on the fact that God sent His only Son to become human, to experience the trials and hardships and pain that we go through, and to ultimately be flogged and hung on a cross to die for the sins of the world. It's almost more than I can wrap my mind around.
But here's the even better news: He didn't stay in the grave! Jesus arose and He is waiting with open arms to accept all who will believe in Him and the Free Gift of Salvation that He offers. If you haven't accepted Jesus Christ as your Savior yet, my prayer is that you would find Him and His Gift this Christmas. I'm always here if you want to talk (my email contact is HERE) - it would be my honor to share the Greatest Gift of all, with you.
Merry Christmas to all!
Great gift ideas! Thanks so much for stopping by and for your kind comment. The giant paper clips were actually part of a blog giveaway I won from Gina at COTTAG3 (formerly 3Ring Cottage). They travelled with three cream bottles all the way from Texas to me here in Ontario, Canada. I love them and get so many great comments on them. Merry Christmas!ReplyDelete